Fire Spending Impacts Outdoor Recreation
Climbing Management Initiatives Delayed
US Forest Service (USFS) funding for many programs vital to Americans' enjoyment of our National Forests is about to disappear as the agency redirects money earmarked for those programs to fight fires. Climbing access is routinely affected across the West because the USFS is forced to divert dollars normally used for recreation management to address forest fire emergencies. In late August the Chief of the USFS Abigail Kimbell announced that the agency has depleted its $1.18 billion fire suppression budget for fiscal year 2008 and has initiated a recall of $400 million from agency programs throughout the nation. The result is that many projects benefiting outdoor recreationists will be put on hold until the end of the fiscal year (October) or until 2009.
Chief Kimbell stated, Firefighting activity and costs have risen steadily and drastically over the past several years due to the increased need and costs of protecting homes built near natural areas, drought, and climate change. The agency's fire fighting budget is based on a ten-year rolling average of past fire-fighting costs, which regularly fails to meet the demands of a rapidly changing environment. Read the message from the USFS Chief here: www.fs.fed.us/news/2008/releases/08/fire-impacts.pdf
This $400 million recall will be felt directly by the millions of people that treasure America's national forests as places to climb, hike, bike, paddle, ski, and snowshoe. Collaborative efforts to protect the environment and encourage public enjoyment will be hampered by agency staff's inability to travel to meetings. Recently a formal mediation process between the Allied Climbers of San Diego and the USFS regarding climbing closures to protect cliff-nesting raptors (or the lack thereof) has been stalled because the Cleveland National Forest needed to use its money and staff resources to fight fires. On USFS lands across the country, research efforts will be ceasedright in the middle of the prime data collection seasonwhich will likely delay many agency actions for one year. Grants and partnerships will be frozen and construction and watershed restoration projects will be put on hold.
Forward thinking Federal lawmakers responded to this recurring problem in March of this year by introducing the Federal Land Assistance, Management, and Enhancement Act, also known as the FLAME Act. The FLAME Act would create a supplemental funding source for catastrophic emergency wildland fire suppression activities on federal lands and would require agency leaders to develop a cohesive wildland fire management strategy. The FLAME Act, which has drawn wide support from the outdoor recreation community, passed in the House on July 9th and is now under consideration by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Learn more about the content and status of the FLAME Act by searching www.thomas.gov for H.R. 5541 or FLAME Act.
Help Protect Upper West Bolton Cliff, VT
By Travis Peckham, President, CRAG-VT
CRAG-VT has recently received approval from landowners and the Bolton Select Board to purchase one of Vermont's most popular and historic climbing areas- Upper West Bolton Cliff. With trad, sport, and ice climbs, its exceptional boulder field, magnificent views, and quiet and wild setting, Upper West is one of Vermont's best climbing areas.
Over the past 40 years, everyone from beginners to climbing legends has become a part of the cliff's colorful history. While attending the University of Vermont in the 1970's, John Bouchard cut his teeth on the green schist of Upper West before becoming one of our country's most accomplished alpinists. Bouchard made an indelible mark when he established The Rose (5.10a) and The Thorn (5.11a), two routes that represent some of the best crack climbing the Northeast has to offer.
In the early 1990's, Upper West Bolton Cliff was closed to climbing. After years of closure, CRAG-VT board members were able to work with landowners to restore access. CRAG-VT has since maintained positive relations with the landowners and is now in a position to broker a permanent solution by acquiring the cliff. We must act now to ensure that this cliff is protected forever.
CRAG-VT is working with the Access Fund to mobilize local climbers to help complete this important project. The Access Fund has awarded CRAG-VT a supporting grant for this acquisition, but we need additional funding and more help from the climbing community. Please contact us if you have a fundraising idea, can make an online donation, or want to volunteer. With your help, we can purchase and protect this land forever.
Please visit www.cragvt.org to learn more.
