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Breaking News: NPS Releases Historic Policy Authorizing Fixed Anchors in Wilderness

After decades of work, the Access Fund received notice yesterday from National Park Service (NPS) that the agency has issued final national policy authorizing fixed anchors in wilderness. This policyDirector's Order #41affects many of the country's most important climbing areas such as Yosemite, Grand Teton, Zion, Joshua Tree, and Canyonlands National Parks. The NPS included many of the specific provisions Access Fund advocated for during our 20+ years of work on this issue, such as programmatic authorizations (which allow new bolts by zone, not just case-by-case permitting for individual routes/bolts) and interim fixed anchor permitting prior to the establishment of dedicated climbing management plans. We are still analyzing the new policy, but first impressions are that this direction is good for both wilderness climbers and NPS managers. See a copy of the new policy. Stay tuned for more in-depth analysis in the near future.

 

 

Date: 5/15/2013

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Anonymous @ 5/15/2013 10:47:03 AM 
this new policy sounds very promising. thanks and kudos goes out to all those who advocated for climbing and worked with policy makers to make these new changes! it's nice to see years of effort paying off. congrats!
Anonymous @ 5/15/2013 12:29:56 PM 
Nice Work!
Anonymous @ 5/15/2013 2:26:53 PM 
sweet
Anonymous @ 5/15/2013 4:38:24 PM 
Bueno!
Anonymous @ 5/15/2013 5:04:00 PM 
Boo! Untrammeled means just that. I take it you're cool with grazing cows in wilderness as well then?
Anonymous @ 5/15/2013 7:40:09 PM 
Seriously. Some places you should have to build your own anchor.
Anonymous @ 5/15/2013 7:55:45 PM 
Fixed anchors in the rock, yet BASEjumping is not allowed? Just another example of how just our government is...
Anonymous @ 5/16/2013 5:54:05 AM 
I guess the whole concept of Wilderness is lost on climbers.
Anonymous @ 5/16/2013 6:04:58 AM 
not a good sign. Why not build roads up the base of these wilderness climbing areas as well?
Anonymous @ 5/16/2013 7:14:56 AM 
So it begins...the slippery slope of erosion...this is what happens when you select the secretary of interior from an outdoor retail business. This presidential administration is perhaps the most corrupt we've ever had.
Anonymous @ 5/16/2013 8:13:00 AM 
If you have to work to get into wilderness, work to get up a face.
Anonymous @ 5/16/2013 8:30:59 AM 
Teddy Roosevelt once proclaimed American wolves as "beasts of waste and destruction" and ordered their extermination. So too, the weekend warrior, and I order their eradication from otherwise pristine wilderness areas!! Go clip chains at your local gym, dweebs!!
Anonymous @ 5/16/2013 8:56:48 AM 
I can't help but see this as good news. I don't think it is the sign of a slippery slope, or that weekend warriors need to be exterminated like wolves. More people may visit our national parks, but wouldn't that be a good thing? More people to fall in love with the land and advocate to protect it. Fixed anchors generally increase the safety of a route and I can only see that as good news.
Anonymous @ 5/16/2013 9:44:42 AM 
Lame! Its called wilderness for a reason. But way to go REI!
Anonymous @ 5/16/2013 10:23:24 AM 
Somewhat misleading headline? Policy says that fixed anchors should be rare in wilderness and "clean climbing" should be the norm. Pretty clearly directs park managers to avoid and reduce fixed anchors.
Anonymous @ 5/16/2013 11:05:01 AM 
As a climber that frequents the canyon country of utah, it is apparent that without fixed anchors 9 out of 10 climbs would be impossible to climb, simply because the cracks dont go to the top of the buttress. They stop somewhere short on blank rock. Even if they do go to the top, getting down from a multiple mile long buttress of wingate sandstone is a days effort on its own if it is illegal to leave a fixed anchor or two to rappel down. This really opens a lot of nee terrain for climbers to explore.
Anonymous @ 5/16/2013 11:07:36 AM 
The first expansion bolt placed in the US was by DAVID BROWER on shiprock in New Mexico in the 1950s.
Anonymous @ 5/16/2013 12:17:52 PM 
"
As a climber that frequents the canyon country of utah, it is apparent that without fixed anchors 9 out of 10 climbs would be impossible to climb, simply because the cracks dont go to the top of the buttress. They stop somewhere short on blank rock. Even if they do go to the top, getting down from a multiple mile long buttress of wingate sandstone is a days effort on its own if it is illegal to leave a fixed anchor or two to rappel down. This really opens a lot of nee terrain for climbers to explore."

A good walk never hurt anyone. I like climbing, and I like walking to and from my climbs...it keeps the crowds down. The last thing we need is more "development", of any kind, in wilderness areas.
Anonymous @ 5/16/2013 1:58:16 PM 
Directors Order 41 recognizes occasional fixed anchor use, yet clearly states they should be rare and that bolt-intensive climbs are incompatible with Wilderness. I agree.
My 2 cents: Climbers mostly support Wilderness, yet threaten it through overuse, certain technologies (bolts) and perhaps a lack of understanding. Key phrases in the Wilderness Act: “..to assure that an increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization, does not occupy and modify all areas within the United States..” “Lands designated for preservation .. in their natural condition..” “..undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvement..” “..affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable..” “..has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation..”
Learn more about Wilderness and
Anonymous @ 5/16/2013 2:12:10 PM 
Directors Order 41 recognizes occasional fixed anchor use, yet clearly states they should be rare and that bolt-intensive climbs are incompatible with Wilderness. I agree.
My 2 cents: Climbers mostly support Wilderness, yet threaten it through overuse, certain technologies (bolts) and perhaps a lack of understanding. Key phrases in the Wilderness Act: "..to assure that an increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization, does not occupy and modify all areas within the United States..."..Lands designated for preservation - in their natural condition.."..undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvement.. "..affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man's work substantially unnoticeable.. "..has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation.." Learn more about Wilderness and your own views at Wilderness.net
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