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Oregon Bill to Require Emergency Locator Beacons on Mt. Hood, OR
4/19/2007

An Oregon bill that proposes mandating climbers on Mt. Hood to carry emergency locator beacons is poised to pass that states legislature.

We told you in our last E-News that the Access Fund opposes the mandatory use of these simple one way devices despite uninformed media pundits calling this position irresponsible. See the Access Fund testimony on the bill www.accessfund.org/pdf/HR_2509_Testimony.pdf. Find more background at www.accessfund.org/pubs/en/e-news77.htm - _Oregon_Beacon_Bill . Every mountain rescue unit in the state of Oregon opposes House Bill 2509 and the Mountain Rescue Association, which represents over 90 mountain rescue teams throughout North America, also opposes the bill. Steve Rollins with Portland Mountain Rescue, who has performed the rescues on Mt. Hood these last few months, also agrees with the Access Fund stance. Rollins says the legislature can't mandate good judgment. In an urban environment, we do everything we can do to make the world safe around us. And that is one of the beauties of the backcountry that it is untouched and it really is you and nature. I'm a strong believer that the laws of nature are going to be far more powerful than any law our legislators come up with. And if we can educate people to respect the laws of nature more, that will go a lot further than any law that we come up with.

The bill, while laudable in light of recent high profile rescue and recovery efforts that were featured in mainstream media of climbers on Oregons Mt. Hood, is a knee-jerk reaction and will not prevent climbers from being injured or killed in climbing related accidents. The bill simply adds a layer of red-tape to climbing a mountain and at worst could actually give less experienced climbers a sense of false security when presented with conditions out of their control (such as the fast-moving weather systems of the Pacific Northwest).

Despite climbing groups and professional rescuers coming out against the bill, in late March the Oregon House of Representatives voted 33-22 to require the locator devices for all Mt. Hood climbers traveling above 10,000 feet. The next step is for the bill to be assigned to a state Senate committee and then brought to that chamber for a vote. Oregon would become the first state to require such equipment if the bill is approved by the Senate and signed by the governor. It would go into effect as early as Jan. 1 2008.

 



Peter's Kill Season Pass, NY
4/19/2007

By Christopher Spatz

In response to a Peters Kill climbing survey at Minnewaska State Park Preserve conducted by GCC Director-at-Large Bob OBrien (Minnewaskas Invasive Species Specialist), the park has recognized requests by frequent visitors of the climbing community for a season pass.

Eric Humphries, Minnewaskas new Superintendent, has issued the 2007 policy as follows: The Peters Kill Season Pass is $65 per individual and is valid for climbing/bouldering. The pass is valid from April 1st to December 15th, weather permitting. The Peters Kill Season Pass does not waive vehicle use fees at the other park entrances, and is valid only at the Peters Kill Area. Pass holder must present valid photo ID at check in. The Season Pass is Not Transferable and Non-Refundable. Pass Holder Must follow all park rules and regulations. Pass Holder will only be allowed entry if the climbing area has not reached the maximum number of permitted climbing/bouldering permits. The weekday/weekend day climbing pass remains $7.

For further information please contact the Minnewaska Park Preserve Office at 845-255-0752.

New also to this years Peters Kill climbing policy: climbers will be requested to check-out upon departure. Previously, once the maximum number of climbing visitors was reached, no further passes were issued. Check-out monitoring will allow the Peters Kill office to sustain the maximum number of climbing visitors during peak usage: 70 climbers and 30 boulderers.

The GCC wishes to thank Bob OBrien, Superintendent Humphries, and the Palisades Interstate Park Commission for accommodating the climbing communitys request for a season pass at Peters Kill.

 



Pinnacles National Monument Seeks Public Input for New General Management Plan, CA
4/19/2007

The National Park Service at Pinnacles National Monument south of San Francisco, CA has begun revising its general management plan (GMP) which will serve as a blueprint to guide the park over the next twenty years.

This new master planning document for Pinnacles, home to hundreds of rock climbs, will identify important park issues, visitor opportunities, and program objectives many of which could affect current climbing policies www.pinnacles.org/climbing_info/index.htm. For more information on the GMP process, see www.nps.gov/pinn/parkmgmt/planning.htm

A draft GMP is expected for public review in fall 2008 with a final GMP scheduled for completion in 2009.

