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Closure of Queen Creek / Oak Flat AZ climbing areas.
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curt


Jan 19, 2004, 7:22 PM
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Closure of Queen Creek / Oak Flat AZ climbing areas.
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Here is what I know for sure, at this point:

Kennecott Copper has been drilling assay holes in the Oak Flat area for the past several years. Kennecott does factually own the mineral rights to the land on which the Oak Flat campground is built as well as the land around the campground where all the associated climbing and bouldering exist. Kennecott has discovered an extremely rich deposit of copper ore under Oak Flat, approximately 5,000 to 6,000 feet below the surface.

Copper is currently at $1.08 per pound, making this recently discovered deposit attractive to mine. Although open-pit mining is impractical because of the depth of the deposit, underground mining is feasible. Even at this depth, there is substantial concern of ground subsidence due to the mining activities below. Therefore, for liability reasons, rumor has it that Kennecott would like to prohibit any public access to the areas above where they will be mining. This will involve closing the Oak Flat campground (and supposedly relocating it five miles to the east) and also banning access to climbers and boulderers in this area.

When I asked the National Forest Service about this rumor, the NFS confirmed to me that there have been "informal discussions" that could impact future access to this area. That's all they were willing to say, until a formal proposal is put forth regarding the situation.

Anyway, I think now is the time for interested parties to let the NFS know that climbers have a huge vested interest in the Queen Creek / Oak Flats area and that this area represents an irreplaceable resource to the climbing community in general.

The Tonto National Forest has its headquarters in Phoenix, AZ and can be reached at (602) 255-5200. They also have a website at:

www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto/indexy.html

Curt


alpnclmbr1


Jan 19, 2004, 8:15 PM
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Re: Closure of Queen Creek / Oak Flats AZ climbing areas. [In reply to]
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Is the Access Fund in on this yet? Jim Waugh et al?
I would think that with all the people that have climbed there over the years, you would get a fairly large public response. Perhaps by forming an organization specifically dedicated to preserving Queen Creek and Oak Flats.

With the current regulatory environment, it is going to take a lot of noise to stop something like this.


roughster


Jan 19, 2004, 8:17 PM
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Re: Closure of Queen Creek / Oak Flats AZ climbing areas. [In reply to]
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Wow, this is really bad news :(


curt


Jan 19, 2004, 8:23 PM
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Re: Closure of Queen Creek / Oak Flats AZ climbing areas. [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Is the Access Fund in on this yet? Jim Waugh et al?
I would think that with all the people that have climbed there over the years, you would get a fairly large public response. Perhaps by forming an organization specifically dedicated to preserving Queen Creek and Oak Flats.

With the current regulatory environment, it is going to take a lot of noise to stop something like this.

Dan,

I spoke with Jim Waugh about this last week and have forwarded to him the response I received from the National Forest Service. I have not yet communicated with the Access Fund--but I am planning to do so.

Curt


sonso45


Jan 19, 2004, 9:06 PM
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This is ugly. Isn't the forest service supposed to weigh the greater good in determining use of the land or is it solely responsive to economic factors? M


curt


Jan 19, 2004, 9:25 PM
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Re: Closure of Queen Creek / Oak Flats AZ climbing areas. [In reply to]
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In reply to:
This is ugly. Isn't the forest service supposed to weigh the greater good in determining use of the land or is it solely responsive to economic factors? M

Manny,

Nothing can be done before there is a proper public comment period. But let's face it, the National Forest Service is a branch of the Department of Agriculture--which oversees things to be harvested.

I think the sooner people get on record with their opinions regarding this plan, however, the better our chances will be of stopping, or at least postponing any potential climbing closures at Oak Flat.

Curt


dief


Jan 20, 2004, 7:41 PM
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Re: Closure of Queen Creek / Oak Flats AZ climbing areas. [In reply to]
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I spoke with the forest service today and they said they aren't doing anything until they get an actual request from the mine. We do need to organize now so when they make their request we are prepared. I fought for nearly a decade to get Pinnacle Peak reopened. It may take awhile but there's a good chance we can prevent the loss of this area. The two most important rules when fighting the government - 1) show up, 2) don't leave.

Marty Karabin and I am willing to organize the masses we will need to fight this. If you want to be on the Friends of Queen Creek contact list send me a note. Thanks. Dief


sed


Jan 20, 2004, 9:02 PM
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Re: Closure of Queen Creek / Oak Flats AZ climbing areas. [In reply to]
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Manny you ask such silly questions.
Dief put me on the list, tell me what to bring; cams, paper, sugar, sand, welding torches, grilled cheese sandwiches, wrenches, whatever.
Scott :lol:


climbsomething


Jan 20, 2004, 9:15 PM
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:shock:

BUMP


lemmon_squeezer


Jan 20, 2004, 9:24 PM
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Awful, Awful news. Everyone needs to get active, write letters make phone calls whatever. Keep Queen Creek open for all future generations to enjoy!


kalcario


Jan 20, 2004, 9:27 PM
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Re: Closure of Queen Creek / Oak Flats AZ climbing areas. [In reply to]
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How deliciously ironic...right wing climber gets his crag taken away by the Bu$h Admin. Hey Curt, better hope there's a Dem Congressman to cry to...

aaaahahahahahahah


curt


Jan 20, 2004, 9:36 PM
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In reply to:
How deliciously ironic...right wing climber gets his crag taken away by the Bu$h Admin. Hey Curt, better hope there's a Dem Congressman to cry to...

aaaahahahahahahah

Hey Asshole,

Better pitch in. Much of the climbing at Queen Creek is your preferred weenie sport variety.

