Park Service Plans to Chop 200 Bolts at Christmas Tree Pass

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andrewsolow

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 23, 2010 - 07:19am PT
Subject: Park Service plans to destroy Christmas Tree Pass climbing area

This is a much bigger problem than I thought.
The "PLAN" actually applies to thousands of square miles of the Lake Mead NRA, not just to Christmas Tree Pass.

If we let the Park Service get away with removing over 200 bolts and destroying 40 established climbing routes in one climbing area, what's to stop them from chopping all of the bolts in Joshua Tree, Yosemite, Red Rocks, etc.???
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By proposing to remove all bolts installed near Willow Springs, LMNRA is proposing to destroy the entire Christmas Tree Pass Climbing Area.

I believe that Willow Springs is the approximate location of Dali Dome.

Though Christmas Tree Pass is not all that popular, a lot of climbers have passed through there during the last five years. And, the Rock Climbing.com website has had thousands of hits. See: http://www.rockclimbing.com/routes/North_America/United_States/Nevada/Southern_Nevada/Christmas_Tree_Pass/

Andy Solow cell 415-722-3047
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Objection Letter
Better to send three copies: by US Mail, by Fax and by Webmail

For Submission of Objection by Webmail - use comment link below

Lake Mead NRA: LAKE Draft Wilderness Management Plan
OFFICIAL COMMENT LINK
http://parkplanning.nps.gov/commentForm.cfm?parkID=317&projectID=16820&documentId=33282

Sample Text of Objection Letter

Lake Mead National Recreation Area – (702-293-8990)
Park Superintendent – (702-293-8920)
601 Nevada Hwy
Boulder City, NV 89005-2426
Via Fax to: 702-293-8936

SUBJECT: Objection to LAKE Draft Wilderness Management Plan/EA -
April 2010
Demand for Extension of Comment Period to July 1, 2010

I strenuously object to the LAKE Draft Wilderness Management Plan/EA - April 2010 - as written because it discriminates against Rock Climbing, Rock Climbers and wilderness camping.

Because the Lake Mead NRA failed to inform the Rock Climbing community [including but not limited to the Access Fund - http://www.accessfund.org/] that it was planning to constructively prohibit rock climbing in thousands of square miles of the Lake Mead NRA:

I demand that the comment period for the LAKE Draft Wilderness Management Plan be extended to at least July 1, 2010.

• Grape Vine Canyon, where there are significant historical resources, is at least two miles away from the main Christmas Tree Pass rock climbing area.
• The area of Christmas Tree Pass where Rock Climbing has been an established recreational activity for the last 35 years has zero sensitive historical resources.
• Constructively prohibiting climbing by prohibiting climbing bolts in the Christmas Tree Pass established rock climbing area tramples on the right of rock climbers to use public lands for recreation.
• Climbing bolts are virtually invisible to the naked eye from even a short distance away. In fact, finding the bolts while climbing is frequently very challenging.
• In most other USA National Parks and Recreation Areas including Yosemite National Park, climbing bolts are permitted as long as they are at least 50 feet from any historical resource [i.e. Petroglyphs].
• There is no rational basis for prohibiting new climbing bolts and/or removing existing climbing bolts in Christmas Tree Pass, NV, or anywhere else in the Lake Mead NRA.

If the air space above and around Spirit Mountain is a sensitive historical resource, why did the National Park Service allow the placement of at least a dozen large Cellular Telephone Towers at the tops of the peaks immediately adjacent to Spirit Mountain? Clearly, these Transmission Towers are a much greater disturbance of the air space around Spirit Mountain than a bunch of virtually invisible climbing bolts more than two miles away.

If climbing bolts are prohibited in Christmas Tree Pass, more than 40 multi-pitch rock climbs and many shorter climbs established in Christmas Tree Pass over the last 35 years would be rendered unclimbable.

Prohibiting climbing bolts in Christmas Tree Pass while allowing climbing bolts in Yosemite National Park and hundreds of other National Parks and Recreation Areas throughout the United States is capricious and arbitrary and is a violation of rock climbers’ equal protection rights.