 



Raptor Closure at Black Cliffs, ID
4/19/2007

By Brian Fedigan

The Boise Climbers Alliance has closed sections of the Black Cliffs for raptor nesting. Current closures include the back of Car Body Canyon, Highway Face (all routes), Scary Canyon (all routes), the Iron Man Traverse and the Nixon Head. The route closures will last until late June. For detailed information on exact route closures go to www.boiseclimbs.com.

We are currently working with the Idaho Fish and Game to see what walls have current nesting activity. If an area is determined not to have a nesting raptor it will be opened immediately. This is a voluntary closure, but the cooperation of local climbers has enabled us to maintain free of federal and state imposed restrictions. Thanks so much for your cooperation.

 



RRGCC Fundraising Challenge, KY
4/19/2007
By RRGC BOD

The Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition has had an anonymous benefactor volunteer to provide up to $5,000 in matching funds towards the 2007 Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve payment due on July 15, 2007. To help get our fundraising efforts underway and ensure we make our goals for 2007 they have agreed to the following challenge setup to add some fun and excitement to fundraising effort:

This challenge will run for three more monthsApril, May, & June 2007and the challenge amount for each month will be $1,250.

For each month if $1,250 is raised by the end of the month then that amount will be matched with $1,250 from the benefactor.

The postmark date will be considered the contribution date for mailed payments.

Whoever contributes the largest amount each month or those responsible for the largest fundraising event, whichever is greater, will be recognized as the "RRGCC Fundraiser of the Month. They will receive a gift package of appreciation consisting a climbing related DVD and a t-shirt at a minimum.

We are working on getting some other goodies to put in these packages and will let everyone know what they are as the packages are put together.

Home gym fundraisers were very effective last year as well as climber funded slideshows. Use your imagination, get your partners together and have some fun. Let's use this generous offer to help us continue to secure the largest, and one of the best, climber owned climbing area in the US.

For donation information see: www.rrgcc.org/membership.php

Thanks For Your Support!

 



Ship Rock Closure, NC
4/19/2007

Area closure in effect: all access above the rock climb anguish of captain bligh is prohibited. The Boone Climbers Coalition is working in cooperation with the National Park Service to notify climbers of a closure at Ship Rock on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

ALL CLIMBERS, PLEASE NOTE trail, hiking, descent or ascent access above the routes Anguish of Captain Bligh and Harpoon is strictly prohibited. The anchors for the routes Anguish of Captain Bligh and Harpoon should only be approached by lead climbing either route. If your party plans to top rope either of these routes, one or the other must be lead. Top access to this set of anchors is strictly prohibited.

RAPPEL DESCENTS REQUIRED FOR ROCKCLIMBING AT SHIPROCK: all climbers must use existing rappel stations for descent. Rappel stations are located atop the routes: Boardwalk (for main section of cliff) and Edge of a Dream (for upper tier routes).

These closures will be posted with permanent signage soon if not currently. The BCC and the National Park Service work towards the common goals of protecting and preserving our park lands and providing opportunities to enhance responsible use of our climbing resources. So, in cooperation with the BCC, the National Park Service will be installing a Kiosk for climbers at Ship Rock. The Kiosk will contain information on rules and restrictions, closures, and safety info such as locations of rappel stations to descend the cliff.

 



Williamson Rock, CA Update
4/19/2007

By Troy Mayr

The USFS is currently in the process of preparing a scoping letter. Once the scoping letter is released, this marks the start of the NEPA process for the Williamson Rock and vicinity.

The scoping letter prompts public comment and sets the parameters for what the USFS will consider. Positive and detailed comments from the climbing community are encouraged. Please visit www.williamsonrock.org and join our mailing list (if you haven't already).

When more details are made available to FoWR we will send out an e-mail to all of our mailing list members.

Thanks for your support!

 



Farley Ledge, MA
3/12/2007

By Jeff Squire, Access Fund Regional Coordinator and President, WMCC

Since the early December, the Western Massachusetts Climbers Coalition has been actively raising money to secure a 9-acre parcel of land at the base of Farley Ledge. Farley Ledge represents a unique and unspoiled natural outdoor recreation area in Erving, Massachusetts and represents a primary rock-climbing destination in New England. The area also includes one of the most impressive sections of the nationally recognized Metacomet-Monadnock Trail and valuable state identified wildlife habitat.

