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ONE DAY LEFT to write a letter and affect the future of climbing
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By cochiseclimbing
Feb 19, 2014

At the last SACC meeting the Forest Service's Use Plan was presented and attendees wrote letters requesting changes to the plan. The plan has some very specific wording that affects climbing by portraying climbers as a negative user group, but also opens the door to possible future permitting systems for outdoor recreation.

We need to write letters to the Forest Service requesting changes to these policies. The Access Fund has a link to be able to write a letter online. This letter will take you less then 10 minutes and there are talking points available to help you write your letter. Feb 20th is the last day for public input. Please act now!

Action Center - Access Fund
www.accessfund.org
Coronado National Forest, home to Mt. Lemmon, Cochise Stronghold, Milagrosa Canyon, The Dry, The Mustang and many other southern Arizona climbing spots. www.accessfund.org


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By Derrick W
From Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 19, 2014

affect...


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By Medic741
From Pittsford, New York
Feb 19, 2014
When I was a bum at Frey

Bump


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By Joe Kreidel
From Tucson, AZ
Feb 19, 2014

Sent a letter. Looks like the deadline was extended until March 6th, so get on it!


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By Tony @ AZClimbersZone.com
From AZ
Feb 19, 2014

Just browsing through the draft document:

www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5439740.pdf

They mention this which they should probably be applauded for:

Page 75/83

"Dispersed recreation activities on the Coronado National Forest include scenic driving, hiking, bird watching, rock climbing,
horseback riding, mountain biking, camping, and hunting, among
others. Visitors use off-highway vehicles responsibly, staying on designated routes and in identified camping areas. Forestwide dispersed recreation sites are small and clean, and resource
damage is minimal. Activities such as paintballing, geocaching, and rock climbing do not detract from the natural character of the forest; do not impact resources such as aesthetics, soils, vegetation, and wildlife; or contribute to user conflicts."

They also mention this:

"Rock climbing should be managed to balance demand for the activity and the need to protect plants, animals, and other natural resources."

HOWEVER, it should probably be noted that the management of rock climbing should be done with a dialog with relevant climber access groups and local climbers (i.e. Access Fund, SACC) rather than as a top down directive with no public input.

Just a few thoughts, letter sent! :)
Tony


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By Ari Kantola
From Raleigh, NC
Feb 19, 2014
Yiihawww

Letter sent.

More outside letters will make an impact.

F the man


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By Scott M. McNamara
From Tucson, Arizona
Feb 20, 2014
One Way Sunset

"Activities such as paintballing, geocaching, and rock climbing do not detract from the natural character of the forest; do not impact resources such as aesthetics, soils, vegetation, and wildlife; or contribute to user conflicts."

Tony, when I first read the Draft Plan I thought it meant what you infer, i.e. the activities do not impact resourses.

But this particular statement is somewhat misleading, unless read in context.

I believe what it means is that these activities (paintballing, geocaching, and rock climbing) should be managed and not allowed to impact resources.


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By Red
From Arizona
Feb 20, 2014
Cobra Kai

Ari Kantola wrote:
Letter sent. More outside letters will make an impact. F the man

echo


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By CJC
Feb 20, 2014

That's correct Scott. Those are DESIRED CONDITIONS) not a observation or opinion.

Have to read these documents carefully.


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By cochiseclimbing
Feb 20, 2014

The wording of the document is tricky to read but they have a "Desired Conditions" section which is the goal and then the "Guidelines and Management Approaches" to obtain those goals.

Pg. 75-76
Desired Conditions:
Their GOAL is to enforce a plan so that "Activities such as paintballing, geocaching, and rock climbing do not detract from the natural character of the forest; do not impact resources such as aesthetics, soils, vegetation, and wildlife; or contribute to user conflicts."

How will they do this? "Special use permits augment the variety of suitable outdoor recreation experiences…." The same section follows up by saying this will result in "Dispersed recreation activities…rock climbing..".

The guidelines for achievement include:
"Rock climbing should be managed to balance demand for the activity and the need to protect plants, animals, and other resources." This statement singles out rock climbing as the activity that needs to be managed but not not repeat or comment on other activities such as ATV access, horseback riding, hunting, caving, etc.

Management approaches Pg. 77 again singles out rock climbing:
"Considering the use of permit and reservation systems to preserve the integrity of the Coronado's natural resources and to reduce visitor conflicts where recreation impacts cannot otherwise be managed. Examples include activities in wilderness areas, popular rock climbing locations, and dispersed activities with the potential for resource damage or visor conflict."

In many, "Desired Conditions" section of the proposal rock climbing is singled out as a user group that needs to be managed as to "not cause resource damage and abide by restrictions…". Why are climbers being singled out?

One of the goals in this letter writing campaign is to ask the Forest Service to remove this biased language that singles out climbers throughout this plan as a user group that needs to be controlled.

On a positive note, they do state that rock climbing can be compatible with some goals. It is beneficial to reinforce that the Forest Service "engage climbing organizations in cliff management activities, such as seasonal closures and education" Pg. 56.


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By Robbie Mackley
From Tucson, AZ
Feb 20, 2014
Me and Holden at the "Matterhorn"

Letter sent.


