The Latest in the Fight for Public Lands: May 2018

05/25/2018

Every month, Erik Murdock, Access Fund's Policy Director, sends out the latest policy news for climbers. To sign up for our Policy Digest, click here.

Here's what you need to know in the realm of climbing policy this month:

Climbers move the needle on Capitol Hill

Climbers from across the country made a strong showing on Capitol Hill earlier this month during the 2018 Climb the Hill event. Hosted by Access Fund and the American Alpine Club, the event gathered over 60 professional climbers, outdoor industry leaders, and climbing advocates to participate in 62 meetings with Congressional representatives and federal land administrators. Read more.

Climb the Hill 2018Photo: © Stephen Gosling

We're working on legislation to protect San Rafael Swell

Most of the San Rafael Swell climbing area in Utah is slated for Wilderness designation, and we are concerned about uncertainty regarding fixed anchor legitimacy and maintenance. We're currently working with Utah Congressman John Curtis and Senator Orrin Hatch to improve their Emery County public lands bill, strengthening recreation and conservation provisions in order to ensure that the incredible climbing at San Rafael Swell is protected and maintained in the future. In fact, Congressman Curtis went climbing with Access Fund policy staff on Memorial Day weekend to discuss the best ways to protect climbing areas. Stay tuned for updates.

Photo: © Keenan Harvey

Secretary Zinke announces "grand pivot" to conservation

Earlier this month, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke met with nearly 30 conservation groups, including some of his staunchest critics, to announce his renewed interest in conservation and garner support for his Department of Interior reorganization plans. Zinke stated that he is done reducing national monuments (unless the president orders otherwise) and is shifting his focus from energy dominance to conservation and DOI reorganization. Despite the optimistic message to the American public, the "grand pivot" is the subject of much cynicism. That said, we are hopeful the secretary is sincere, and we look forward to working with DOI on more positive initiatives.

An Access Fund member works alongside a NPS employee during the annual (Not) Work Week in the New River Gorge. Photo: © Jared Musgrave

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