If the Lake Mead NRA finds that climbing bolts are disturbing the “sensitive historical resources” of Christmas Tree Pass, then the LMNRA must also apply the same logic to the Christmas Tree Pass Cell Phone Towers.

Without climbing bolts, there will be virtually zero climbing in Christmas Tree Pass, Nevada and throughout thousands of square miles of the Lake Mead NRA where there are smooth rocks that do not have natural cracks.
andrewsolow

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 23, 2010 - 07:34am PT
To: ALL Climbers who use bolt protection

From: Andrew Solow cell 415-722-3047

Subject: Park Service plan is to remove 200 bolts and destroy Christmas Tree Pass climbing area

Their "PLAN" is to "improve naturalness" by removing climbing bolts.
You know, the bolts that you can't even see when you are only 30 feet away?

All six .pdfs referenced below searched for keywords “climb” and “rock” – results are below.

By proposing to remove all bolts installed near Willow Springs, LMNRA is proposing to destroy the entire Christmas Tree Pass Climbing Area.

Description: LAKE Draft Wilderness Management Plan/EA - April 2010
http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkId=317&projectId=16820&documentID=33282

Date Document Posted: 04/09/2010
Comment Period: 04/09/2010 - 05/14/2010
Document Content:
• LAKE_Draft WMP/EA - Table of Contents and Chapter One: Introduction (2.2 MB, PDF file)
• LAKE_Draft WMP/EA - Chapter Two: Framework for Management, Use, and Admin of the Wilderness Areas (339.0 KB, PDF file)
• LAKE_Draft WMP/EA - Chapter Three: Management Alternatives, Part 1 (7.4 MB, PDF file)
• LAKE_Draft WMP/EA - Chapter Three: Management Alternatives, Part 2 (7.8 MB, PDF file)
• LAKE_Draft WMP/EA - Chapter Four: The Affected Environment (307.8 KB, PDF file)
• LAKE_Draft WMP/EA - Chapter Five: Environmental Consequences (287.9 KB, PDF file)
• LAKE_Draft WMP/EA - Chapter Six: Consultation and Coordination (189.3 KB, PDF file)
Disclaimer: Links within the above document(s) were valid as of the date published.


Chapter 2, page 46
CHAPTER TWO: FRAMEWORK FOR MANAGEMENT, USE, AND
ADMINISTRATION OF THE WILDERNESS AREAS

Climbing, Mountaineering, and Canyoneering
Rock climbing and scrambling is allowed without the placement of fixed anchors in designated wilderness areas in Lake Mead National Recreation Area and on the adjacent BLM lands. No new permanent means of support (i.e., bolting) can be left in place on routes. In general, fixed anchors discovered in wilderness areas will be removed and the holes patched if removal would not cause undue damage to the rock. Areas close to sensitive resources, such as bird nesting areas, will be closed to climbing or scrambling during nesting periods. Use of climbing equipment (including climbing chalk) within 50 feet of rock art will be prohibited. Climbing, scrambling, or walking upon rock art surfaces will be prohibited.


Chapter 3, page 74

CONCEPT AND SUMMARY
Alternative A provides a baseline for evaluating changes and impacts in the other alternatives. In this alternative, the no-action alternative, the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management would continue to provide minimal management of the eight wilderness areas as has been the case since the wilderness areas were established in 2002. For the foreseeable future, there would be no major change in the management of the wilderness areas. Existing visitor uses (e.g., hiking, rock climbing) would continue.


Chapter 3: Part 1, page 81 & page 97

Bridge Canyon Wilderness
Like Spirit Mountain, Bridge Canyon is a popular destination that likely will receive more use in the future, and potentially could see more impacts compared to the other wilderness areas. Consequently, more proactive management is needed in this area to ensure that wilderness values are protected and the needs of visitors are met.

Under alternative B, the Grapevine Canyon Trail outside the wilderness area would be improved to more clearly direct visitors into the wash and the multiple user-created trails would be restored to natural conditions.

