U.S. Forest Service considering rock-climbing management plans

The U.S. Forest Service and National Park System are considering management plans for rock climbing on public lands. - Contributed Photo/U.S. Forest Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service and the Department of the Interior’s National Park Service (NPS) are seeking public input on proposed guidance that would guide agency personnel in managing climbing opportunities on national forests, grasslands and parks.

The public is invited to provide input on both agencies’ guidance through Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024.

Climbing activities (including rock climbing, snow and ice climbing, mountaineering, canyoneering, and caving) are popular in national forests, national parks and across public lands. Fixed climbing equipment, also referred to as fixed anchors, includes bolts or other equipment that is left permanently in place after the climb.

Some fixed anchors may be necessary for safe public use of the resource. The proposed guidance affirms that climbing is an appropriate use of public lands, including in wilderness areas, and should be managed in a manner that helps protect cultural and natural resources. 

The draft guidance reflects input received during NPS- and USFS-held Tribal listening and Tribal consultation sessions for Tribes, Native Hawaiian Organizations and Alaskan Tribes and Organizations.

Following the public comment period, the NPS and USFS will develop and publish final policy and guidance informed by public comments. 

To read the proposed guidance and submit comments, go to https://cara.fs2c.usda.gov/Public/CommentInput?project=ORMS-3524