In January, the National Park Service (NPS) released an updated draft of its wilderness management policies which cover a wide range of topics including provisions specific to climbing fixed anchors. Iconic climbing areas in the U.S. including Yosemite, Zion, Black Canyon, and Rocky Mountain National Parks will be governed by this new policy. See the draft policy set forth in Section 7.2 of Directors Order 41 (DO #41)
While DO #41 isnt perfect, the approach is generally one that climbers, conservation organizations, and federal land managers have agreed upon for more than a decade. The Access Fund believes that climbers should support NPS management guidance that focuses on solutions, ends bolting controversies, and improves the management of NPS wilderness. However, climbers should advocate for several clarifications and improvements to DO #41.
Most importantly, we believe individual parks are best suited to determine whether prior authorization is to be required for new fixed anchor placements, and we oppose a de facto
ban on new fixed anchors pending completion of individual climbing management plans. While there are many in the climbing community who would prefer that the NPS simply allow climbers to self-regulate, this isnt a viable policy for the NPS to adopt system-wide. Without some standard guidance, more regulation (including outright bans) are a real possibility. We encourage you to learn more about the history and background
of this issue.
The Access Fund has worked with our partners at the American Alpine Club, American Mountain Guides Association, and the outdoor industry to outline a position statement and recommended improvements
to this new policy. We have also reviewed the results of over 1000 completed surveys
from the climbing community and have incorporated many of these points into our position statement. Thanks to all of you who took the time to complete the survey!
Please take a few minutes and write the National Park Service with your own thoughts and recommended improvements to the policy by March 10. You may find these bullet points
helpful when drafting your own comments. TAKE ACTION NOW!