Madrone Wall Update, OR
PUBLIC MEETING #2:
WHEN: September 24 (Wednesday); 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
WHERE: Clackamas County Sunnybrook Service Center
Auditorium First Floor
9101 S. E. Sunnybrook Blvd.
Clackamas, Oregon 97015
The County is working with the community to complete a feasibility study and develop a concept Parks Master Plan for the Madrone Wall. THIS IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY to attend and provide input on future uses of and improvements to this site, including the potential creation of a park.
Comments, suggestions, or questions regarding this Park Master Planning process should be sent to Katie Dunham at email@example.com(503-794-8051) or Chris VanDuzer at firstname.lastname@example.org (503-353-4663). Submissions will be presented at the public meetings.
MADRONE WALL IVY PULL
Please help restore native plant biodiversity and ecosystem to the Madrone Wall by removing invasive plants (e.g., Himalayan blackberry, English ivy). Join us at our first opportunity to make a difference at this amazing civic treasure since the site was closed 11 years ago! This is a great event if you are looking for an environmental public service project.
WHEN: SEPTEMBER 27 (SATURDAY)
MEET AT: Carver School Parking Lot
(CARPOOL TO SITE FROM SCHOOL, www.carverschool.org/Find_Us)
16077 S.E. Highway 224
Damascus, Oregon 97089
WHAT TO BRING: Appropriate safety equipment (work gloves, work boots, etc.); water, hat, sunscreen; dress for weather (rain or shine!); gardening tools (loppers, pruners, shears, small hand saws, shovels, dandelion pickers, weed wrenches, digging tools, etc.).
RSVP to by 20 September to: email@example.com
Following the work, there will be a BBQ party sponsored by Climb Max Mountaineering and a raffle sponsored by the Access Fund in the Carver School parking lot (free to all Ivy Pull participants).
Western Colorado Climbers Coalition, CO
By Eve Tallman
The Western Colorado Climbers Coalition, based in Grand Junction, has had a fortuitous month. The group has established 501(c)3 status and received notification about a $5,000 grant from REI for projects relating to the immediate needs of Unaweep Canyon access. This puts the coalition on track to continue efforts to find a climber-friendly buyer for Lower Mothers Buttress and the Television Wall.
The Coalition's website is www.westernslopeclimbers.blogspot.com . If you that haven't yet had a chance to climb in Unaweep and want to see what the fuss is about, check out www.mountainproject.com.
Madrone Wall Update, OR
By Keith Daellenbach
The third, and last, public involvement meeting concerning the Madrone Wall planning was held October 29. Clackamas County unveiled a draft of the Madrone Wall Final Concept Design. (An earlier design of the area, which has since been abandoned, proposed banning climbing and chopping existing bolts.)
This new design is the result of two previous meetings held in August and September, as well as public outreach efforts that solicited comments from 235 climbers, local citizens, and other outdoor enthusiasts. The design is available for download at www.savemadrone.org and shows onsite parking, trails, and a trailhead kiosk.
The next step is for the County Parks Advisory Board to approve the design at their January 20, 2009 meeting. The meeting will be held at 150 Beavercreek Road, Oregon City at 6:00pm. The Board of County Commissioners must also approve the design at their study session, which is tentatively slated for February 3, 2009 (details available at www.clackamas.us/bcc/schedule.htm). The public is encouraged to attend both meetings.
Red River Gorge, KY - Torrent Falls Reopens
By Bill Strachan, Executive Director, Red River Gorge Climbers' Coalition
On August 1, 2008, the privately owned Torrent Falls climbing area reopened to the public on a limited basis after being closed for over a year and a half. The area was closed when climber behavior conflicted with the use of the property as a tourist resort. After the property was sold, the current owner maintained the public climbing closure but made known their intention to reopen the area at some point.
Limited public access is now being granted, free of charge (per KRS 411.190), to those who sign a waiver and register on www.torrentfallsclimbing.com. The number of parties and cars (car-pool!) is limited to three, with a recommended maximum group size of three. Access is allowed on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays only. Online registration begins at 6am each day and is valid only for the day of registration. The entrance gate to Torrent operates from 8am until 8pm with the code provided during registration. The gate is locked at all other times, so please plan your day accordingly. Each vehicle is required to display a valid parking pass obtained during the online registration. Vehicles without passes will be towed or immobilized.
