Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
On October 22 through 24 the Access Fund, the national non-profit
advocacy group that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment, brought federal
land managers and field-level personnel who are involved in recreation policy together to share best
practices in climbing management.
Over 80 land managers and climbers from around the United States gathered in Las Vegas, Nevada for
the Access Fund hosted National Climbing Management Summit. Federal land managers from the
Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and US Forest Service outlined their management
practices at climbing areas such as Yosemite, Red Rocks, the Black Canyon, Indian Creek, Denali
National Park, and White Mountains National Forest. Together with climbers, the group tackled
complicated climbing management issues related to cultural resources, fixed anchors, sensitive species,
and wilderness designations.
With land management offices starved for resources, both human and financial, the easiest way to deal
with management challenges like climbing is often to restrict access or just close the area down. This
summit was meant to provide land managers with proven tactics to address common climbing
management issues, bring consistency to policy and enforcement, and impose fewer unnecessary
“There are a lot of misperceptions out there that are tied to climbing issues,” says Access Fund Policy
Director Jason Keith. “With better communication, land managers will be more prepared to understand
and meet climbing management challenges and be less reactive. Our hope was to provide them with a
network of people to go to for solutions to climbing issues they might be experiencing.”
The group spent a day in the field at Red Rocks, observing climbers. The rest of the conference was
spent on presentations and discussions related to climbing techniques, management best practices, and
how climbers interact with the surrounding environment.
The Access Fund is working with its agency partners to create an online information center that will
provide contact information for planning experts, model management plans, and other planning resources
that will assist with solving future climbing policy challenges.
About the Access Fund
Since 1991, the Access Fund has been the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas
open and conserves the climbing environment. The Access Fund supports and represents over 2.3
million climbers nationwide in all forms of climbing: rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, and
bouldering. Five core programs support the mission on national and local levels: climbing management
policy, stewardship and conservation, local support and mobilization, land acquisition and protection, and
education. For more information visit www.accessfund.org.