The Access Fund has been working since 1989 with all of the federal wilderness management agencies to resolve the issue of how fixed anchors should be managed. We also have negotiated directly with the environmental community to achieve broad support for a national policy which allows, but limits, the use of fixed anchors in wilderness. We believe:
- Some level of fixed anchor use must be allowed wherever climbing is allowed, and that the appropriate level of use should be established on an area-by-area basis. Surveys of the climbing community show that the vast majority of climbers support this position.
- Climbers, not the government, should bear the responsibility for determining when to place safety anchors and how to use these tools.
- The government has authority under the Wilderness Act to permit fixed anchors in wilderness, and this use should be permitted as climbing is one of the unique recreation opportunities wilderness is intended to provide. The continued use of fixed anchors, if properly managed, will not degrade wilderness resources and values.
- Fixed anchors are a significant tool for resource management: they can be strategically placed to minimize climbing impacts to fragile soils, vegetation, and wildlife in wilderness areas. This function is sacrificed if any use of fixed anchors is prohibited.
- The Access Fund supports the ban on power drills in wilderness, and actively promotes the concept that bolts are a "tool of last resort."
US House of Representatives Supporting Policy for NPS Management of Fixed Anchors in Wilderness - 12/3/03