Ever since Torrent Falls was purchased by current RRGCC President Dr. Robert Matheny, Jr., the Coalition has been holding open Board meetings there. Meeting attendees are allowed the privilege of climbing for that day. After improvements are completed on the lodge building, the RRGCC plans to lease one of the rooms for office space. Because of term limits, Dr. Bob's position on the RRGCC Board will expire in spring 2009. The RRGCC truly appreciates all that Dr. Bob has done for the organization in his six years as a Board member and thanks him for giving us the opportunity to establish Torrent Falls as our new office and base of operations!
Access Fund Executive Director Brady Robinson Visits NC and CA
Access Fund Executive Director Brady Robinson hit the road this June with site visits to Asheville, North Carolina and San Diego, California. In early June Brady visited with members of the Carolina Climbers Coalition (CCC) and Boone Climbers Coalition (BCC) who are working on access issues and opportunities at Grandmother boulders, Asheboro boulders, Laurel Knob, Rumbling Bald, Chimney Rock, and Perrys Paradise. It was great to meet with the CCC and BCC. Both local climbing organizations (LCOs) have done so much for climbing access in North Carolina and really are model LCOs, said Brady. And, of course, I enjoyed climbing at my old backyard crags.
Later in the month, Brady met with members of the Allied Climbers of San Diego at their annual Summer Celebration Fundraising event. While in San Diego, Brady had the opportunity to visit climbing areas within the Cleveland National Forest that are threatened with an extensive proposed closure. (See Access Fund Action Alert: www.accessfund.org/display/page/AA/54.) Seeing the closure area in person really underscores how overreaching the Forest Services proposal is, noted Brady. The proposed closure goes well beyond the sensible bird nesting closures in place at climbing areas across the country. There is plenty of room for climbers and birds of prey in the Cleveland National Forest. The climbers I met with are committed to protecting raptor habitat and would support a more focused management strategy. I am confident we will be able to find a good compromise.
New LCO in Northern California Forges Ahead
On June 27, at Sacramento Pipeworks (owned by Access Fund Corporate Partner Touchstone Climbing), climbers from the Sacramento area had their second organizational meeting. CRAGS (Climbing Resource Advocates for Greater Sacramento) will now be the official name of the new Access Fund Affiliate. They chose nine people to be on the Board of Directors and will be filing Articles of Incorporation in the next month.
CRAGS is a nonprofit organization protecting access to Northern California climbing areas; advocating for climbers' interests; constructively addressing the concerns of landowners and other land users; and working to keep climbing areas clean, safe, and healthy.
Corbin CragPost Falls Spokane River, WA
By Rusty Bailie, Kootenai Klimbers
Some folks who read about the City of Post Falls acquiring Corbin Crag have been asking if its open for climbing. The cliff in question is on the far side of the river when viewed from the old concrete ramp in Corbin Park. The new city land is closely surrounded by private houses and the only access road is on closed private roads. One of the major purposes of this deal was to ensure the privacy and environmental integrity of the parcel. Given all this, it will take a great deal of careful and creative planning to devise a long-term public access strategy.
We are working with the Parks and Recreation Department to formulate a climbing plan. Anyone interested in helping out or exploring the area can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Graffiti Removal at the Northwest Branch, MD
By Ocean Eiler, Access Fund Regional Coordinator for Virginia
It was a hot, muggy morning as I walked outside with my first cup of coffee. The fog was thick and suffocating. Taking a sip of coffee, I smirked to myself. Of course the first day of summer would come on the day I'd planned to do a mini crag cleanup. Out of the fog, Gill appeared.
Forty-five minutes later, we were in the parking lot of Northwest Branch Park (NWB) with the leaders that managed the NWB Adopt-A-Crag two months earlier. Previously cold weather conditions had shutdown our plans to do graffiti removal from the boulders. Today, with temperatures predicted in the upper 90s, this was not a problem.
