The Latest in the Fight for Public Lands: July 2018

Every month, Erik Murdock, Access Fund's Policy Director, sends out the latest policy news for climbers. Here's what you need to know this month:

Update on legal fight to protect Bears Ears

In December of 2017,Access Fund took a stand to protect Bears Ears National Monument and the Antiquities Act, a cornerstone conservation law that is used by presidents to establish national monuments. The fight for Bears Ears will be a long one, measured in years, not months. Here are the latest updates.

Williamson Rock could open soon after 13 year closure

Williamson Rock, Southern California’s premier summer sport climbing destination, was closed by court order in 2005 to protect the endangered Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog (MYLF). For 13 years, Access Fund and local climbing advocates have been advocating for an environmental analysis that would evaluate climbing management strategies that could allow climbing access while protecting the MYLF and raptors. Angeles National Forest is finally moving forward and has released a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) that proposes several options for re-opening Williamson Rock to climbing. Stay tuned for an action alert that will provide an easy way for climbers to submit comments.

Upcoming policy change means private industry will no longer be required to offset their damages to public lands

The Trump administration is planning to end a policy that currently requires oil drillers, miners, and land developers to pay the government for damages that it inflicts on recreation, cultural resources, and wildlife on public lands. This federal “compensatory mitigation” policy helped protect climbing areas, and all public lands, from industrial impacts because it mandated a fair process where private companies paid to clean up or offset environmental impacts. The integrity of climbing areas will likely suffer because compensatory mitigation is now voluntary.

Department of Interior officials ignored critical information during the national monument review that led to Bears Ears reduction

The Department of Interior accidently released documents thatindicate that senior Interior Department officials dismissed evidence that national monuments boosted tourism and spurred archaeological discoveries. These reports expose a systematic disregard for both public comments and evidence that established national monuments protect resources and benefit local economies.

Williamson Rock photo courtesy of Troy Mayr

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Credit Photo Courtesy of:
Abbi Hearne

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Latest News on the Fight for Public Lands

Update on the Legal Fight to Protect Bears Ears
Castle Crags Secured Within Shasta-Trinity National Forest
New Bill Affects San Rafael Swell CLimbing
The Latest in the Fight for Public Lands: May 2018
A Win for Washington Climbers
Climbers Move the Needle on Capitol Hill
Southern California's Big Rock Re-Opened to Climbing
The Latest in the Fight for Public Lands: April 2018
Access Fund Partners with NPS on Climbing Management Training
NPS Backs Off Exorbitant Entrance Fee Increases
The Latest in the Fight for Public Lands: March 2018
The Latest in the Fight for Public Lands: February 2018
New Oil and Gas Leasing Policies Are a Major Setback for Climbers
Access Fund Will Sue to Protect Bears Ears National Monument
National Park Service Proposes Hefty Increases to Entrance Fees
New Bill Seeks to Dismantle Antiquities Act
BREAKING: New Information Increases Threat to Bears Ears
The DOI's Order to Streamline NEPA Reviews Will be Bad for Climbing
White House Remains Silent on Monument Review
Latest Threats to Public Lands are Subtle But Dangerous
Zinke's Recommendation to Reduce Bears Ears National Monument Goes Against the Will of Most Americans