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Wilderness & Fixed Anchors---An new important development.
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May 15, 2013
Hi All:

There is a new directive from the (edit: Park Service--thx. Eric) forest service about fixed anchors in Wilderness. It is important.

Here is the ACCESS FUND'S link. When you get to the actual document please look at section 7.2 starting on page 15:

For example, it seems to me, this language may become important:

The establishment of bolt-intensive face climbs is considered incompatible with wilderness
preservation and management due to the concentration of human activity which they support,
and the types and levels of impacts associated with such routes. Climbing management
strategies will address ways to control, and in some cases reduce, the number of fixed anchors to
protect the park's wilderness resources or to preserve the "untran1meled," "undeveloped," and
"outstanding opportunities for solitude" qualities of the park's wilderness character.
Fixed anchors or fixed equipment should be rare in wilderness. Authorization will be required
for the placement of new fixed anchors or fixed equipment. Authorization may be required for
the replacement or removal of existing fixed anchors or fixed equipment. The authorization
process to be followed will be established at the park level and will be based on a consideration
of resource issues (including the wilderness resource) and recreation opportunities.
Scott M. McNamara
From Tucson, Arizona
Joined Aug 15, 2006
35 points
May 15, 2013
Scott, thanks for posting this. A couple things: 1) This is a National Park Service (not USDA Forest Service) Director's order, and 2) this is basically the same document as the proposed Director's Order from a couple years ago (I think 2011). I interpret this as a way for the NPS to assert it's philosophy on Wilderness climbing without actually imposing mandatory permitting, or other regulations, on park units. They hand the responsibility of management action to park units with climbing resources (Yosemite, JT, etc..).

Many believe that the BLM and FS will follow suit, but this document does not seem to carry much weight on the ground (yet) and has no impact on FS and BLM land. Remember, there has always been a NPS mandate to draft a Wilderness Climbing Plan for all NPS units with significant rock climbing resources in designated Wilderness (many Park units have been blowing this off for years - perhaps waiting for a Director's Order to help them design a philosophical platform). It does however reassert that climbing in a low impact style is an appropriate use of Wilderness. How could it not be - David Brower (contributor to the Wilderness Act) and John Muir were badass climbers as well as forefathers of Wilderness.

In the end, kudos to the NPS for supporting Wilderness climbing, but the agency, once again (and perhaps to the benefit of climbing advocates), pushes the responsibility of the meat and potatoes work down the line.
From Tucson, Arizona
Joined May 21, 2004
385 points
May 16, 2013
Thanks for your time and info dudes. Robbie Mackley
From Tucson, AZ
Joined May 6, 2010
0 points

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