Save Oak Flat from Mining!
The future of climbing at Oak Flat is at risk under the proposed Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2013, which would exchange approximately 2,400 acres of public land for 5,300 acres held by a multi-national mining company for the creation of a massive copper mine. This bill is known as HR 687 in the U.S. House of Representatives and S 339 in the U.S. Senate. The public land exchange would destroy the Oak Flat campground and a popular climbing area with hundreds of existing roped climbing routes and thousands of bouldering problems that for years was home of the historic Phoenix Bouldering Contest. Much of the Oak Flat area is protected from mining through an executive order made during the Eisenhower Administration, but now Resolution Copper Mining (RCM) seeks to take possession of the land through an act of Congress.
The bill was introduced into Congress in February 2013 and the House version has already passed out of the Natural Resources Committee, headed for a floor vote as soon as this summer. The Access Fund opposes the bill because compensation for the loss of climbing resources is wholly inadequate, and because there are numerous environmental, cultural, and economic concerns.
The Senate could also consider this bill as early as the fall of 2013, and if this land exchange bill passes, it will be the single largest loss of climbing in history of the United States!