Southern California’s Williamson Rock On the Path to Reopening

Williamson Rock was Southern California’s premier summer sport climbing destination until it was closed in 2005 to protect the endangered Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog (MYLF).

In 2005, Little Rock Creek and areas surrounding Williamson Rock were designated as critical habitat for the MYLF, which triggered a one-year Forest Service closure of the Williamson Rock area. Lawsuits brought by conservation organizations have extended the closure.

For 13 years, Access Fund and local climbing advocates have advocated for an environmental analysis that would evaluate climbing management strategies that would allow climbing access while protecting the MYLF. However, budget restrictions and bureaucratic roadblocks have prevented the study from moving forward—until now! (See a full history of Access Fund’s efforts to re-open Williamson Rock here.)

Angeles National Forest is now moving forward and has released a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) that proposes several options for re-opening Williamson Rock to climbing while protecting critical habitat for the MYLF. The DEIS was released July 26, 2018 for a 45 day public comment period. The Forest Service will also hold two public meetings, offering the public an opportunity to learn about the DEIS, ask questions, share concerns, and provide comments on the DEIS.

Access Fund’s policy staff is now conducting a thorough analysis of the DEIS. We will be attending the public meetings and and will coordinate with the local climbing community to ensure that climbers’ voices are represented during this critical planning process. We will be launching an official action alert next week, and we ask that climbers hold off on submitting comments until after the first public meeting when we can formulate that most effective advocacy strategy.

If you are in California, please consider attending one of the public meetings:

Public Meeting Dates and Locations:

August 9, 2018, 7-9pm

ANF Acton Work Center

33708 Crown Valley Road

Acton, CA 93510

August 11, 2018, 1-3 pm

Angeles Training and Conference Center

701 N. Santa Anita Avenue

Arcadia, CA 91006
Photo courtesy of Troy Mayr

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