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By Tony @ AZClimbersZone.com
From AZ
Feb 23, 2014

Scott M. McNamara wrote:
"Activities such as paintballing, geocaching, and rock climbing do not detract from the natural character of the forest; do not impact resources such as aesthetics, soils, vegetation, and wildlife; or contribute to user conflicts." Tony, when I first read the Draft Plan I thought it meant what you infer, i.e. the activities do not impact resourses. But this particular statement is somewhat misleading, unless read in context. I believe what it means is that these activities (paintballing, geocaching, and rock climbing) should be managed and not allowed to impact resources.


I was teetering on that but somehow landed on the more optimistic side. If that's the case then that structure is dumb at best and a bit deceiving at worst lol. Regardless, hopefully they stick to the mantra of engaging climber groups as CC noted. :)


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By cochiseclimbing
Feb 25, 2014

The Access Fund has only received about 50 letters from climbers regarding the Forest Service Plan. Just wanted to let people know what a permit system really means.

Have you ever tried to go climbing in the High Sierra? They have a permit system there that I am familiar with. Let me explain how it could work here if they implemented the same type of permit system.

They might allow 15 people to get permits to go to Munchkinland a day. That means you need go to the Forest Service office and apply. There may be a fee . Picture this senerio when you get there, all of the permits are taken for next Saturday, they may have been claimed months in advance. You have the option of the two "walk in spots", so next Friday after work you rush to the office and get those "walk in spots". Someone was just there before you and got the two "walk in spots". Now you have to pick another spot to climb. How about the Druid? You call your friends to let them know that you can get 5 spots at the Druid but 6 are in your party. One in your party decides to stay home because of this. You get to the Druid the next morning and there is no one else there. Whoever had the other 5 permits didn't show up so your friend could have come.

Does this sound like fun? This can be how it is climbing in the High Sierra is in the summer. Always trying to find the last place that still has permits left because all of the busy trail heads are booked months in advance by hikers. This is how a permit system changes your weekend of climbing. Does Tucson need this or is our climbing community be self regulating?

Something to think about …..

Please consider these antidotal points and I urge you to write your own letter to the Forest Service about this. The Access Fund has set up a letter writing action alert to make it easy. The date has been extended to March 6th so there is still time.


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By Scott M. McNamara
From Tucson, Arizona
Feb 25, 2014
One Way Sunset

Hi All,

Sometimes, I find it is hard to sit down and write a letter.

Hence, I thought it might be helpful if I provided a copy of mine—to give you ideas.

You are welcome to copy, plagiarize, bowdlerize and/or adapt it to your own circumstances and opinions.
________________________________________
__

Dear Sir or Madam:

I write as a rock climber.

I live in Tucson. I rock climb in the Coronado about once a week. I have done so since 1977. As you may know, climbing has been a traditional, historical use since at least the 1950s.

I am grateful for the Coronado. I am grateful for all your good work.

My interest in the Draft Plan is how it may impact climbers.

Among other things, my hope is that new, young climbers can continue to have the wonderful experiences I have had. In my view, climbing teaches valuable life lessons.

I do not know if you are aware of it or not but nation wide recreational users are down—but this sad fact is not true as to climbers. We are the one user group rapidly growing. Frankly, I believe that young, new climbers will inherit the future of environmentalism.

I hope to make this fact known to you. I hope to make it known that we are a surprisingly large user group in the Coronado.

I think we are respectful, good stewards. I think our futures are linked. I think our interests are closely allied.

Accordingly, I urge you to:

1.) consider climbing as a legitimate and appropriate recreational use;

2.) engage the climbing community to collaborate on cliff management projects, seasonal raptor/bighorn closures, and education; and,

3.) in lieu of regulation, consider using Southern Arizona Climbing Coalition (SACC) as an ombudsman when climbers create problems.

I think this far better than the Forest creating a permit and reservation systems as described on page 78 of the Draft Plan. Frankly, there is no data to suggest permits or reservations would be appropriate and climbing should not be singled out given our history of mostly benign use and stewardship.

Thank you for considering my letter.

Best Wishes,

Scott M. McNamara
Attorney at Law
P.O. Box #2046
Tucson, AZ 85702-2046


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By Joe Kreidel
From Tucson, AZ
Feb 26, 2014

I'm starting to think the Access Fund should start a scholarship program to help young, intelligent climbers to law school. 10 years down the road, every major climbing area could have its own Scott McNamara, which would be truly helpful.

Thanks for always chiming in on these threads Scott, you always help bring clarity to these issues. Hope to meet you out on the rock one of these days...


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By Woodchuck ATC
Feb 26, 2014
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

today is the 26th,,I'm guessing the 'one day left' is gone by now?


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By JackWeaver
From Tucson, AZ
Feb 26, 2014

Woodchuck ATC wrote:
today is the 26th,,I'm guessing the 'one day left' is gone by now?


I saw a couple people mention that the deadline for sending a letter was extended to the 6th. So, I think you've got time. I just sent one. Hope it's not too late.


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By Robbie Mackley
From Tucson, AZ
Feb 26, 2014
Me and Holden at the "Matterhorn"

+1 Jack


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By Robbie Mackley
From Tucson, AZ
Mar 1, 2014
Me and Holden at the "Matterhorn"

Bump for all the people suddenly so concerned with what happens in AZ.


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