The players were Addison Helmke, Chris Irwin, Scott Kragen, Thomson Ling, Gill Lingenfelter, Nicole Martino, Libby Sommer, and myself. Donning protective eye-ware and gloves, we armed ourselves with buckets and brushes and headed off into the boulder fields.
Our main focus was a popular boulder called Reefer Rock. Over the years it has attracted many an aspiring graffiti artist. This translates to numerous paint layers.
Water, brushing, and positive thoughts alone would not remove this paint. We came armed with a secret weapon, Soytech. Soytech is a biodegradable (soy-based) graffiti removal product that was donated to us by Randy Frees at Soy Technologies, LLC. His huge donation made this venture a reality.
Roughly four hours later we had made a significant dent in the graffiti covering Reefer Rock. I would love to say we removed all of it but the layers of graffiti were just too dense in places. However, as we surveyed our work I think we felt good about what we had done. These first steps are part of a much larger commitment to the Northwest Branch crag.
Thank you to Mid Atlantic Climbers, Access Fund, and the Maryland, Virginia, and DC climbing communities that help support us. A special thank you to Randy Frees at Soy Technologies, LLC, without his help this project would not have been possible.
Road Improvements at Muir Valley, KY
By Doris Edwards, Friends of Muir Valley, Co-Chairperson
On May 29, the half-mile lane leading back to Muir Valley was closed for one week so that it could undergo major rebuilding. This was deemed necessary by the preserve owners due to the increasing number of climbing visitorsclose to 600 during the Memorial Day weekend alone.
Two large, blind hills were completely removed during construction to make the drive into the Valley much safer. Although not completely finished, the road was reopened on June 7.
Visitors to Muir Valley are asked to drive slowly on the new road as the shoulders are soft and the ditches steep at this time. Cleanup along the side of the new road will continue by Friends of Muir Valley volunteers over the next few weeks.
Yosemite National Park Revises Schedule for Merced River Plan, CA
Yosemite National Park (YNP) is proposing a revised planning schedule for the Merced River Plan that could restrict climbing and camping access in Yosemite Valley. This plan could limit the number of campsites in the Valley and, in a worst case scenario, restrict climbing access to some crags along the river. This new project schedule, if approved by the court, will be completed in December 2011 and is in response to a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling requiring YNP to impose numeric limits on visitors in the Merced River corridor. For more background on this issue, see www.accessfund.org/pubs/en/e-news90.htm#_Two_Access_Lawsuits.
The courts order directs YNP to establish new wilderness trailhead quotas and numeric limits in the management corridor (approximately mile on each side of the river) to determine whether Wild and Scenic River values are protected and enhanced. YNP will now transition to site-specific planning in Yosemite Valley to analyze specific types and levels of public use, as well as evaluate the appropriateness of specific facilities.
The new December 2011 completion date envisions that the NPS will re-examine site-specific planning decisions for many areas formerly addressed by the 2000 Yosemite Valley Plan. A public scoping period will begin as soon as possible, and publication and distribution of preliminary alternatives will begin in summer of 2009. By January 2011, YNP will publish a Draft Merced River Plan. Both of these planning phases will be open for public review and comment with a final plan decision due around December 2011.
To stay tuned to the progress of the plan and to get involved, see www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/newmrp.htm. The Access Fund will continue to monitor the progress of the Merced River Plan to ensure that climbing access is not unreasonably restricted. For more information email email@example.com.
Blue Ridge Parkway Prepares General Management Plan
The National Park Service (NPS) is preparing a general management plan (GMP) for the Blue Ridge Parkway. This plan could affect high-quality bouldering and climbing areas such as Grandmother Boulders and Shiprock. The Carolina Climbers Coalition has been working with the NPS to maintain climbing access to these popular areas. For more background, see www.carolinaclimbers.org/Ship-Rock.html.
