Upcoming Changes for Little Rock City, TN
Brad McLeod, Southeastern Climbers Coalition
Below are the current parameters for upcoming changes to visitation at LRC (The Stone Fort)-All changes will be in place beginning October 1 2006. These changes are being made by the landowner with the long-term goal of maintaining access for climbers.
1. Implement a $5 per climber parking fee using an online payment system in conjunction with the current system of registration. To clarify, ALL climbers visiting the boulderfield will be required to pay $5 for each visit to the property.
The number of daily visitors will also be increased to 40.
2. Yearly group/school user fee per institution will be applied. Current schools using LRC as a site for outdoor programs include McCallie, Baylor, and GPS. These institutions will NOT be required to register for visitation during the week (Monday thru Friday). Therefore, these groups will not affect the number of passes during weekdays. However, all participating school programs will be required to register individual climbers during the weekends.
The Triple Crown Bouldering Series will be charged for it's use of the boulderfield as well.
**In regard to all groups and individual climbers, everyone will be required to sign a liability waiver.
3. All climbers will "check-in" at the clubhouse before entering the boulderfield. A Montlake employee will verify each climber by the daily registration page on the SCC (www.seclimbers.org) website. In addition to monitoring visitation to the property, this will also offer a way to educate new climbers to the appropriate visitation procedure.
4. A Montlake employee dedicated to an 8 am to 5:30 pm day will be on duty in the fall.
In addition, the SCC will select 10 representatives from the climbing community. These ten representatives will be required to perform several duties at LRC during each of their visits, and will help maintain and monitor climber visitation to the boulderfield. If you are interested in information regarding one of these positions, please see the SCC message board seclimbers.org/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=340
5. The name of LRC will be changed to The Stone Fort per the owner's request
6. A yearly pass for climbers who frequently visit the property will be available for purchase beginning October 1 2006. The price for the pass will be $150. Yearly pass holders will still be required to register each day. A yearly pass does not guarantee visitation on high volume days. Once the system has received 40 registrants on a given day, the pass system will close for that particular day-it will still be first come, first served each day for everyone.
Climbers that purchase a year pass will still be required to register for each visit to the boulderfield-all other rules apply to year pass holders as well.
In the meantime, please support Montlake with these upcoming changes; they have certainly supported us.
U.S. Forest Service in Oregon Attempts to Criminalize Fixed Anchors
The Access Fund received news from Medford, OR that the US Attorneys Office contacted a local defense attorney indicating that a citation will be dismissed that charged a climber with illegal bolting (see story below).
This particular citation was dismissed because there appears to be no legal restrictions on the using anchor bolts on the Winema Forest. For the last several weeks the Access Fund and local Oregon climbing community had rallied behind this issue, urging both national and local USFS officials to drop this charge and follow management policies more consistent with national guidelines that allow the use and placement of fixed anchors on National Forest System land.
Law enforcement officers with the Fremont-Winema National Forest in southeast Oregon have made new and unique interpretations of US Forest Service (USFS) policy and regulations in an effort to criminalize the use and placement of fixed anchors. Citations have been issued to climbers who put up routes with fixed anchors on National Forest land with no special management designation such as wilderness.
This is an ominous development for climbers and if not stopped, could lead to severe restrictions on developing new routes and new areas on federally-managed land elsewhere.
In the first case, climbers were charged under 16 USC 551 for failure to remove personal property to wit: rock climbing gear at the Sprague River Picnic Area near Bly, Oregon. The gear that was not removed consisted of bolts and top anchorssafety equipment that is intended to remain permanently in place. The climbers were also issued a written warning that they had violated 36 CFR 261.10(a): rock climbing gear placed and maintained on National Forest when such activity requires a special use permit.
In the second case, a climber was issued two citations under 36 CFR 261.10(a): building or maintaining trails without a special use permit. The climber had put up climbing routes that used fixed anchors for protection, replaced old, poorly located bolts used primarily for top-roping, and had improved a badly-eroding access trail at the Williamson Cliffs near Klamath Falls, Oregon. In these citations, the USFS law enforcement officer claimed that putting up a climbing route was the same thing as constructing a hiking trail, which requires a special issue permit. In both these cases the citations are without merit and the Access fund is supporting local Oregon climbers with their legal defense efforts.
Forest Service policy does not require that a climber obtain a special use permit to go rock climbing, whether climbing established routes or developing new ones. Nor has the USFS previously equated fixed anchors (bolts, pitons, etc.) with abandoned personal property (e.g. junker cars, hazardous materials). In both cases, the climbing occurred on USFS land that was not under a special management designation, such as Wilderness, proposed wilderness, traditional cultural property, or Research Natural Area. Climbing was not prohibited in either area at the time the climbers were cited, and both areas have long been used for climbing, particularly the Williamson Cliffs.
