climbing management

Climbing presents unique management challenges due to its historic associations, the equipment used, the different forms of climbing activity, and the diversity of environments where climbing takes place. Management response to the effects of climbing activity will depend on many factors, including whether the land is public or private, the mission of the agency or field unit, and staffing or budgetary resources. Each natural area is unique, requiring land managers to exercise broad discretion in managing recreational activities.

Development of a Climbing Management Plan
Climbing Management Plans are an effective way for land managers to manage climbing on both public and private lands. A successful Climbing Management Plan:

  • Builds cooperative relationships between climbers and resource managers.
  • Provides management direction that is the minimum necessary to protect resources and is implemented on a graduated scale from indirect measures (e.g. education)
    to direct measures (restrictions).
  • Satisfies statutory requirements and internal agency guidance (where applicable).
  • Provides information about status and contextual importance of resource values, climbing activity and Provides information about contextual use patterns, and effects of climbing activity on identified resource values.
  • Articulates climbing as a recreational experience, and describe the variety of climbing opportunities as values.
  • Identifies management alternatives that address climbing impacts in a manner that is consistent with management approach to other recreation groups.

Climbers’ compliance with management approaches is generally good in areas where management priorities are well publicized and there have been opportunities for public involvement in development of management policy. Poor compliance often arises in situations where there has been limited communication between climbers and resource managers, where management policies show poor understanding of climbing activity and use patterns, or where new restrictions have arisen without the identifi cation of problems through fi eld observation.

Resources for land managers can be found at

For a detailed guidance on developing a Climbing Management Plan, please download:

Climbing Management: A Guide to Climbing Issues and the Development of a Climbing Management Plan