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wigglestick


Aug 22, 2001, 3:42 PM
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Boldering
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just a warning, some people think it is blasphemous (sp) to enhance the landing areas of bouldering areas. I think that the ruls is something like if one person can move it than it can be removed but otherwise no enhancing is allowed. That is what gyms are for. Although I realize that sometimes landing areas need to be altered to prevent environmental damage that will be caused otherwise.


jds100


Aug 22, 2001, 8:01 PM
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Boldering [In reply to]
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In developing any area for climbing or bouldering, you need to be extremely careful about altering any aspect of the environment, unless it is your own private property, or that of a friends with permission. Do everything you can to find out if there is any kind of organized group which has a relationship with land managers in the area under consideration; check with the staff of any climbing shops, check bulletin boards, ask around. Exhaust every avenue of investigation; then do it again.

If there is such a group, communicate with them completely, thoroughly, and humbly (don't assume that the group will welcome your idea with open arms, and don't assume that they will be arrogant jerks, either). Whatever you do, DO NOT disrupt or put at risk the realtionship that exists or is being developed with the land managers and the "climbing community" as the land managers know it. People/climbers who have taken the time to pursue a good working relationship with land managers (private, state, federal, local) are doing a service to all of us; people who put in that kind of effort are likely NOT being paid, and not working out of self-interest. (If it was self-interest, they wouldn't bother the land managers at all.)

If there is not such group representing climbers' interests to land managers, then you have to contact the land managers yourself, whether it's the owner of the private property, or whatever local, state, or federal manager is responsible for the area. Assuming that you can just proceed to alter an area -even "just" bringing in wood chips to soften a landing area, or just "cleaning" the boulders and/or the ground around it- could be illegal, or harmful to the flora and fauna. Whatever you change, can basically not be put back. Sure, plants probably grown back, but maybe not; animals can go elsewhere, but maybe not. And if you create a bad impression of climbers in general in the minds of the land managers, that's something that could truly be irreversible.

Be prepared to walk away, and learn from the experience.


broganadams
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Aug 23, 2001, 11:55 AM
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Boldering [In reply to]
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The final answer will only come from the person in charge of the area. That sole person will deside this whole thing. So I say "butter" him or her up. That is the way thing get done. Things just slide better with a little bit of grease


jds100


Aug 23, 2001, 11:07 PM
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Scout: I think your question is a good one. I would suggest you check with the Access Fund (including their website) to see if they might have some general guidelines, and some resources to follow-up with, such as climber groups that have successfully negotiated with land managers.

Personally, I'll suggest you email Eric Ulner, the midwest coordinator for the Access Fund, and a very experienced, successful, tactful, and helpful "spokesperson" for climbers in the southern Illinois area for a number of years. You can go to www.verticalheartland.com and then email him from there.

Your concerns about too many paths, and about protecting the environment, etc. are laudable. I think the better idea is to prevent damage, rather than have to try to correct its affects later on (which would most likely mean a closure). It may be that if this area is in fact so intensely utilized and popular, that the best plan will involve accepting some initial development (paved paths?) as a way of heading off future remedial or corrective development, coupled with some set of "rules" intended to limit further development (cleaning of rock, new paths, etc.). It sounds like you're acknowledging that this is not a wilderness experience destination, so it's best to control the development from the beginning.

Good luck. Feel free to keep me posted with a "private message" on this website.


redpointadventures


Aug 24, 2001, 5:57 AM
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Scout,

I e mailed Nancy Brown at NPS about the use of Rock Creek Park. It's not in her jurisdiction, although trail maintenance is. She's going to make a few calls to find out about this area. As far as use goes the park is open to all users i.e. joggers, skaters and climbers as long as you stay on established trails and leave the park at dark. What establishes a trail, however requires a use study. No changes to the area, with the exception of trash removal, are exceptable untill after the study. Both the high trail and the low trail surrounding the area are Park maintenanced trails. There may be some questions about the approach from above.


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