|By Simon Hatfield|
From: Oakland, CA
May 1, 2010
I was climbing the new routes in the NW of the grotto with a few friends today when we were approached by a group of concerned park rangers. Apparently, Bunnymen cuts through one of the world's 3 remaining populations of a critically endangered succulent. After the rangers identified the plant for us it was obvious that it was in fact activity by climbers that has destroyed much of this population. They mentioned that Echo was almost closed years ago in an effort to protect this specific plant. We convinced them that the climbing community is not only passionate about preserving the environment, but respectful towards rules, especially when access was contingent on them.
Please help the park service to preserve this species by not only discontinuing the climbing in the northwest of the grotto, but making sure that other climbers know that the routes in the area run through critical habitat. As continuing to climb this route will likely lead to closure of the whole area, it is better to climb routes that do not promise to cause the extinction of a species.