On Monday Jon Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service, signed Director’s Order #41, which has significant implications for how climbers can enjoy recreating in Wilderness areas of the National Park System.
Director’s Order #41 marks the first time a land management agency has given national direction that climbing is a legitimate activity in Wilderness, and that fixed anchors necessary for climbing are also allowed. The order permits for the authorization of new bolts by zone, not just case-by-case permits for individual routes/bolts. Also under the order, interim fixed anchor permits may be granted prior to the establishment of dedicated climbing management plans.
For several decades, the AAC has been involved in the negotiations for this language in collaboration with the Access Fund. This latest action by NPS comes on the heels of the AAC’s April joint advocacy trip with the Access Fund to Washington, D.C. In early April, the AAC and AF policy team spent two days with top NPS officials negotiating the final language of DO#41.
We hope the precedent set by the National Park Service will also be adopted by other agencies including the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.
I wanted to share a brief update on the AAC’s advocacy work in Washington, DC in early April. We teamed up with our friends at the Access Fund to visit key policymakers and advocate on behalf of American climbers. On the congressional side, we met with legislative staff from W. VA, ID, NV, and CO. We also met with top officials of the federal agencies. Overall, it was highly productive at nurturing key relationships and establishing new ones, keeping climbing issues on the radar of influential policymakers and educating policymakers about the sport of climbing and the interests of climbers. We continued to advocate for climbing as a legitimate use of Wilderness and to allow some discrete level of fixed anchors (no power drills of course) in Wilderness. We are hopeful to have the first formalized policy on Wilderness climbing in National Parks later this year.
–Leigh Goldberg—Conservation & Advocacy Director
AAC’s Work as “Community Developer” Acclaimed in Climbing Magazine
The American Alpine Club (AAC) is a proud recipient of a 2013 Golden Piton Award for its service to the climbing community. Named the year’s “Community Developer” in the February 2013 issue of Climbing magazine, the award recognizes several recent triumphs that have benefitted Club members and the community at large.
We’re proud of Hari Mix, AAC member and Live Your Dream Grant recipient. His recent trip to Kyrgyzstan not only fulfilled a longtime aspiration—it also yielded important data for the study of climate change. Hari brought back microbe samples from 23,000′, the highest-altitude collection of its type. To learn more, please read this blog from Outside Magazine or check out this press release from Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC), an AAC partner.
For many years the AAC has awarded grants to the scientific community for studying changes to our mountains (Research Grants and the AAC Nikwax Bellwether Grant). Just recently we started something new, the Live Your Dream Grant. This “everyman” grant provides seed money to climbers of every ability who have compelling ambitions to progress as climbers. This year we awarded Live Your Dream Grants to 41 outstanding climbers, including Hari Mix. The next opportunity to submit an application for a Live Your Dream Grant is January 1. Application information and materials here.
Julie Ellison, from Climbing Magazine, recently wrote a report recapping her experience at the AAC’s 2012 International Climber’s Meet.
“Imagine being in a stunningly beautiful and ultra-classic climbing area at the most perfect time of year, camping in a secluded campground, climbing four-star routes with 50 of the most rad people you’ll ever meet from across the globe, chilling by a fire every night with a cold PBR in hand, and three ridiculously delicious meals a day served piping hot right in front of you. (As one person said insightfully, “the only climbing trip you’ll ever gain weight on.”) Sounds nice, huh? That’s the essence of the American Alpine Club’s International Climbers Meet, an event held every year in Yosemite to foster relations between the AAC and international Alpine Clubs…(Read More)”
You can also find short reports from the event on our blog, Inclined.
The AAC is co-sponsoring a new conservation initiative in Yosemite: The Yosemite Climber Steward Program. The program was started to fuel the efforts of the two climbing rangers currently employed in Yosemite National Park and help them to manage, protect, and defend the park’s climbing resources. You can read a report from one of the stewards, John Connor, on Inclined.
The American Alpine Club is pleased to announce that it has chosen the recipients of the 2012 Cornerstone Conservation Grant. The Cornerstone Grant funds essential infrastructure to reduce climber impacts at the climbing areas we love. Launched in 2011, this new AAC grant aims to protect, restore and sustain local crags around the country. This year, we are thrilled to award $25,000 to seven outstanding projects, from the Pacific Northwest to New England.
Read about the recipients and the projects on Inclined.
The Arizona Section of the American Alpine Club along with Flagstaff Climbing put in an epic day of trail work at Le Petit Verdon (the Pit) outside of Flagstaff, Arizona. Despite the work taking 3 hours longer than planned and despite the rain and hail and drastic shifts in temperature, everyone stuck it out and did some great work with the US Forest Service to help maintain this popular crag. All hats go off to those individuals who gave their Saturday morning to give back to the climbing community. Read the rest on Inclined…
Have You Applied For A Cornerstone Conservation Grant? Deadlines Approaching Quickly! · August 10, 2012
Have you or your local climbing organization applied for our Cornerstone Grant? We award up to $25k a year for crag conservation! The deadline is this coming Wednesday, August 15th! Be sure to get letters of support from your land manager and AAC Section Chair. Read all about the grant, or download the application on the Cornerstone page.