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Access Fund's e-Vertical Times #26 (December)
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Jan 2, 2003, 7:10 AM
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Access Fund's e-Vertical Times #26 (December)
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Virtual Times #26
December 2002

The Access Fund
your climbing future

The Access Fund is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to keeping
climbing areas open and to conserving the climbing environment.


1. Year End Note from Heather Clark, development director
2. Forest Service Extends Its Comment Period For Cave Rock Closure
3. Mount Rainier National Park, WA
Mountaineering Cost Recovery Fee Increase Proposed
(From NPS website)
4. Climbing Magazine Featured Partner
5. Vertical Times Newsletter offered as PDF

1. Year End Note from Heather Clark, development director
This year brought about new initiatives and tremendous achievements for the
Access Fund on behalf of the American climbing community. In August, Steve
Matous became the new executive director. We added eight new members of the
board, Dave Rosenstein became the new president and four new volunteers were
added to our national Action Network of Regional Coordinators. We hired a
lobbying firm in Washington, DC to enhance our work on recreation fees and
funding, natural resource-recreation conflicts, and fixed anchors in
Wilderness. Our network of support is comprised of 10,600 individual members,
86 Corporate Partners, and over 200 Community Partners.

The Access Fund remains the nation’s largest and most effective climbers’
advocacy organization and continues to be the leading voice for climbers in the
political arena. We are at the forefront in our work on fixed anchors in
Wilderness and efforts to limit the unfair and arbitrary application of
recreation fees for climbers. We negotiated with land managers in Leavenworth,
WA and the New River Gorge, WV to limit arbitrary raptor closures. We worked
with cultural resource consultants to find positive solutions to protect
archaeological and historical values at the Red River Gorge (KY), Hueco Tanks
(TX), Cave Rock (NV), Happy Boulders (CA), Castle Rock Ranch (ID), and other
climbing areas. We met with the BLM in Monticello, Utah to discuss interim
management strategies and developed an informative and educational brochure for
the Indian Creek area. The AF is currently in negotiations with the Navajo
Nation regarding opening up limited portions of Monument Valley Tribal Park to
permitted climbing.

The AF maintains positive relationships and partners with local climbing
organizations (LCOs) in our effort to restore or preserve access to climbing.
The AF relies on the commitment and support from LCOs and our Action Network to
accomplish extensive work across the country.

Agency officials look to the AF to be the foremost authority on climbing
management and planning. The AF is currently negotiating memorandums of
understanding with the major federal land agencies that would increase the
degree of cooperation and consultation. To that end, we provided expertise in
the drafting of management plans in Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Tennessee,
California and Colorado in 2002.

Our Climbing Preservation Grants program awarded nearly $116,000 in 2002
including our largest ever grant of $20,000 to the Castleton Tower Preservation
Initiative in Utah. The AF remains committed to the conservation of the
climbing environment. We support grassroots projects that invigorate and
educate the climbing community and build effective frameworks for local

This year, the AF provided money or support to land acquisitions in Castleton
Tower, UT, Boat Rock, GA, Parley’s Canyon, UT and Quartz Mountain, OK. These
acquisitions ensure that climbing will remain in perpetuity for generations to

The AF organized its third annual Adopt-a-Crag Day with 86 conservation and
stewardship events in 34 states. Climbers all across the country are united
each fall to protect and give back to the climbing resources we cherish.

As we enter 2003, the AF is poised to accomplish goals and surmount challenges
on your behalf. YOU are the reason we exist and why the AF remains dedicated to
our mission to preserve America’s diverse climbing resources. Each membership
dollar goes to support on the ground. We can’t do it without you. In 2003 --
tell a friend…tell two, about the effectiveness of the Access Fund in
preserving America’s diverse climbing resources. We are your organization. YOUR

To view our complete 2002 activity report, please visit

2. Forest Service Extends Its Comment Period For Cave Rock Closure
Since 1995 the Access Fund has been working with the Forest Service at Lake
Tahoe to develop a compromise that balances the interests of all users of Cave
Rock. Last June when the Forest Service indicated it would close Cave Rock to
climbing, the Access Fund aggressively stepped up its activism in Washington,
DC to lobby for a more progressive and balanced management approach. In
December, Jason Keith, Access Fund Policy Director, traveled to Washington and
met with Congressional offices from the Nevada delegation the House
Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health. It seems this work is beginning to
pay off.

In early December, Senator Ensign (R-NV) called USDA Under Secretary for
Natural Resources and Environment Mark Rey and the USFS Pacific Southwest
Regional Forester Jack Blackwell requesting additional time for the public to
comment on the Cave Rock Plan. Senator Ensign also asked the Forest Service why
it had taken such a radical change in its management approach from balanced
multiple use to exclusive single use. Other Congressional offices have offered
their assistance as well.