This GMP will provide a vision for the parkway's future and help guide decision-making for the next 20 years, including recreation policy that could affect climbing access. The Blue Ridge Parkway has developed three preliminary alternatives, and 15 of the parkways large recreation areas are addressed in these three alternatives.
Review the draft plan and submit comments http://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?....
For more information, contact the Carolina Climbers Coalition: www.carolinaclimbers.org.
Climbers of Hueco Tanks Coalition Formed
On March 29, the Access Funds Grassroots Coordinator, Charlie Boas, met with El Paso locals and visiting climbers to form/reform a local climbing organization.
Prompted by the recent closure of the Mushroom Boulder, the new Climbers of Hueco Tanks Coalition (CHTC) met to discuss the history and future of Hueco Tanks climbers groups with long-time local Dave Head and Hueco Rock Ranch Managers Rob Rice and Charles Kelly.
After some fantastic homemade burritos and a few cervezas, the new coalition has decided on a name, selected a Board of Directors, and scheduled a second meeting for early May.
At the next meeting the CHTC will be deciding on a mission statement and planning for an upcoming fundraiser scheduled for September 2008.
For more information, please contact Charlie Boas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Climbing Access Threatened at Sunset Rock
By Samantha Christen, Southeastern Climbers Coalition
Climbing at Sunset Park, one of the premier trad areas in Tennessee, is in danger of being nothing but a bittersweet memory, according to representatives of the Southeastern Climbers Coalition (SCC).
Matthew Gant, a member of the SCC board, said the National Park Service was recently on the verge of shutting down climbing at Sunset. One month ago the rangers had given up on climbers and had made plans for closing Sunset to climbing permanently, Gant says. He further explains that the park service cited numerous negative incidents involving climbers, including loudness (Sunset is in a residential area), blocking trails with ropes and gear, and unruly dogs. Local climber groups were able to convince the park service not to go ahead with the climbing ban. According to Grant, the rangers want to see more involvement in education, monitoring, and self-policing of the crag by groups like the SCC.
Sunset Park is part of the Chickamauga National Battlefield Park, a major battle in the Civil War. As such, it is under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service. Samantha Christen, the SCCs area representative for Sunset, points out that this is the only military park in the U.S. that allows climbing, and there is no particular obligation for the NPS to continue this practice. At any point in time, they (NPS) can come in and shut us down with absolutely no explanation, she says.
The SCC has been a key organization in maintaining the sometimes uneasy relationship between climbers, the park service, and the residents of Lookout Mountain. Volunteers from the group have put in a tremendous number of person-hours on trail work, erosion control, and installing bolted anchors to spare the trees at the top of the cliff. Christen says the park service appreciates this work, but only to a point. We are only, in their eyes, fixing what we broke, she says. In their eyes, we, at this point, really have done no preventative maintenance, just repair of damaged areas.
The NPS maintains Sunset as a memorial to the Civil War battle; recreation is a secondary concern. This is especially true in light of recent government cutbacks, which have left the park service shorthanded. If climbers make the rangers job more difficult, they may consider it easiest just to get rid of the problem by banning climbing, Christen and Gant say. The park service does not hate us, nor do they wish to see us go as a user-group, Christen says. However, with the decrease in manpower due to federal cutbacks, they are prepared to take necessary measures to ensure that they are able to do their jobs.
The SCC is currently working on a plan for educating Sunset climbers on the issues involved and on how to deal with people who violate the rules. Some possible steps include fliers to hand out or put on climbers cars; letters to climbing gyms, school clubs, and outdoor organizations; and encouraging people to ask their fellow climbers to move their gear off the trail or keep their voices down.