This preservation project marks the climax of a six year effort on behalf of the WMCC to secure access to Farley Ledge. A Purchase and Sale Agreement has been signed for the property and the WMCC fully intends on moving ahead.

The local community has rallied to donate over $22,000 to this project so far and we have gained the support of local towns, land trusts, state agencies, and area officials. A closing date is scheduled for April 1st and we desperately need to close the gap to secure this important piece of property.

Fundraisers planned for upcoming months include area visits from Beth Rodden and Tommy Caldwell (March 2-4), Nick and Heather Sagar (March 2-4) and John Bragg (April 7).

This is a project that will significantly affect climbing in Massachusetts and southern New England and it needs everyones support. Donations are being accepted through the WMCC website www.westernmacc.com or the old fashioned way. Above all else, help spread the word about this effort so that we might capture the attention of those willing to help.

 



Guided Climbing Approved at Sky Top, NY
3/12/2007

By Christopher Spatz, Gunks Climbers Coalition and Access Fund RC

Starting April 1, 2007, overnight guests of the Mohonk Mountain House will have the opportunity to climb at Sky Top with an approved guide. Guiding costs are in addition to hotel accommodations. Unescorted guests, day guests, and the public are not permitted to rock climb at Sky Top at this time.

This agreement is the result of several years of negotiations between former Access Fund Board member Russ Clune, Access Fund Community Partner Alpine Endeavors www.alpineendeavors.com and the Mohonk Mountain House www.mohonk.com. The facts sheet on their arrangement is also available on the GCCs website: www.gunksclimbers.org and at www.mohonkmountainguides.com

Sky Top has been closed to climbers since the mid 1990s. Historically, it is one of the most significant crags on the continent. Sky Tops sublime setting is home to one of the earliest routes in the Shawangunks, Fritz Weissners 1935 Gargoyle, moderate classics like Grey Face, Pilgrims Progress, and Sound & Fury, as well as Trad testpieces that advanced North American rock climbing standards, Foops and Supercrack.

 



Indian Creek Update, UT
3/12/2007

By Emma Medara, Friends of Indian Creek

The BLM has installed a toilet at the Beef Basin turnoff. This is a great addition to our human waste management program. While it is only one toilet, and is not there to replace the use of the human waste bags, it gives relief to the large number of waste bags that are being used through the successful program.

Please continue to use the waste bags when it is not convenient to use the toilet (at the crag or at the campsite or anywhere where you do not have access to the toilet).

Donations for waste bags last season were great, and together with money raised from t-shirt sales, slide shows and financial contributions from manufacturers, we have just ordered 2500 more waste bags to keep the dispensers stocked for the spring season. However, please don't always rely on these dispensers being fully stocked. Please be prepared by bringing in your own waste bags.

There is information on www.friendsofindiancreek.org about alternative backcountry toilet systems. It is our intention to phase out supplying human waste bags in the future, but this will not mean that everybody can go back to digging holes. We will all have to be responsible for ourselves and provide our own systems of packing out.

The future of Indian Creek, whether there are human waste bags or not, will still depend on climbers managing themselves and the area responsibly and packing out human waste.

Everyone is doing a great job, and the donations are a huge help. Please keep helping us by not poohing in holes, keeping to the designated camping areas, and keeping those donations coming in.

Go to the website www.friendsofindiancreek.org for updated information.

 



Nelson Rocks Preserve Update, WV
3/12/2007

By Ocean Eiler, Access Fund Regional Coordinator

January 27th of 2007, In response to the recent real estate listing of Nelson Rocks Preserve, WV, climbers in the Washington DC area held a round table. Nelson Rocks Preserve is a privately owned outdoor recreation area, featuring many climbing routes, via ferrata climbing, hiking, and camping.

The round table discussions lead by Access Fund Regional Coordinator Thomson Ling discussed the options for preserving climbing access at Nelson Rocks Preserve and helped to facilitate the ground work for positive action.

