Arches National Park climbing management plan up for public comment
In 2006 one of the world’s best rock climbers, Dean Potter, visited Arches National Park and climbed to the top of Delicate Arch. His action created a controversy that rippled out through Utah’s climbing community. The National Park Service took swift action to clamp down on rock climbing rules and to rethink their policy that no climbing is allowed on named arches, period. Fast forward to 2011, and Arches National Park will release their new Climbing and Canyoneering Management Plan.
According to park officials, the plan will, “determine what impacts climbing, canyoneering, and associated activities, commercial and noncommercial, have on the park, and to consider how the NPS should further manage or limit those activities.”
The NPS says thay have identified issues that include “effects on natural and cultural resources, increase in use levels, the development of new routes, use of fixed hardware, designation of climbing/canyoneering routes, development of approach trails, visual impacts and the effects of climbing/canyoneering on visitor safety and experiences.”
Right now Arches National Park has drafted four different plans to be considered. Each alternative has differing effects on rock climbing inside the park boundaries. These range from no changes in the current policy to a policy that would revolve around regular official monitoring of climbing in the park to a set of specific regulations “to protect park resources and to control climbing and canyoneering activities. It will seek to mitigate climbing and canyoneering-related impacts to the resources by restricting specific climbing and canyoneering activities equally throughout the park.”
In order to come up with the best plan possible, Arches National Park will seek public comment from people who have an interest in or concerns about rock climbing inside Arches National Park. Through the NEPA process, you can voice your concerns to the NPS until March 13 before officials finalize their Environmental Assessment.
To read the full document and to comment on what you think Arches National Park should do to restrict rock climbing, go to the Planning, Environment and Public Comment page. There you will find a PDF of the document as well as a link where your can submit your ideas.
For more information, you can also reach the Planning and Compliance Coordinator at 435-719-2135.
If you’re a rock climber who frequents Arches National Park, be sure to take advantage of process and let your voice be heard by the decision makers.