Protect Climbing Access in the Adirondacks

We need your help to protect climbing access in New York’s Adirondack Park.

Right now, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Adirondack Park Authority are updating the management plans for both the High Peaks Wilderness—which includes climbing at places like Beer Walls, Chapel Pond Slab, and Tilman’s Arete—and Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest—which includes the Ragged Mountain climbing area. There are several proposed amendments to the management plans which offer both opportunities and concerns for climbers, and we need the climbing community to speak up.

First, Access Fund is concerned with proposed management actions that would reduce or eliminate parking opportunities in the vicinity of Chapel Pond. We are also concerned with proposed group size restrictions, and we need your help to encourage the DEC to first employ less severe strategies for managing impacts, such as education and monitoring, and only consider restrictions if these prove ineffective.

However, Access Fund supports the proposed amendment to establish a fixed anchor focus group to address the longstanding, park-wide moratorium on fixed anchor placement and replacement. We support proposed amendments for stabilizing soils along cliff tops and approach trails, as they will help provide long-term sustainable access. We also support the proposed installation of climber kiosks to provide important information and education to visiting climbers. Furthermore, we appreciate the provisions for working with climbing organizations such as the Adirondack Climbers Coalition and Access Fund on issues involving the management of cliff nesting birds to ensure reasonable and effective management of the species that rely on cliff environments.

Please take five minutes to submit a letter to department officials using our easy letter writing tool and voice your opinion about proposed amendments that impact climbing. The deadline for comments is Wednesday, June 27th.

Photo courtesy of Chad LaFlamme