With roughly 20 people in attendance, the discussions were inquisitive and demonstrated climbers motivation to preserve access to Nelson Rocks.

For information please contact Thomson Ling or Ocean Eiler at: thomsonling@dcmetroclimbing.com or ocean@dcmetroclimbing.com

 



Oregon Beacon Bill, OR
3/12/2007

The Oregon bill that proposes mandating climbers on Mt Hood to carry emergency locator beacons has been all over the national media for the past few weeks.

The Access Funds stance opposes the mandatory use of these simple one way devices and interestingly enough this has become major fodder for everything from print media to radio talk shows to major TV network shows.

Climbers are a close-knit community and we never want to see one of our own in a rescue or recovery situation but this bill wont necessarily make the mountain safer. Even if the beacons make it easier to locate parties, what if theres a three-day storm? Climbing is always about calculated risk and nothing can replace experience. Says Access Fund Executive Director, Steve Matous.

Steve Rollins with Portland Mountain Rescue who has performed the rescues on Mt. Hood these last few months agrees with the Access Fund stance. Rollins says the legislature can't mandate good judgment. "In an urban environment, we do everything we can do to make the world safe around us. And that is one of the beauties of the backcountry, that it is untouched and it really is you and nature. I'm a strong believer that the laws of nature are going to be far more powerful than any law our legislators come up with. And if we can educate people to respect the laws of nature more, that will go a lot further than any law that we come up with."

The bill, while laudable in light of recent high profile rescue and recovery efforts that were featured in mainstream media of climbers on Oregons Mt. Hood, is a knee-jerk reaction and will not prevent climbers from being injured or killed in climbing related accidents. The bill simply adds a layer of red-tape to climbing a mountain and at worst could actually give less experienced climbers a sense of false security when presented with conditions out of their control (such as the fast-moving weather systems of the Pacific Northwest). See the Access Fund testimony on the bill www.accessfund.org/pdf/HR_2509_Testimony.pdf

For more of the national media attention, visit these links: www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7770277&sc=ema

http://thenewshole.msnbc.msn.com/articles/64101.aspx (by all accounts a curious honor for the Access Fund)



Proposed Seasonal Closures to Protect Nesting Raptors, CA
3/12/2007

By Kirsten Winter, Cleveland National Forest Biologist

*This is a new scoping effort, and a new comment period has been started. Comments will be accepted until April 16, 2007. For letter writing tips, please visit: www.accessfund.org/display/page/AA/54

The Cleveland National Forest (Cleveland NF) is proposing seasonal area closures to protect golden eagles and prairie falcons at three locations.

The Cleveland NF is initiating the scoping process under the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1970. Scoping is the means by which the Forest Service identifies the important environmental and social issues to be considered in developing and analyzing a proposed action. Your site-specific comments are requested to help us identify relevant issues, evaluate the proposed action, and develop possible alternatives.

The proposed seasonal area closures were initially proposed for NEPA analysis under a categorical exclusion, as summarized in a scoping letter dated December 11, 2006, and sent to local user groups. Based on public input and a further refinement of the proposed action, the Cleveland NF has chosen to undertake an environmental assessment to analyze the proposed action. The public will have 30 days to provide responses to this scoping letter. The Cleveland NF will then prepare an environmental assessment.

The public will have 30 days to comment on the analysis contained in the environmental assessment. The proposed action may be modified based on scientifically and legally sound information that is received during any of the comment periods. After considering the comments received on the environmental assessment, the Cleveland NF will make a decision.

All comments submitted in response to the December 11, 2006 scoping letter will be retained in the project file for the current proposed action. These comments will be considered during analysis and do not need to be resubmitted.

For more detailed information, including the scoping letter and maps describing the proposed action, please see the Cleveland National Forest website at www.fs.fed.us/r5/cleveland/projects/projects/seasonal-closures/index.shtml

 



Sending The Business in Red River Gorge, KY
3/12/2007

By Bill Strachan, Executive Director Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition

As of Mid-February 2007 almost $16,000 had been collected towards the annual mortgage payment for the RRGCC owned Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve (PMRP) in Lee County, Kentucky. With the annual payment of $29,393 due on July 15, the RRGCC is continuing to ramp up its efforts to secure this purchase (For donation info see: www.rrgcc.org/membership.php.

