Climbing and Cultural Resources

The Access Fund advocates for land management policies that support climbing access and conservation on public lands. We support the protection of cultural resources and Native American heritage, and recognize that public land managers must balance recreational access with resource protection which sometimes may include restrictions to protect cultural resource values.

The Access Fund supports management decisions based on a thorough understanding of public use patterns and their effects on known and identifiable cultural resources. The use of baseline data and public involvement (with due regard to the protection of confidential tribal information) is critical to making informed management decisions that protect these resources and allow public access.

Best management practices are well established regarding climbing access and cultural resource protection. The Access Fund supports protective measures that minimize access restrictions, including posting appropriate educational information about the resource, constructing physical barriers to protect specific locations, and limiting climbing within an appropriate buffer around a cultural resource site.

Regarding sacred sites that may not contain discrete cultural resources, the Access Fund supports clear management policies that accommodate ceremonial use of Native American sacred sites and avoid adverse affects to the physical integrity of such sites. The Access Fund opposes landscape-scale closures for sacred site protection based solely on religious preferences where specific cultural resources are not present or may be protected by other means. The Access Fund supports voluntary limits on climbing on or around designated sacred sites in conjunction with public educational efforts concerning the sensitivities of these locations.