Access Fund Gathers Land Managers and Climbers in Vegas

Date: 11/2/2010

On October 22 through 24 the Access Fund brought federal land managers and field-level personnel who are involved in recreation policy together to share best practices in climbing management.

Over 80 land managers and climbers from around the United States gathered in Las Vegas, Nevada for the Access Fund hosted National Climbing Management Summit. Federal land managers from the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and US Forest Service outlined their management practices at climbing areas such as Yosemite, Red Rocks, the Black Canyon, Indian Creek, Denali National Park, and White Mountains National Forest. Together with climbers, the group tackled complicated climbing management issues related to cultural resources, fixed anchors, sensitive species, and wilderness designations.

With land management offices starved for resources, both human and financial, the easiest way to deal with management challenges like climbing is often to restrict access or just close the area down. This summit was meant to provide land managers with proven tactics to address common climbing management issues, bring consistency to policy and enforcement, and impose fewer unnecessary climbing restrictions.

“There are a lot of misperceptions out there that are tied to climbing issues,” says Access Fund Policy Director Jason Keith. “With better communication, land managers will be more prepared to understand and meet climbing management challenges and be less reactive. Our hope was to provide them with a network of people to go to for solutions to climbing issues they might be experiencing.”

The group spent a day in the field at Red Rocks, observing climbers. The rest of the conference was spent on presentations and discussions related to climbing techniques, management best practices, and how climbers interact with the surrounding environment.

The Access Fund is working with its agency partners to create an online information center that will provide contact information for planning experts, model management plans, and other planning resources that will assist with solving future climbing policy challenges.