The PMRP, with over 700-acres of land, is home to well over 300 routes with new lines being discovered and developed weekly. At the end of 2006, the first 5.14c in Red River Gorge was established when Mike Doyle redpointed Lucifer at the Purgatory area of the PMRP.

Equally important, the US Forest Service has stepped up the pace of the Red River Gorge Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC) workshops. Currently on Step 6 of the nine-step process, participation by local climbers is key to maintaining climbing access on Federally owned land in the Gorge. Now meeting more than once a month, workshop participants are presently working to identify alternative opportunity zone allocations. At the heart of these meetings is an effort to find a solution that works for all stakeholders, the main options being: 1) emphasis on resource protection; 2) balance between resource protection and recreation; 3) emphasis on recreation and tourism; and 4) no action.

Finally the RRGCC has scheduled two Adopt-A-Crag Day events for 2007. The first event will be held in conjunction with the Red River Reunion being held at Miguels Pizza & Rock Climbing in Slade, KY on April 21, 2007. In keeping with the spirit of Earth Day, this Adopt-A-Crag Day will have a Gorge-wide Trash Clean-up and Scavenging Contest. Contestants will present their most interesting pieces of trash to be judged by the crowd that evening at Miguels.

Also, this year the 3rd Annual John Bronaugh & Alex Yeakley Adopt-A-Crag Day will be held on August 4, 2007 at the PMRP. This event is devoted to developing new routes and supporting trail development. Held since 2005, this day honors the legacy of the late John Bronaugh and the passion for climbing that he shared with his late son Alex Yeakley.

 



Shenandoah National Park Climbers Alliance, VA
3/12/2007

By Ocean Eiler, Access Fund Regional Coordinator

In order to give a united voice to climbers who climb in Shenandoah National Park, a new group is forming: the Shenandoah National Park Climbers Alliance (SNPCA). SNPCA is an informal, volunteer, grassroots group that will represent your interests as climbers in the Shenandoah National Park. As you may be aware, Shenandoah National Park includes climbing sites such as Little Stony Man and Old Rag Mountain (one of few granite climbing areas in the mid-Atlantic region). Initially, SNPCA will focus on building a constructive and mutually trustworthy relationship with the staff of the Shenandoah National Park as they prepare a climbing management plan under their Rock Outcrop Management Project. Ultimately, the SNPCA will serve as a channel for input from the climbing community to the Park staff that will be essential to preserving the high quality of climbing that we have come to enjoy in the Shenandoah National Park.

SNPCA is looking for climbers who want to get involved and help ensure that climbing remains accessible at Shenandoah National Park. There's plenty to doplease get involved! For more information on how to get involved, or if you have questions, please contact the SNPCA at snpclimbersalliance@gmail.com or visit www.snpclimbersalliance.blogspot.com Please feel free to pass this along to anyone who might be interested--we want to get the word out to as many people as possible!

Website: www.snpclimbersalliance.blogspot.com
Email : snpclimbersalliance@gmail.com

 



Access Fund National Climbing Management Summit
2/14/2007

On March 10 and 11 the Access Fund will host a National Climbing Management Summit in Golden, CO. This conference will provide a forum for land managers from across the country to discuss and share specific climbing management practices that work.

Increasingly, public land agencies implement varying climbing management policies despite similar or identical mandates and management obligations. There exists a need for better communication and understanding between public land managers and the climbing community to avoid management problems, inconsistent regulatory interpretations and enforcement, and to facilitate buy-in by climbers concerning land manger obligations, needs and programs.

A better understanding of effective climbing management policies and improved communication among land managers and the climbing community will work to keep us all climbing.

If you are a land manager and are interested in attending, please email Access Fund Policy Director Jason Keith at jason@accessfund.org.

 



Arches National Park Update, UT
2/14/2007

By Sam Lightner Jr., Access Fund Board Member, Arches Task Force Coordinator, ASCA South East Utah Representative

In May of 2006 the National Park Service (NPS) placed a moratorium on new fixed anchors in Arches National Park. This moratorium bans pitons (or bolts) on existing aid routes, effectively making many of the established routes in Arches closed to future ascents.

