07/21/2022

Access Fund Visits White House to Represent Climbers’ Interests

Interagency Council Reestablished to Understand and Promote America’s Recreation Opportunities

BOULDER, COLO. — Today, Access Fund and other outdoor advocates and organizations traveled to the White House for a celebration and roundtable discussion around the revival of the Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation (FICOR). Access Fund’s inclusion in this ceremony is yet another indication of the importance of climbing to America’s portfolio of outstanding recreation opportunities on public lands.

“Protecting America’s climbing and conserving public lands go hand in hand, and the revival of this council is an exciting opportunity to work with the president and federal land agencies to promote our vision for sustainable climbing,” says Access Fund Executive Director Chris Winter. “Access Fund will be there every step of the way to support the council’s work to make outdoor places more equitable and inclusive, to protect climbing on public lands, and to combat climate change and conserve public lands for future generations."

Access Fund Executive Director Chris Winter shows off his member shirt outside of the White House. Ancestral land of the Nacotchtank (Anacostan) and Piscataway. © Access Fund.

FICOR members include representatives from the White House, Department of the Interior, Department of Commerce, Department of Agriculture, and the Army Corps of Engineers. They are charged with researching the benefits of outdoor recreation for communities around the country and recommending policy best practices.

“Bringing together federal agencies to advance outdoor recreation is both a common sense decision and a powerful opportunity to promote effective, sustainable climbing management and celebrate America’s rich climbing history,” says Access Fund Vice President of Policy & Government Affairs Erik Murdock. “At the same time, climbers need Congress to protect America’s climbing by passing the bipartisan America’s Outdoor Recreation Act during this congressional session.”

In addition to permanently authorizing and funding FICOR, the America’s Outdoor Recreation Act would also provide the first-ever national protections for Wilderness climbing on U.S. Forest Service land. About 30% of America’s climbing areas are in national forests, and many of our world-class climbing areas are in Wilderness areas. Passing this bill would be a major win for climbers and federal land managers, who are currently on their own when it comes to developing policy for managing some of America’s most diverse and unique climbing destinations.

“Preserving access to climbing areas on federal lands shouldn’t be a game of whack-a-mole,” Winter says. “We’re thrilled the Biden administration deeply values and promotes climbing on federal public lands, and we look forward to working with them to protect America’s climbing history and Wilderness climbing opportunities for the next generation.”