A trial date of August 31st has been set for one of the cited climbers. The climber has hired an attorney, and Access Fund Policy Director Jason Keith will testify as an expert witness for the defense explaining why the interpretations made by the USFS law enforcement officers are unprecedented, in opposition to established policy, and therefore unlawful.
This trial will be very important in determining whether the USFS, and likely other federal land agencies, will recognize the legitimacy of using fixed anchors when climbing on federal land.
$1,000 Fee to Climb Denali, AK?
Earlier this year word spread that Denali National Park and Preserve was considering increasing its fees to climb Denali and Foraker from $200 to as much as $1,000. The Access Fund and American Alpine Club have been lobbying National Park Service (NPS) officials and congressional representatives regarding this dramatic and unprecedented special use permit requirement.
Much of the parks justification for the increase is that the mountaineering program already costs the NPS far more than budgeted and that climbers incur more costs than other user groupseven before any rescue expenses are added into the equation.
These points are debatable and the Access Fund feels that such a fee increase is not proportionate with NPS policy governing special uses because mountaineering is specifically written into the purpose for the park and climbers already pay an elevated fee to cover their costs.
The cost of the mountaineering program reflects NPSs administration of the park, not the actual needs of mountaineers. Such an increase will create an affluence based restriction for people who will no longer be able to financially afford climbing Denali and Foraker. See www.accessfund.org/pdf/AFdenali.pdf for the AFs past comments on Denali management issues.
In May, Access Fund Policy Director lobbied agency officials and congressional oversight committees in Washington, DC, expressing concern that climbers were being unfairly targeted with the Denali fees and that there were some potential options to reduce the costs of the mountaineering program such as downsizing the administrative camps on Denali and phasing in more self-reliance among climbers.
The American Alpine Club has also been very proactive in terms of identifying options to reduce costs that at the same time ensure the NPS complies with its mandate. Both organizations will work together moving forward to alert climbers when this fee increase is publicly announced and advocate for the interests of Alaska mountaineers.
Access Fund Organizes Idaho Climbers to Reopen Twin Sisters at the City of Rocks, ID
In late June the Access Fund organized climber meetings across Idaho in Pocatello, Ketchum, and Boise to raise climber awareness, and meet with congressional representatives and park managers regarding the on-going climbing closure on the City of Rocks historic Twin Sisters formation. For background, see www.accessfund.org/display/page/AA/35
The Access Fund urges climbers to take three separate actions that could help reopen the Twin Sisters:
Write congress now and push for an amendment to the Twin Sisters climbing ban (consult www.congress.org to find contact information for your congressional reps).
Submit comments to City of Rocks (CIRO) when the draft climbing management plan (CMP) is released in early Fall 2006.
Submit comments in 07 or 08 when the NPS finally analyzes the Twin Sisters closure in their comprehensive management plan.
National Park Service (NPS) planners will release a draft CIRO CMP at some point in late August or September we will cue you to write comments at that time. CIROs comprehensive plan is a ways out still, but that will be a crucial time for submitting your comments regarding the climbing ban on the Twin Sisters.
Email Kristo Torgersen at email@example.com to get on our mailing list for this issue or keep your eyes peeled for future Access Fund Action Alerts. Additional background info can be found at www.accessfund.org/display/page/AA/35 and www.accessfund.org/pdf/AFciro.pdf
EZ Crack Boulder in GA Now Secure
The EZ crack boulder is now secure after the house and land was purchased by a local climber.
The boulder is especially significant as it is the largest boulder in the entire ridgeline and has been closed to climbing for 20 years. Boat Rock is located in southwest Atlanta and is under constant threat from development to turn the surrounding areas into residential subdivision.
The land and EZ crack boulder will be surveyed and donated to The Southeastern Climbers Coalition Land Trust to become a part of the Boat Rock Preserve. The Boat Rock Preserve is now a community park and greenspace that is owned by The Southeastern Climbers Coalition and open to everyone.
Local climbers known collectively as "The Friends of Boat Rock" have worked steadily behind the scenes over the past few weeks to purchase the house and land before it was bought by anyone who may not be climber friendly.
The boulder has been off limits for the past twenty years as climbers were routinely shooed away from the area. Prior to 1986 the 30 foot tall boulder with numerous hand and finger cracks was led and top roped by many climbers and was featured in the original "Float the Boat" bouldering competition in 1985.