Similarly, any new climbs requiring descent anchors are also now banned. Both Arches and Canyonlands (where fixed anchors are also now currently prohibited) contain a very large number of desert towers and the potential countless new single pitch routes and these new fixed anchor restrictions greatly limited climbing opportunities. However, the NPS plans to start a new climbing management plan governing both Arches and Canyonlands later this year which may address some of the current climbing restrictions.

After the May 2006 Arches fixed anchor ban the Access Fund immediately stepped in to try and alleviate the situation by improving relations with the South East Utah Group. Through meetings with park officials it became clear that the new climbing restrictions in Arches resulted from public outcry about the controversial climb of Delicate Arch last May which forced land managers to make a rule that was not good for climbers.

A group of local Moab climbers, working with the Access Fund and the American Safe Climbing Association, has begun to work with the NPS to try and give climbers a better image by cleaning up anchors and removing old webbing from towers and other visible routes within Arches.

Park administrators have so far been receptive and the improving relationship will hopefully help the Access Fund negotiate an end to the anchor moratorium and eventually produce a new climbing policy that accommodates climbers. In the meantime, it is important that climbers not add anchors to existing or new routes, forgo the use of chalk, and follow trails, washes, and slick rock when approaching climbs.

For more information contact Access Fund Policy Director Jason Keith at jason@accessfund.org.

 



Chimney Rock purchased by Hickory Nut Gorge State Park, NC
2/14/2007

By Brad McLeod, Access Fund Board Member

On January 30, 2007, The State of North Carolina announced plans to officially buy Chimney Rock (996 acre parcel) for $24 million. Sean Cobourn, past President of the Carolina Climbers Coalition stated "The CCC has been lobbying for this and today the dream came true. CRP will now be included in the new Hickory Nut Gorge State Park. Don't pull out your rack yet, but keep your fingers crossed that we can negotiate access to this gem."

The purchase of the Chimney Rock parcel adds to the expanding 2,264 acres of Hickory Nut Gorge State Park which includes Rumbling Bald known for its fantastic crack climbing and a hillside strewn with hundreds of boulders.

The Carolina Climbers Coalition has worked hard over the past years to work out the details of purchasing the Rumbling Bald tract from private landowners and transferring this land to the newly formed State Park.

Sean Barb, current President of the CCC explained "This is obviously a really, really big deal for more than just the climbing community. Fortunately for climbers, North Carolina State Parks are skilled at balancing the provision of recreation with natural resource protection. Lets all look forward to working within the State Park's planning processes which will ensure that future generations will have a wonderful park to enjoy."

Chimney Rock sits on the opposite side of the rugged gorge overlooking Lake Lure and is punctuated by a 400 ft. waterfall and stunning 300 ft. chimney.

 



Improve the Future of Climbing at Hueco Tanks ACT NOW!
2/14/2007

Texas State Parks are in a vulnerable position resulting from inadequate and declining state funding over the last decade. These parks include Hueco Tanks, Enchanted Rock and McKinney Falls, all of which contain climbing or bouldering. As a result of this funding decline, coupled with ever-increasing costs, the state parks current budget shortfall has lead to lay-offs, partial closings and curtailment of park programs, especially for youth. When the budget for Texas climbing parks suffers your climbing future is at risk.

Your help is needed to secure adequate funding for climbing parks in Texas.

There are currently two bills up for approval this session in the Texas Legislature, HB 6 and SB 252, which if passed would remove a cap on the allocation of sporting goods taxes towards Texas state and local parks (also including Reimers Ranch). These bills could result in a much-needed increase in funding to Texas State Parks and enable the restoration of park programs, hiring of additional staff, and new and improved park facilities that would benefit climbers and other recreational users. In short, the approval of HB 6 and SB 252 could result in a long-term investment in Texas climbing parks.

Also in the works is a proposal by Texas state legislators and agency commissioners to transfer more than 20 state park properties in Texas from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) over to the Texas Historical Commission (THC). THC insists that Hueco Tanks is no longer targeted for transfer though it was initially. Heuco is certainly a desirable asset as the premiere archaeological resource in the state and we must assure that it stays off the THCs list for transfer. With THCs mission centered on the preservation of archeological and cultural landmarks in Texas, climbing access at Hueco could change under THC management.

