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Devils Tower Voluntary Ban


Mark Pilate · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 10

Hey Buck, curious.  Did you wear crossed arrows, rifles, or other?   As two ex-military, F-150 drivin, anti-religious, Minnesotans, we usually tend to agree on things it seemed, but on this thread I guess we are polar opposites.  

When was in the army, I took the time to peel back the layers of different cultures...get to know them and see what made them tick.  Try to really understand our differences and seek to win them over......
Before I killed them.   I was both Intell and Infantry.

But I observe the voluntary ban if nothing else for the memory of one of the truest American badasses.  Crazy Horse.  
 

grog m · · Saltlakecity · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 70
Andy Novak wrote:

Uhhh, WTF are you talking about? You remind me of John Goodman's character in The Big Lebowski.  "I didn't watch my buddies die face down in the muck so some injunes can tell me when I can and can't do my climbin!!!!" 


Oh and Grog, didn't you used to use your real name?  And actually contribute? Now it seems you just chime in to be a dick. Whats up with that?

Classic. I laid out some valid points in my first post that no one can answer and the response from ban advocates is “dick”, “prick”, or “douche”. That’s not a constructive argument but fortunately it’s all that the sheeple have.

I had some guy on Facebook threatening to slash my tires and “fuck me up” because I don’t agree with this ban. I have done more than average amount of research into this issue, and I have never seen compelling enough arguments or data to support that a ban is appropriate. 
In the end I recommend everyone look into the arguments, stakeholders, and facts and make a decisions. Don’t rely on an uninformed access fund Facebook post to make a decision for you. 

EDIT because I reached my post limit. The following is in response to Steve Tarnowski's link that was actually a good resource for information:

Good article. Just read the whole thing and still didn't get an answer to my questions.
1. What is the significance of June? (I have heard the response 'it aligns with the summer solstice'...okay that doesn't explain why there should be a ban from June 1-June 30).
2. Why are climbers being singled out? I read your article and one of the responses was; A) "climbers frequently have to yell commands". That is true. But how about the hordes of motorcyles that buzz by the tower all the time? The noise impact of that is far greater than climbers yelling 'off-belay' to one another. B) climbers have installed up to 600 bolts on the monument. Ever tried to count bolts on a route? They can be hard to see. Maybe if the sun was glinting off of one...but the real end to this argument is the trash (prayer bundles) that Native Americans leave around the monument every June. You can't say that bolts are a nuisance then tie a trash bundle to a tree.
3. I pay a lot in taxes. I have every right to share National Parks and Monuments with others at any time. Why should I be excluded from using this resource?
4. Which tribes specifically have been quoted saying 'we don't like this?'. Because your article is a mediocre history lesson name-dropping some tribes but doesn't have any cited evidence.

At the end of the day its an unconstitutional ban. And the primary point that I use to justify this argument is; the purpose of the constitution is to protect the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In no way does my climbing prevent others from enjoying the monument. But stating that another person's religion prevents me from climbing is preventing my right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Ask yourself this; if you came to Utah where the LDS religion is the majority, and the LDS people said that "we don't believe in work of any kind on Sunday, so you are not allowed to work, buy things, or recreate on Sundays because its against MY religion", would you agree? Of course not. 

Finally, the pattern for those supporting the ban is always the same; their arguments consist of name calling and irrational threats, but rarely any arguments, data, or evidence. Please don't let your emotions get the best of you.
TLyons · · New York · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 110

Just tell people that there is a bird up in the tower.
People respect animals much more than other human beings. 

Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 185

“I don’t want to start an argument but here is the same question that has started 400 argument threads in the past”

Dave Meyer · · Ventura · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 55
TLyons wrote: Just tell people that there is a bird up in the tower.
People respect animals much more than other human beings. 

Birds exist. 100ft. tall bears that scratched the cracks into Devil's Tower probably don't. 

Mark Pilate · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 10

Grog - I’d like to take the time to peel back the layers of our different values...get to know you and see what makes you tick.  Try to really understand our differences and seek to win you over......