While this comment period extension is a small step towards convincing the
Forest Service to reconsider its ill-advised climbing closure, there's much
work still to be done. First, check out the Cave Rock Management Direction
Environmental Impact Statement at The summary
section provides a good overview. Next, write the Forest Service and tell them
(in your own words) that selecting Alternative 2 and allowing for a voluntary
closure at Cave Rock is the best way to balance recreational and Native
American interests. Some talking points:

Alternative 2 would allow public access, including rock climbing, on the
National Forest at Cave Rock. However, climbing would be managed to decrease
the current level of use by reducing the number of climbing routes. Thus, under
Alternative 2, most existing routes will remain accessible, however no new
routes or bolt installation would be permitted. Maintenance of existing routes
by climbers would be conducted only with prior permission from the Forest

Alternative 6, on the other hand, would prohibit rock climbing yet allow
continued access to all other user groups and is thus patently unfair.
Moreover, Alternative 6 raises serious Constitutional questions because it
seeks to exclude otherwise legitimate users public lands to accommodate the
religious interests of one group. Furthermore, Alternative 6 employs a novel
and unprecedented interpretation of the National Historic Preservation Act that
could impact public land across the country by similarly excluding recreation
use in favor of religious preference.

Write John Maher, archaeologist for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management
Unit, at:

Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
Attn: Cave Rock
870 Emerald Bay Road, Suite 1
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

For more effect, copy the following USDA offices:

Jack Blackwell
Pacific Southwest Regional Forester
USDA Forest Service
1323 Club Drive
Vallejo, Calif. 94592

Mark Rey
Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment
U.S. Department of Agriculture
14th & Independence Ave. SW
Washington, D.C. 20250

3. Mount Rainier National Park, WA
Mountaineering Cost Recovery Fee Increase Proposed
(From NPS website)
An analysis of the current mountaineering program at Mount Rainier National
Park and a new plan for operation of the program is now available for public
comment. The analysis considers varying levels of service based on public
expectation, protecting the upper mountain resource, and public and employee
safety. It allows park managers to determine priorities and needs as they
protect park values and provides for quality visitor experiences.

The document, titled "Analysis of the Mount Rainier Climbing Program" is now
available for public comment. It details specific operational and
administrative information about the climbing program at Mount Rainier National
Park. Safety, education, program administration, and human waste management as
well as cost recovery fees, ranger functions and public expectations are all
covered. Superintendent Dave Uberuaga noted that, "Climbers visiting Mount
Rainier have come to expect quality visitor services and the preservation of
this unique mountaineering resource. To keep pace with current trends, provide
enhanced visitor services and protect the mountain for future use and
enjoyment, it will be necessary to raise the special use fee to the preferred
alternative of $30." This document presents, and analyzes four alternatives for
managing the mountaineering program at Mount Rainier National Park.

The analysis document can be found at:
Limited copies can also be obtained by calling 360/569-2211 ext. 2301. Comments
can be sent to: The National Park Service will
accept comments on the analysis and proposed cost increase through January 22,
2003. Written comments regarding the proposed changes to the Mountaineering
Program can be sent to the attention of Chief Ranger Jill Hawk at:
Mount Rainier National Park, Star Route, Tahoma Woods, WA 98304.

4. Climbing Magazine Featured Partner
When eckto-plasma ghosts and ghouls invaded New York City, who did Americans
call upon to save the day? The Ghostbusters. When money-hungry developers and
strong-arming bureaucrats try and broom climbers from cragging areas, who do
climbers call? The Access Fund.

Climbing Magazine is proud to sponsor the Access Fund in its fight to preserve
and protect the interests of climbers across the nation. From Joshua Tree,
California, to Rumney, New Hampshire, no other organization has done more to
ensure continued climbers' rights than the Access Fund. If you're not a member,
join now. If you are a member, make sure every climber you know joins as well.

We are taking our commitment to the next level with an exclusive offer to
fellow members. We'll donate $10 on behalf of every member who pays for a
two-year subscription to Climbing and $5 for every paid one-year subscription.
Link to the special Access Fund offer at

Jonathan Thesenga
Climbing Magazine Editor

5. Vertical Times Newsletter offered as PDF
The Vertical Times newsletter, the Access Fund's bimonthly publication,
provides up-to-date news on policy, area reports, events, action alerts,
grants, and more. It is a benefit to members and non-members alike (if you are
not a member, please join at Indeed it is a
benefit to the entire climbing community. By offering this unique publication
electronically, the Access Fund will decrease printing and mailing costs and
allocate more funds to protect YOUR CLIMBING FUTURE. If you choose to take part
in this effort, and cease shipment of the Vertical Times to your home, please
email your name/address to with "Remove Vertical Times" as
the subject.

Presently, over 200 members have requested not to receive their print copy of
Vertical Times (a savings to the Access Fund of $600 per year to be utilized in

To view back issues of Vertical Times, visit

1. The Access Fund office in Boulder is the only source of outgoing messages to
the lists.
2. The AF will not sell or give away email addresses of V-Times subscribers.
3. V-Times is an announcement-only e-mail list; therefore, you cannot reply to
any of the list members.
4. All e-mail addresses will remain confidential with every mail sent.

[ This Message was edited by: rrradam on 2003-01-02 07:10 ]


Jan 2, 2003, 8:15 AM
Post #2 of 2 (1306 views)

Registered: Aug 13, 2002
Posts: 2450

Access Fund's e-Vertical Times #26 (December) [In reply to]
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Thanks for the update Adam.

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