Please do not climb on the EZ crack boulder as there are still details that need to be worked out with the new purchase. The SCC will post info on the opening of the boulder in the near future. Please be patient as we finish out the details of this transaction.
The purchase of the EZ crack boulder is part of the long range plan to create a larger park (approximately 25 plus acres) spanning the forested ridgeline. Donations are gladly accepted to help pay down the current mortgage on the 7.8 acre tract within the Boat Rock Preserve.
You can send donations to:
275 Stone Mill Trail NE
Atlanta, GA 30328
Note: The SCC would like to thank all of it's many supporters including the Access Fund for providing seed money to get the original Boat Rock project off the ground.
Partnership Provides Climbing Access, CO
Eldorado Canyon State Park and the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks are partnering to provide climbing access to Cadillac Crag and Peanuts Wall, as well as reduce environmental impacts on their lands.
The popular rock climbing cliffs are adjacent to Eldorado Canyon State Park and are owned by the City of Boulder. Many climbers challenge their skills on these golden lichen-covered walls every year, resulting in numerous, braided, social trails leading up to the cliffs. Eldorado Canyon State Park leased these two climbing areas from the City of Boulder and the two agencies will work together to plan, raise money, provide volunteer opportunities, and construct sustainable access to these climbs.
Climbing groups Action Committee for Eldorado and Flatiron Climbing Council were instrumental in working out the agreement and will help with constructing the access trails. The installation of fixed climbing hardware on these cliffs will be managed under Eldorado Canyon State Parks fixed hardware review process. Under the lease, Eldorado Canyon will enforce all state laws, including the regulation that dogs must be leashed and under control at all times. For more information on this partnership, contact Eldorado Canyon State Park at (303) 494-3943 or the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks at (303) 441-3440.
Torrent Falls, KY Faces New Threat
After weathering a threatened closure earlier this spring due to problems with climber behavior, the popular Torrent Falls crag in Red River Gorge faces a new threat from the proposed sale of the property.
At the beginning of August, Mark Meyer the owner of Torrent Falls announced his intention to put the property on the market on September 1st, 2006. There is no guarantee that the next owner will be climber friendly. In fact the previous owner who developed the bed and breakfast on the property had closed the climbing area during their tenure.
The Torrent Falls crag has 47 routes ranging in difficulty from 5.6 to 5.13. It is a popular sport climbing destination due to its ease of access and the quality of the climbing including the five star Porter Jarrard routes Centerfire (5.11c), Bare Metal Teen (5.12a), Steelworker (5.12c), Racer X (5.12d) and Dave Humes rarely repeated five star route Paranoia (5.13b).
The entire property for sale amounts to 42 acres and, in addition to the crag, bed and breakfast, and cabins, includes the only true European Via Ferratta in the United States. The asking price for the property is $900,000. For details of the existing commercial operations being conducted on the property please visit: www.torrentfalls.com/
The RRGCC and the Access Fund are interested in seeing that the property is transferred to a climbing friendly owner. If you or someone you know would be interested in pursuing this opportunity, please call and leave a message on Bill Strachans voice mail at 1-888-804-1439 and he will return your call with contact information for Mark Meyer.
Devil's Lake State Park
Recent cutbacks in the state budget have diminished DLSP resources and the park staff has welcomed volunteer efforts from WOA. We have helped with the garlic mustard eradication project the invasive species continues to threaten native flora of the park. Local climbers have been helping to halt its progress this year in addition to establishing a long term partnership with DLSP naturalists to prevent its future spread. We are currently in contact with park staff to organize more such volunteer projects to help out with trail and facility maintenance at our favorite crag.
Negotiations Under Way for New Bouldering Area, Rosendale, NY. Climbers Advise to Comply with No Trespassing Request. On June 6th, following several months of private discussions with Rosendale town officials, the Gunks Climbers' Coalition made its first public presentation to the town board to explore permitting legal access to the Water Works bouldering area. The parcel, discovered by boulderers last year, exists on Rosendale Water District property, where a no trespassing ordinance exists. The site is significant enough that growing publicity and usage of the area had attracted complaints by neighbors, warranting an access strategy developed by boulderers with the Access Fund and the GCC beginning in February; climbers immediately agreed to cease all climbing activity at the site. While the initial presentation generated its share of discussion and concerns from board members- liability and trespassing being the chief concerns - the board was interested enough to advise that the GCC present to the town's Water District board, which the GCC did on Monday, June 27th. Negotiations between the GCC, the Rosendale town officials and the water department are continuing and are expected to continue at least until this Fall or the end of the year. Until some sort of agreement is in place climbers are advised to respect the no trespassing ordinance that has been in effect, and avoid going to this area. For more information g