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Forest Srvc Schedules Fixed Anchor Rule
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trevor
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Dec 20, 1999, 5:05 PM
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Forest Srvc Schedules Fixed Anchor Rule
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Access Fund Action Alert --Please forward to all interested parties.
Boulder, CO (Nov. 5, 1999)
Forest Service schedules fixed anchor rulemaking
Your comments needed by November 29

On October 29 the US Forest Service announced its intent to develop a new rule pertaining to climbing and climbers' use of fixed anchors in national forest Wilderness areas. Your written comments must be postmarked no later than November 29, 1999!

You have repeatedly told us that no issue is more important than this one. That's why the Access Fund has lobbied intensively for the past ten years for a clear national policy on the fixed anchors question. We have carefully analyzed the notice of proposed rulemaking, and while we support this action generally we have serious concerns about the Forest Service's commitment to a fair and balanced process and to supporting any outcome other than the agency's entrenched position.

Here's what you can do to help: write a letter - NOW - to the Forest Service, using the points included below. It will take only a few minutes of your time, and it will contribute significantly to our efforts to establish a rational, broadly-acceptable policy for climbing in Wilderness areas.

In a Negotiated Rulemaking, a committee of representatives of vested interest groups helps the agency to set policy and write any necessary regulations. Unfortunately, several aspects of the proposed rulemaking suggest that the Forest Service wants the process to fail.

The Forest Service's position is still that all use of any type of fixed anchor is completely prohibited by the 1964 Wilderness Act. How can the agency negotiate in good faith if it will not declare publicly that its position on this issue is flexible?

In addition, it appears the Forest Service is trying to stack the deck on the Negotiated Rulemaking committee against any use of fixed anchors. The agency has proposed a committee of representatives of established organizationsÅ  and ONE anti-fixed anchor extremist who does not represent any group.

If the Negotiated Rulemaking committee does not reach unanimous agreement, the agency is not required to base its policy on the committee's recommendations. Even a single "Nay" vote among the committee members kills a compromise.

Organizations proposed for appointment to the rulemaking committee include the Access Fund, American Mountain Guides Association, American Alpine Club, Wilderness Society, Sierra Club, National Parks & Conservation Association, Wilderness Watch, Wild Wilderness, the Outdoor Recreation Coalition of America, and REI. This committee will meet three times in the coming months to develop a policy regarding fixed anchors.

These groups have diverse opinions on fixed anchor use in Wilderness, but all have a legitimate stake in this issue. Their inclusion on the committee makes sense. The appointment of an individual, Steve Wolper, makes no sense. Wolper, a self-professed climber, does not represent any constituency, and has publicly claimed that climbers never need to place bolts or leave any kind of fixed anchor.

The Access Fund does not believe it is mere coincidence that the sole, unaffiliated individual recommended for appointment to the rulemaking committee happens to be an advocate for the Forest Service's position.

Finally, the Forest Service has thus far refused to recommend the American Safe Climbing Association for appointment to the Negotiated Rulemaking committee. The ASCA has a "clearly definable stake" in the issue and its mission is not encompassed by the Access Fund, the AAC, or the AMGA. The ASCA's sole purpose is to replace old/unsafe fixed anchors, particularly bolts, in climbing areas throughout the country. The ASCA has replaced thousands of belay, rappel, and lead anchors on classic routes in areas such as Yosemite, Indian Creek, and Zion.

Take Action!
Your letter to the Forest Service should include the following points: *The American Safe Climbing Association must be appointed to the rulemaking committee.
*Steve Wolper, or any other individual who does not represent an organized constituency with a "clearly definable stake" in the issue, must not be appointed to the rulemaking committee.

*The Forest Service shouldn't waste our tax dollars on a sham process, but must enter into the rulemaking with an open mind and a committee that has a real chance of reaching agreement.

Here's what's at stake: your opportunity to climb hundreds of North America's most classic routes, from Mt. Whitney to Pingora, from Granite Mountain to the Sawtooths, from Tahquitz Rock in California to Linville Gorge in North Carolina.

Hundreds more equally important climbing resources - including El Capitan, Baboquivari Peak, the Tetons, Zion, and Joshua Tree -- which are not in national forests could be affected by the Forest Service rulemaking.

The opportunity to place, use, and replace fixed anchors is essential for climbers. Most Wilderness climbs require few, if any, fixed anchors, and this standard should be preserved. But it should not be a criminal act to leave rappel anchors on a Wilderness climb due to a medical emergency, bad weather, or other factors.

Your written comments should be postmarked no later than November 29,1999. Address them to:

Director, Recreation, Heritage and Wilderness Resources Staff; Mail Stop 1125; Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; P.O.Box 96090; Washington, DC 20090-6090. Comments may also be faxed to 202 205-1145 or sent by e-mail to anchors/wo@fs.fed.us.

The Negotiated Rulemaking is our best chance to settle the fixed anchors issue outside of the courts. Please help us in this critical fight. For more information, contact senior policy analyst Sam Davidson at 831-770-1523 or via e-mail sam@accessfund.org.

Sally Moser, Executive Director
Access Fund
PO Box 17010
Boulder, CO 80308
303.545.6772 Ext. 7
303.545.6774 Fax
http://www.accessfund.org


shockabuku


Oct 18, 2008, 9:45 PM
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Re: [trevor] Forest Srvc Schedules Fixed Anchor Rule [In reply to]
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Really bored. Oldest (that I could reply to) post that I could find.


Lazlo


Oct 18, 2008, 9:51 PM
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Re: [shockabuku] Forest Srvc Schedules Fixed Anchor Rule [In reply to]
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shockabuku wrote:
Really bored. Oldest (that I could reply to) post that I could find.

Me too...but I found the newest. Small world.


shockabuku


Oct 18, 2008, 9:55 PM
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Registered: May 20, 2006
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Re: [Lazlo] Forest Srvc Schedules Fixed Anchor Rule [In reply to]
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Lazlo wrote:
shockabuku wrote:
Really bored. Oldest (that I could reply to) post that I could find.

Me too...but I found the newest. Small world.

The circle is closed. Our work here is done.


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