;)

Cron · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 55

I have so say that after reading this thread and the previous one linked that I can see reasonable and justifiable sides of each argument. Grog, the 4 points you outline are important to address - I’m not sure why you’re getting so much flack, perhaps the tone is setting folks off.

Your 2nd point is especially interesting to me - why climbers? If any one here as ever been to DT you know that climbers represent <1% of the visitors, and yes many of them ride loud motorcycles in June. The only thing I can think of is that your average tourist never leaves the sidewalk. Some may scramble to the base up the talus. So climbers are the only ones typically in physical contact with the tower, that may or may not be significant for those who find it “sacred”?

I really like this debate and think folks on both sides should be more open minded. Insults get us nowhere.

Jaren Watson · · Idaho · Joined May 2010 · Points: 2,506
grog m wrote:

Classic. I laid out some valid points in my first post that no one can answer and the response from ban advocates is “dick”, “prick”, or “douche”. That’s not a constructive argument but fortunately it’s all that the sheeple have.

Speaking of monuments, Greg, you should note that the difference between “can answer” and “want to be bothered to explain freshman-level reasoning errors to an ideologue” is monumental.

Walk over to your local sandbox and root around until you find a cat turd. Claim it as your own and dare people to wrestle you for it. You’re apt to find a lackluster response.

That’s roughly the scenario here.
lucander · · Stone Ridge, NY · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 258

Oh liberals. Until republicans get their act together for the first time since Ike, I’m stuck with you.

Mark Pilate · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 10

I agree with Jaren.  Yet I also agree with Cron.  So I’ll address the issues with Grog et al from the pro ban perspective.  

First, it’s a voluntary ban.  So the constitution has absolutely nothing to do with it ..,But just FYI, the constitution also doesn’t guarantee a right to climb (as Jefferson was only a boulderer and used the Gill rating system)

 I think one thing that sets off people like me is that if you wanna climb, just STFU and climb.  Nobody’s stopping you.  Is it guilt that makes you throw up all these “arguments” and thirst for “data”? But I’ll explain further

1.  June.  Why June?   Why the fuck not? You’d ask the same question no matter when it was. Does it really matter. Really?   But you already know the answer.  Cuz that’s the closest alignment with the majority of historical ceremonies.  Why December for Christmas?   What’s so special about December?  It’s a Red herring question.

2. Why climbers.  Sure it could be fat guys on loud motorcycles as well, but climbers are the only user group ON the tower and perhaps as a general community, more likely to cooperate and truly comprehend the magic of the place.  If you’ve been there, you know.  Maybe they learned the hard way that ya gotta pick your battles.  Take it as an honor, not a slight.

3.  Taxes. Seriously?   Then climb it.  I refuse to discuss taxes in relation to anything. 

4.  Which Tribes?  Oh shit.  You tripped me up. Actually no Native Americans care about the tower.  It’s just a ruse.  The Clinton Foundation actually just buses in SJWs from local colleges to dress up and tie shit to trees to keep you off Soler.

So bottom line is this, - and why I personally get peeved...Nobody is really arguing against any of your points.  There is simply a compromise request to honor the historic spiritual beliefs of a group that got the frickin shaft big time in this country.  Choose to honor it or not.  I simply don’t see what the problem is from your point of view?

Steve Tarnowski · · Aztec, NM · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 15

Hey Grog,
Glad I could contribute something to the thread. I had a little more time this evening to sit down and give a longer reply.

Another thing you would probably find interesting is the 1995 Final Climbing Management Plan. Notably, this document lists the other alternatives considered along with the voluntary June closure. Honestly I should have linked this the first time but I couldn't find it right away.

I'll follow up on your questions for others reading the thread - you may not find the answers entirely satisfactory, but here is how I understand them.

1. What is the significance of June?
The June closure is a compromise made by the NPS in the Climbing Management Plan to accommodate competing uses by different user groups. The various tribes in the area who find Devils Tower to have spiritual significance have ceremonies throughout the year. Often there is a reluctance to details of ceremonial practices with outsiders. This may well include the dates of certain ceremonies which can make it difficult to plan exactly around. However, the various tribes have shared with the federal government that there is a concentration of ceremonies in June, especially around the summer solstice. The federal government considers June "culturally significant." I agree that the June closure is not the most narrowly tailored outcome possible, but it is what the CMP arrived at to accommodate different user groups. The other alternatives considered are listed in the link above.