Curt


kalcario


Jan 20, 2004, 9:42 PM
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Re: Closure of Queen Creek / Oak Flats AZ climbing areas. [In reply to]
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*Hey Asshole,

Better pitch in. Much of the climbing at Queen Creek is your preferred weenie sport variety. *

aaaaahahahahahahaha this is too good...


climbsomething


Jan 20, 2004, 9:43 PM
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Hmm, I'd throw in another bump, but Joe and Curt can handle this one for a bit ;)


lemmon_squeezer


Jan 20, 2004, 9:46 PM
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come on guys, we are in the same boat here. can we lose our differences and try to keep this crag open? If queen creek is closed we all lose. Not just sport climbers, not just TRAD climbers, not dems, and not just republicans...EVERYBODY


offwidthclimber


Jan 20, 2004, 10:28 PM
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...not to mention all the BOULDERING!

dief, i pm'ed you with my info. keep me in the loop and let me know what i can do to help.

and those comments about the USFS "weighing the common good..."

you'd think that's the case, but in reality it's fucking laugable.

just look at the NPS and Yosemite for a great example of government land management gone wrong. remove half the scrutiny and you've got the same situation in USFS lands, generally with less notice.

it sucks when you have to sue an agency to do it's job properly.


sonso45


Jan 21, 2004, 7:21 AM
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I tried to send an email to Tonto Natl Forest but there is no link to anyone. I did send a comment to the website about the lack of this particular feature. I guess we have to write the old fashioned way. M


traddad


Jan 21, 2004, 7:28 AM
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bump


climbsomething


Jan 21, 2004, 9:11 AM
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BUMP


sundevil


Jan 21, 2004, 9:25 AM
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Curt,
I will call you to get some guidance on the language I should use when writing and calling the Forest Service. This would be a real bummer. I love the Queen Creek area and losing the Oak Flat campground would pretty much suck. :(
Thanks for bringing this to everybody's attention.
Geoff


curt


Jan 21, 2004, 9:58 AM
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In reply to:
I tried to send an email to Tonto Natl Forest but there is no link to anyone. I did send a comment to the website about the lack of this particular feature. I guess we have to write the old fashioned way. M
Actually there is an e-mail address on the tonto National Forest website. click on "contact us" and you will see the following address given for e-mail:

dmcguigan@fs.fed.us

Here is a copy of the letter I sent to that address:

In reply to:
Dear D. McGuigan,

I have recently become aware of a rumor that the Oak Flat campground, just east of Superior Arizona, may be permanently closed or relocated to allow new mining activity in that general area to commence. As a rock climber and frequent recreational user of that area, I would be very disturbed to find that this rumor has any basis in fact. As the Forest Service should be aware, the Oak Flat area represents a unique and irreplaceable resource to rock climbers and boulderers who travel from around the world to climb there. Additionally the Phoenix Bouldering Contest, the largest and most successful contest of its kind in the world, has been held at Oak Flat for many years now.

I am unable to find anything on the Tonto National Forest website related
to this action--on the "scheduled proposed actions" page or elsewhere.
Please let me know what information is available on this topic, and if I need to file a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain this information. Please feel free to call me if you think a brief conversation is an easier way to convey this information to me. Thanks in advance for your assistance.

Best regards,

Curt Shannon


bernard


Jan 21, 2004, 10:01 AM
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"Live by the sword,
Die by the sword"


climbsomething


Jan 21, 2004, 10:01 AM
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In reply to:
Please let me know what information is available on this topic, and if I need to file a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain this information.
Sweet. Know yer rights!


stick233


Jan 21, 2004, 10:02 AM
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uhhh, thanks for the reply on the letter curt, i had just asked and you got there too quick...

let's do it people. QCC is the home crag of a lot of you, and a second home to many more...


curt


Jan 21, 2004, 10:03 AM
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And, here is the reply that I received from the NFS, in response to my letter above:
In reply to:
Mr. Shannon,

Thanks for your enquiry regarding the status of Oak Flat campground.

You are correct in that the Tonto National Forest is in discussions
concerning a request that may have an impact on Oak Flat campground.
However, to date these discussions have been entirely informal - a proposal
has not yet been made. Forest staff are keenly aware of the unique
climbing/bouldering activities that are available in that area, and I
assure you that these considerations will be taken into account when and if
a proposal is submitted.

As with any project undertaken on your public lands, there will be a
concerted effort to collect and respond to public input should this
proposal take shape. I know this all may sound a little vague, but we
probably average about 10 of these informal discussions for every proposal
that is submitted.

I will keep your name and contact information on file here at the forest,
and should a formal proposal be submitted I'd be happy to contact you with
the details. Feel free to call or e-mail me if you have any more questions.

Thanks,

Vincent Picard
Tonto National Forest
Deputy Public Affairs Officer
Work: 602.225.5390
Fax: 602.225.5302

Curt

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