In the end, though, it will come down to whether Sunset climbers care enough about this great destination to do the right thing. All it will take is a few uncaring individuals out of the thousands who climb at Sunset every year to put an end to almost 50 years of great southern climbing. For the latest status of Sunset and what you can do to help, go to the SCC website: www.seclimbers.org/index.php
Muir Valley Nature Preserve: Build It and Climbers Will Come,
By Doris Edwards, Friends of Muir Valley, Co-Chairperson
Muir Valley Nature Preserve in Kentuckys Red River Gorge area is 400 acres of privately owned land developed as a nature preserve and climbing venue. It is open to the public and has quickly grown in popularity, with over 10,000 visitors in 2007. To meet the demands of the ever-increasing number of climbers, the Friends of Muir Valley, a local, volunteer-based organization made up of over 300 active supporters, is working closely with the owners to continuously improve and maintain the infrastructure of Muir Valley.
Friends of Muir Valley would like to remind visitors that climbing on private land is a privilege. To help mitigate the impacts of the growing number of visitors, dogs are no longer allowed at the Preserve. Please leave your dog at home. Also, please practice Leave no Trace climbing ethics.
For more information on low-impact climbing practices, visit www.accessfund.org/boulderproject/coex.php. For more information on Friends of Muir Valley, visit www.friendsofmuirvalley.org/.
Queen Creek Coalition Holds Climber Meeting
On March 24, the newly-formed Queen Creek Coalition (members of the Friends of Queen Creek, Arizona Mountaineering Club, owners of Phoenix-area climbing gyms, and unaffiliated climbers) held a public meeting to provide the Arizona climbing community with an update on their efforts to advocate for climbing access in the Oak Flat/Queen Creek Canyon area. The Queen Creek Coalition was formed to give climbers and other recreational users a voice in the proposed Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act. The 2007 versions of this land exchange bill (S.1862 and H.B. 3301) were introduced into the 110th Congressional Session of Congress by Senator Kyl and Representative Pastor. The legislation would transfer significant climbing and bouldering to Resolution Copper Company.
This meeting was in conjunction with a regular meeting of the Arizona Mountaineering Club. About 50 climbers attended to learn more about the history of climbing in the area and the current status of the land exchange legislation.
For more background on this issue
Check back regularly with the Queen Creek Coalition for news and updates.
Two Access Lawsuits Decided: Yosemite National Park, CA
On February 21, 2008 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the National Park Service in the case of Terbush v. U.S.
Peter Terbush died from rock fall on Glacier Point Apron in 1999 and this lawsuit concerned whether the Park Service was negligent in failing to warn of the dangers present on the Apron. The government countered that they are immune from such lawsuits because Congress has given rangers discretion on when and where to warn the public of potential dangers. The case was further complicated by the fact that a wastewater treatment plant facility had allegedly been discharging large amounts of water from the top of the Apron prior to Terbushs death, potentially creating an unnatural hazardous condition.
As a policy matter, this case is of interest to climbers because if the Park Service had lost, climbing policies could have become much more restrictive in Yosemite and anywhere that the government allows public access to potentially hazardous locations. If the Park Service had been held responsible for the safety of park visitors, they would have likely reduced access opportunities, especially to potentially dangerous spots, such as climbing areas.
The Terbush lawsuit represents an unusual case, however, because the question remains whether the hazards on the Apron that killed Peter Terbush were natural or whether they were caused by a mismanaged wastewater treatment plant that sent a large volume of water down onto a popular climbing area. The record from the District Court did not have enough information for the Appeals Court to decide whether the Park Service was negligent in their wastewater treatment plant facility, and, accordingly, the Appeals Court has ordered the case back to the District Court to decide this issue. However, at this point it seems unlikely that the Terbush case will affect climbing management policy in Yosemite or elsewhere.
On March 27, 2008 in Friends of Yosemite Valley v. Kempthorne, another lawsuit potentially involving public access in Yosemite, the court ruled against the Park Service. In this case the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal district judges decision in 2006 that Yosemite National Park failed to adequately address limits on public use near the Merced Wild and Scenic River.
