impacts & benefits of climbing

The Access Fund is committed to developing a quality source of information, research, and peer-reviewed publications related to climbing and its impacts on the environment and economy. These resources play a pivotal role in the education and collaboration of the climbing community and resource managers.

Below is a summary of recent studies and reports conducted by universities, graduate students, and the Access Fund. This summary is a work in progress. If you have any other research documents you would like to share, please let us know. Visit Climbing Management for further resources on climbing management plans, risk management, climbers and raptors, and bouldering management. All rights reserved with publication author(s). Please remember to properly credit all publications and authors for their contribution.

Economic Studies
Climbing and its associated expenditures and activities have a crucial link to our local, regional, and national economy. The economic benefits of climbing span various industries. Climbers often travel long distances by car or plane, require camping or hotel accommodations, food on the go, gear from our local shops, and, of course, the post-climbing refreshment. Commercial guides and outdoor education programs center their businesses near popular climbing destinations and meet a demand for new and learning climbers. The list of local cities and towns benefiting from the economy of climbing is endless. North Conway, NH, New Paltz, NY, Fayetteville, WV, Red River Gorge region, KY, Boulder, CO, Ouray, CO, Pocatello, ID, Flagstaff, AZ, and Bend, OR are just a sampling. Most importantly, these studies can be great resources when working with public entities and the local community to support climbing access and conservation in your area:

Bouldering studies
Bouldering is the fastest growing type of climbing in the country. With this growing interest and large user group, bouldering can lead to considerable environmental impacts if the climbing community and land managers do not collaborate to educate users and steward these areas. While a number of climbers primarily boulder, many climbers of all types and background participate in bouldering to some extent. Therefore, climbers need to address bouldering and its impacts as a broad community to ensure these resources maintain their natural state for generations to come. View Bouldering Management and the Access Fund whitepaper below to learn more.

Raptor Studies
Hundreds of studies and monitoring reports have been published over the last three decades regarding raptor nesting, disturbance, and best management practices for protection. In 2009, a grant was awarded to Dr. Rob Ramey for the research and production of a scientific publication that provides an objective and well-documented peer-reviewed analysis of the literature on human disturbance to nesting raptors. This paper will provide a quantitative and reasoned basis for land managers and climbers to make informed choices on the appropriate scale and timing of recreational closures for cliff nesting raptors. Stay posted for future updates regarding the publication and review Climbing and Raptors for more information.

This summary is a work in progress. Future resources will include topics such as cliff ecology and cultural resource studies.