2. Why are climbers being singled out?

In the 1995 Climbing Management Plan, it is noted that "some American Indians perceive climbing on the tower ... as a desecration to their sacred site. It appears to many American Indians that climbers do not respect their culture by the very act of climbing on the tower. Climbing during traditional ceremonies and prayers is a sensitive issue as well."

Fixed anchors are listed as an issue too. And this is a spiritual thing - there's no debating the merits of whether fixed anchors are a desecration to the tower. Apparently the Dakota, Lakota and Natoka feel it is - see page 9 of the Climbing Management Plan where those tribes had a summit and those were among the findings they produced.

For what it's worth, climbers aren't the only user group with restrictions - hikers are asked to stay on trail (not the same as not climbing, I know - but it's not just a vendetta against climbing). Another consideration is that this is a Climbing Management Plan we're talking about, which will necessarily be focussed on climbing.

3. I pay taxes, why can't I use public lands?

Some uses necessarily exclude other uses, and the federal government has different goals in how it manages public lands. It seems most climbers find ATVers and motorized offroad transport loathsome and disruptive to the values wrapped up in climbing. The noise, smell and damage to the landscape is characterized as a blight and can ruin the experience. I imagine the tribal members who find climbing objectionable have similar complaints.

4. Which tribes are on the record as being opposed to this?

In addition to the tribes referenced in the CMP I mentioned above, there is also testimony in the case from the Cheyenne River Sioux.

The Bear Lodge v Babbitt case was the result of the climbers (Bear Lodge Multiple Use Association) suing the federal government (Babbitt being the Secretary of the Interior at the time) about the voluntary closure. However, the Cheyenne River Sioux joined the case as Intervenors. This is a pretty clear indication that the Cheyenne River Sioux have an interest in the voluntary closure. There is testimony from Romanus Bear Stops about the importance of the tower in their tribal history. Therefore I think you can safely infer the Cheyenne River Sioux also feel that climbing is disruptive to these values and ceremonies. And as someone who does not hold those spiritual beliefs, I think you just have to take them at their word that climbing negatively impacts their spiritual experience.
 
Personally I think the June voluntary closure is a reasonable compromise - it doesn't cost me much to not climb at Devil's Tower in June, and doing so would apparently be greatly offensive to those for whom it holds spiritual significance that climbing would disrupt.

Cheers,

Steve

Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 877

Year after year, the same post.  

grog m wrote: 

In short - it is not constitutional to enforce a ban. Hence the 'voluntary ban'. 
Correct
Supporters of the ban can't answer a lot of critical questions:
End of correct.


1. The significance of the month of June (a Roman month).
This is not related to any roman calendar.  This has nothin to do with June.  Have you heard of a solstice?  It has nothing to do with the name June.

2. Why climbers are the only user group called out when climbers may be the least impactful group. 
Your opinion.  But, no other user group goes beyond the sidewalk or lower boulders.  Christians might have no problems with lots of people peacefully wandering around a Christmas Tree.  But, hundreds of people yelling ON BELAY, OFF BELAY climbing it might be offensive.  
Furthermore, the very Native American lore of the tower involves Native Americans climbing the tower...
Do you even know the lore?  Depends on the tribe.   But, I would love to hear your take.

3. Tax dollars pay for the park for everyone to use. It is not possible to ban people from paying to share this resource.
People from anywhere in the world, citizens, non citizens, tax payers, non tax payers, etc, can use the park.  Next.

4. Which Native American tribes and/or individuals specfically are against climbers? 
You should ask the tribes yourself.  I have.  The answer does vary.  I'll give you that.
Because only SJW's from Boulder speak out against climbing there.
I'm not from Boulder and far from SJW.  But, I have met with some of the leaders in the area.  Oh, wait.  I think you called bs last year on this.  Wrong again.  
 The statement about the Lakota people above is false. There are 7 tribes that have historically visited the tower. 
Wait.  So there are not just 1 tribe, but 7 that find this place to be sacred.  Who's team are you on?


