So far the local admin folks in the Tonto National Forest have held to the precedent set in the Manning Directive of 1998 from the US Department of Agriculture, which greatly limits fixed anchors in a designated wilderness without a negotiated climbing management plan.
If someone wants a copy of that directive written at the time by Deputy Director Gloria Manning, please email or pm me and I'll figure how to get the .pdf I have into your hands.
Please remember that locally some land managers have in fact banned climbing, e.g., the Maricopa County Parks at the Santans and the White Tanks. Scottsdale has instituted climbing managements plans in its parks and preserves that are basically "no new bolts in new locations." We need to move carefully and respectfully.
Indeed, it appears that local land managers have a fair amount of discretion to ban activities they deem inconsistent with their mission and resources and the folks overseeing the Superstition Wilderness have remained fairly strict on what they consider consistent with their mission and therefore appropriate land uses.
I was curious because it seems like there can be a reasonable and sustainable way to achieve a management plan that's beneficial for all parties. I'll shoot you a message. Is anyone else interested on working on developing a proposal and climbing management plan for the area?
In this month's Climbing Magazine I read that by this summer a NPS climbing management plan will be released. They go on to say the Forest Service may use it as well.
Kevin, I wasn't logical in my comments. Neither are the Supes management. We approached them a few years ago about replacing worn anchors and they denied us. I mentioned the bolted bench at the base of one of the most popular towers in the Supes, The Hand. I asked why it was ok to bolt a bench at the base of the rock we want to work on. Their answer: they're studying what to do about it.
It is the manager's personal decision, as Erik pointed out, to not allow any bolting in the Supes. Other wilderness areas do allow it as long as it is by hand.