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Jefferson County Open Space Climbing Guidelines - Final Review
Submitted By: John McNamee on Feb 28, 2006

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Since July 2005, Jefferson County Open Space has convened a Climbing Task Force to develop a Climbing Management Guide for Jefferson County Open Space lands. The Climbing Task Force included representatives from Jefferson County Open Space staff, the Access Fund, American Mountain Guides Association, The American Alpine Club, Colorado Division of Wildlife, and Colorado Mountain Club.

The resulting document was created to recognize rock climbing as a valid recreational use of Open Space lands and to provide guidelines for climbing management on all existing and future Jefferson County Open Space lands. From the guidelines and management actions set forth, site-specific climbing management plans will be created as a component of individual Park Management Plans within the Jefferson County Open Space system.

Send Comments concerning this final draft to trock@jeffco.us Comments will be accepted through Monday, May 1, 2006. Written comments should be addressed to Climbing Guidelines, c/o Jefferson County Open Space, 700 Jefferson County Parkway, Suite 100, Golden, CO 80401.

Climbing Guidelines

Comments on Jefferson County Open Space Climbing Guidelines - Final Review Add Comment
By Brian Milhaupt
From: Golden, CO
Mar 1, 2006
The management plan has a continuation of the closure to the Ralston Buttes. Does anyone know what the species is they are trying to protect?
By Buff Johnson
Mar 1, 2006
Mainly the Black Bear habitat - the CDOW has this area as the #1 in this district for warranting protection of this species habitat. The flora concern is also great (as described by Natural Heritage Global Ranking); but the bear habitat is what I recall as CDOW's main concern.

So this area was closed to all public use after Jeffco's review of both flora & fauna concerns, not just targeting a closure to only climbing use. I believe they intend to install limited access for public viewing of this area in the future, but that's about it.
By Tzilla Rapdrilla
Mar 1, 2006
Jeffco has a long history of obfuscating the real reasons for their actions regarding closures and restrictions. In the case of Ralston Buttes, they bought the land for a Peregrine Falcon site at the request of their friends from Colorado State, who as I recall don't pay taxes in Jefferson County. Of course the Peregrine was de-listed and never established there. They still like to use it for their private biology park though. The idea that this is somehow prime Black Bear habitat flies in the face of common sense as in 7 years of living right next to the rock I have only seen 2 bears. Their biological arguments don't even meet the level of bad science. Also, some close friends of the County Commissioners live close by too and I'm sure don't like climber scum around.

I think it's good to comment on the Jeffco guidelines, just don't expect too much as they don't tend to act on any inputs that conflict with what their plans.
By Buff Johnson
Mar 1, 2006
I guess you all are more than welcome to comment about this specific park (White Ranch - Ralston Buttes) and the issues you see as the reason for a preservational closure (I personally believe a conservational as opposed to a preservational approach to land use & mgt is best - but feel free to misinterpret that I believe otherwise). All indications are that this area will remain closed to all public use - not just climbers, but everyone, until they install a viewing area for the habitat, but the buttes will still be closed after this time.

Blaming Jeffco OS for the research done by the CDOW regarding their findings on Black Bear habitat is a bit of a stretch. The CDOW has indicated this area is very specific in the needs of the Black Bear and indicated there is a species population in this immediate area. If you have research indicating otherwise, why wasn't it brought forth when Jeffco effected the closure some time ago? Tod had broadcasted this closure to just about everyone within earshot. If there were incorrect research findings, then, certainly these findings should be brought to light.

Please don't misunderstand such in the respect of effort that I have for those that work with climbing activism, who do a great deal of work for climbers, into taking the Guidelines as support of a closure. From what we understand from the CDOW, there was a viable basis for a threatened habitat to effect an environmental closure; although Jeffco could have handled this better from the outset.

But, irregardless of any comment you all pass along now, the buttes will remain closed. It will be a shame if only this issue (Ralston Buttes Closure) will be commented on and not the fact that a good number of us will be helping build a better climbing program including access & trail development for the other park areas so that climbing can continue on some of the greatest rock lines that are considered N American classics.