I wouldn't be surprised if SJW's from boulder virtue signaled enough to get mandatory ban set up in the next 5 years.

Do you read your own writing?  See your first sentence.  A mandatory ban is unconstitutional.  


We are organizing a trip to Southern Utah desert sandstone during the Roman month of October to climb the fuck out of cracks, slab, face, off widths and all kinds of crazy shit... immediately after heavy rain, stupid rain, fucking monsoon rain.  We looked into it.  There is no constitutional ban, no law, no religion, no nothing that prohibits it.  Fuck what's important to you, your people, your beliefs.  We might even use tape gloves.
Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 877
Ben Pellerin wrote:
  •  No one cares about your military service that was your choice.

Please don't disrespect our military.  They volunteer to risk their life and limb and make tremendous sacrifices to keep your ass safe.
Buck Rio · · MN · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 1
Mark Pilate wrote: Hey Buck, curious.  Did you wear crossed arrows, rifles, or other?   As two ex-military, F-150 drivin, anti-religious, Minnesotans, we usually tend to agree on things it seemed, but on this thread I guess we are polar opposites.  

When was in the army, I took the time to peel back the layers of different cultures...get to know them and see what made them tick.  Try to really understand our differences and seek to win them over......
Before I killed them.   I was both Intell and Infantry.

But I observe the voluntary ban if nothing else for the memory of one of the truest American badasses.  Crazy Horse.  
 

De oppresso liber, which means "to free the oppressed", which is the exact opposite of what the SF group I was with in the 80's was doing in Central America...in hindsight, it was more like we were the bad guys. Keeping the status quo for the American fruit companies so they could make money, covering for the drug runners that were paying for the Contra's etc. None of it seemed to make life better for the indigenous. 

The poverty in most of the places I went was so grinding, there wasn't any kind of culture to observe, just the struggle to get enough to eat.

As far as the tower goes, the important dates for the tribes are the summer solstice in June, which isn't until the end of the month. If you are so inclined, don't climb then.

I think my view is that if Catholics wanted to ban climbing on Mount Holy Cross in Colorado because of the religious significance of a cross, everybody on here would be singing a different song, you know, because their hypocrites.
Buck Rio · · MN · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 1
Matthew Tangeman wrote:

It's also not just about you, it reflects back on the climbing community as a whole. Given the growing community and at times tenuous access situations across the country, it's probably in everyone's favor to show a little understanding. If you don't care about that, then so be it.

I DON'T CLIMB ON THE TOWER IN JUNE. 

But I do not like the fact that one user group can dictate the use of public land based on religion.

Does that clear it up for all of you non-readers out there. Jeez.
Buck Rio · · MN · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 1
Ben Pellerin wrote:
  • Internet tough guy! No one cares about your military service that was your choice. I'd tell you what I really think but it would violate rule #1. 

Ben, I'm pretty tough in real life too   

Justin B · · Wheat Ridge, CO · Joined Aug 2018 · Points: 10

If you really want it closed just say there's a bird building a nest on it, we eat that s*#% up in CO lol

Buck Rio · · MN · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 1
Justin B wrote: If you really want it closed just say there's a bird building a nest on it, we eat that s*#% up in in CO lol

Actually, the first pitch of Bon Homme has pigeons nesting in the back of the wide crack as of 5/27.

Garth Wadsworth · · Rapid City · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0
Buck Rio wrote:

Ben, I'm pretty tough in real life too   

I'm sure you could hire a guide to drag your ass up a 5.8 on the tower

Buck Rio · · MN · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 1
Garth Wadsworth wrote:

I'm sure you could hire a guide to drag your ass up a 5.8 on the tower

Are you volunteering?

Sylvan Rocks is a godsend to older people that still want to climb but don't have a partner. 

But I also climbed many of them when I was younger.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Wyoming, Montana, Dakotas
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