The Access Fund is taking action to support the approval of HB 6 and SB 252 and oppose the transfer of state parks, including Hueco Tanks, from TPWD to THC.

The Access Fund is taking the following actions: 1. An Austin-based lobbying campaign that aligns Texas climbers with other interest groups dedicated to preserving the financial security of Texas state parks and Hueco in particular. This work will also involve direct lobbying to the Texas governors office, and talking with numerous relevant Texas legislators and public land agency officials.

2. Working with Hueco locals and mobilizing a local grassroots organization targeting El Paso-area climbers, other Texas constituents, and out-of-state climbers that frequent Hueco who all share an interest in preserving recreational access at Hueco. This effort includes immediate letter writing to Austin-based policy makers and rallying Hueco climbers at the 2007 Rock Rodeo.

Now is the time to invest in the future of climbing at Hueco Tanks. If you are a Texas state resident contact your state legislator and urge them to:
(1) improve funding for state and local parks (2) oppose the transfer of recreation-based parks to the Texas Historical Commission.

Visit www.accessfund.org/pdf/Hueco_Talking_Points_2_9_07.pdf to read talking points and find information on who your state representative is in Texas.

If you are a non-Texan who has visited and enjoy the climbing opportunities at Hueco Tanks, check the next ENEWS (sign up here if you dont already receive it) to fill out an economic impact survey and show your local influence.

If you want to ensure future climbing and bouldering access to Hueco Tanks and other climbing parks in Texas, now is the time to speak up.

Stay tuned to the Access Fund ENEWS for updates to this issue.

For more information about Hueco visit: http://accessfund.org/pubs/en/e-news22.htmland a href="http://www.huecorockranch.com

Contact the Access Fund for more information: jason@accessfund.org

 



Legislators Propose Electronic Signaling Devices for Mountaineers, OR
2/14/2007

Following hi-drama rescue efforts this winter on Oregons Mt. Hood, electronic signaling devices (ESDs) have been touted by the media as key to saving lives.

Responding to these recent events, the Oregon governor recently issued an executive order (www.governor.oregon.gov/Gov/docs/executive_orders/eo0701.pdf) establishing a Search and Rescue Task Force to review Oregon laws, rules and policies pertaining to search and rescue operations and to recommend contemporary best practices for search and rescue operations. Now, a new bill in the Oregon state legislature (HB 2509) would require the use of ESDs by any individual or group engaging in mountain climbing above timberline during a five-month period in the winter. The proposed law would also require commercial guides, under certain conditions, to carry an altimeter, contour map and a compass. For more details see www.leg.state.or.us/07reg/measures/hb2500.dir/hb2509.intro.html.

Public criticism of HB 2509 was swift. Many point out that most ESDs will not serve as effective rescue tools and could cause the inexperienced to rely on them inappropriately (for example, use these one-way devices as avalanche beacons). Moreover, people carrying cell phones and ESDs may take more risk than normal, thinking that they can easily summon help. Alternatively, mountaineers who do not carry an ESD, yet know of the new legal requirement, may hesitate to ask for help for fear of penalty, thus further endangering themselves and rescuers. In short, the unintended but very real consequence of this proposed law will be more risks by mountaineers and lost time by rescuers.

Opponents of this bill also complain that the requirements to carry additional equipment are applied in a discriminatory fashion to mountaineers only (it doesnt apply to hikers, skiers, or, snowmobilers) despite surveys of rescue efforts that show that these other recreational user groups generate more search and rescue hours. Moreover, it is generally easier to locate people above tree line and much more difficult to locate people in the forest where ESDs devices would not be required under the proposed law.

The Access Fund believes that outdoor enthusiasts should take responsibility for their own safety and responsibly use appropriate rescue equipment. However, the state should not require the use of ESDs as these devices can create a false sense of security that rescue is available. Also, penalties for failing to carry an ESD may create a disincentive to contacting rescuers, thus further endangering everyone involved. To comment on HB 2509 (whether you live in Oregon or not) email the Oregon legislature at: www.leg.state.or.us. For more information contact Access Fund Policy Director Jason Keith at jason@accessfund.org.

 



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