In May of 2007, the Access Fund, American Alpine Club, and several other environmental organizations including the Yosemite Fund, Friends of the River, National Parks Conservation Association, California Trout and The Wilderness Society, filed briefs supporting the Park Services planning methodology for the Merced River. This broad coalition opposed the strict, numeric limits on visitors in Yosemite that were supported by plaintiffs and the district court. The Access Fund maintains that this approach is impractical and unfair and that adaptive carrying capacity management provisions are a better approach to protecting the environment and visitor access. See here for more background on this issue: www.accessfund.org/display/page/PR/64
The Ninth Circuit, however, sided with the district court and ordered Yosemite National Park to develop a new management plan that sets numeric limits for visitors in Yosemite by September 2009. This recent court decision also blocks several ongoing restoration and rehabilitation projects in the Valley. Unfortunately, the Ninth Circuits ruling could result in restricted access (camping, climbing, or even hiking) in all Wild and Scenic River management areas, including Yosemite Valley, Yosemites Tuolumne region, the New River Gorge in West Virginia, the Obed River in Tennessee, and other designated and proposed Wild and Scenic Rivers in California, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Kentucky, and elsewhere.
Great Falls Management Plan Reflects Climbers Concerns, VA
By Simon Carr, Friends of Great Falls
In September 2005, the National Park Service (NPS) released a draft General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement for Great Falls Park, Virginia. The draft Plan contained proposals with potentially serious implications for climbing at Great Falls, including the closure of cliffs, permits to climb, and permanent anchors. Great Falls is a top-roping area just outside Washington DC and contains over 250 routes up to 5.12.
In response to the draft Plan, climbers in the VA/MD/DC area formed Friends of Great Falls (www.friendsofgreatfalls.com) to mobilize climbers to comment on the draft plan. There were approximately 270 comments, the majority of these from climbers. Almost universally, the submissions from climbers were opposed to the NPS proposals.
In December 2007, a final Plan was released by the NPS. The revised plan is a significant improvement over the original draft, specifically the sections affecting recreational climbing. The NPS has clearly taken into consideration many of the suggestions made by climbers during the public comment process. Generally, the discussion of the potential environmental impacts from recreational climbing is reasonable. Similarly, the discussion of the potential actions that might be proposed in relation to mitigating possible environmental impacts, or to assist in meeting NPS management objectives, is fair and neutral.
However, the revised plan contains very little in terms of detailed proposals. In the final plan, the NPS has proposed the preparation of a specific Climbing Management Plan and has indicated that this will involve local climbing groups. There is no timetable at present for preparing a Climbing Management Plan.
Madrone Wall Needs Your Advocacy Help, OR
By Keith K. Daellenbach, Madrone Wall Preservation Committee
The Madrone Wall, a 44-acre forested area featuring bluffs and wildflowers, in Clackamas County, Oregon has been closed to public access since 1997. The county had planned to use the area as a rock quarry, but outdoor enthusiasts led by the Madrone Wall Preservation Committee protested, and the county determined a quarry was financially unfeasible.
In March 2005, the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners considered reopening the Madrone Wall as a park, and two years later, the county's Parks Advisory Board recommended creating a master plan for the Madrone Wall area.
Now, more than two years later, the County is finally sending out the requests for proposals to start the parks master planning. Next, according to current County Park plans, the public is expected to wait a minimum of three to four more years while nothing is actually done with the parks master planno funding to create this primitive park, no implementation of a park master plan, no park.
The Madrone Wall Preservation Committee asks you to, once again, make your advocacy known to the county and request necessary capital improvement funding for the 2008-2009 fiscal year so a park can finally be opened in a timely fashion.
Please contact the following County officials. Request they allocate necessary capital improvement funding for the coming fiscal year.
1. Clackamas Board of County Commissioners: 2051 Kaen Road, Oregon City, Oregon 97045, 503/655-8581; email Lynn Peterson, Bill Kennemer,Martha Schrader
2. Dan Zinzer: Director, Department of Business and Community Services (Parks Dept.), Clackamas County, 9101 S.E. Sunnybrook Blvd, Clackamas, OR 97015, 503/353-4661, email Dan Zinzer
3. Rob Smoot: Chair, Clackamas County Parks Advisory Board, c/o Dan Zinzer