Climbing bolts by Willow Springs would be removed. The bolts do not receive much use, are not NPS sanctioned, and are not consistent with the area’s wilderness character.


Chapter 3: Part 2, page 115

Climbing bolts at Willow Springs would be removed


Chapter 4, page 149

Rock climbing is not a popular activity, due to the nature of the rock resource, although localized climbing occurs. [2nd to last sentence of continuation of last paragraph on page 148]


Chapter 5, page 191

ALTERNATIVE B – PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE
Apparent Naturalness
Efforts would be made to improve naturalness; these efforts would include the restoration of Tule Springs, the removal of climbing bolts in Bridge Canyon, and the closing of three roads to vehicles and conversion of the roads to routes (two in Spirit Mountain and one in Bridge Canyon).

Chapter 5, page 193

ALTERNATIVE C
Apparent Naturalness
Efforts would be made to improve naturalness; these efforts would include the restoration of Tule Springs, the removal of climbing bolts in Bridge Canyon, and the closing of three roads to vehicles and conversion of the roads to routes (two in Spirit Mountain and one in Bridge Canyon).
Gary

climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Apr 23, 2010 - 10:29am PT
Thanks for posting this, Andy.

A few have spent several years and a few hundred dollars of SCMA money replacing old bolts in that area.

It's a wonderful place to climb, as you well know, even if it is under the radar of most.

And I know for a fact that the reason you can now hike in the vicinity of the climbing area without seeing spent shotgun shells, etc. is that climbers have been carrying trash out for quite sometime now. That area is far cleaner now than when I first saw it.
Studly

Trad climber
WA
Apr 23, 2010 - 10:53am PT
just think of the jobs that chopping all those bolts will create....
its just like how the government to increase jobs and help the economy has given all this money to cities to improve their infrastructure thru road projects. So they are tearing up streets and roads and sewer lines everywhere and putting all these small business that have been just barely hanging on, that depend on the thru traffic and parking, out of business.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Apr 23, 2010 - 11:01am PT
Maybe they should remove Las Vegas to improve 'naturalness'?
Oh, and Lake Mead isn't exactly 'natural' is it?
I 'spose it is only natural to shut off all vehicular traffic too.
Curt

Boulder climber
Gilbert, AZ
Apr 23, 2010 - 11:34am PT
Our tax dollars hard at work. It looks to me like we need to lay-off a few thousand more Park Service employees. Obviously, they have nothing worthwhile to do.

Curt
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 23, 2010 - 11:41am PT
I've always feared things like this. That's why I contribute to the Access Fund. If you haven't already, you need to get them on board.

John
Bowser

Trad climber
Red River NM
Apr 23, 2010 - 11:44am PT
Wow, I am sorry (and pissed) to hear that.

I have been climbing since 1991 and sadly watched our public lands taken from us.

Its to bad these government agencies feel that "management" means closure.

The national service in Northern New Mexico has systematically closed down many of the jeep roads that accessed historical mining sites, fishing lakes and adventure 4-wheeling.
Seamstress

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
Apr 23, 2010 - 11:44am PT
Cell phone towers were not allowed - they were foisted on the agency. As part of the government's bid to make money from auctioning off lots of spectrum, it became clear that those billions would not appear due to the siting issues for new towers. So the feds promised to order all its agencies to permit cell towers, thus captuing the more dollars from the frequency auctions. I was part of the cell phone industry as these auctions took place, watching those auctions very closely.

Looks like there isn't a lot of love between the agency and climbers there. Bad economic times lead to "facility prioritization", road decommissioning, etc. They are all excuses to get rid of the problem people, the pesky ones that won't stay in their cars on the asphalt.

BTW - there is Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Access FUnd and the NPS. They were supposed to include the Access Fund and the local affiliate in discussions about climbing management policy. Sounds like this superintendant didn't bother with that step.

http://www.accessfund.org/atf/cf/{1F5726D5-6646-4050-AA6E-C275DF6CA8E3}/AF%20NPS%20MOU.pdf
Gary

climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Apr 23, 2010 - 11:55am PT
Up to now, there's been no issues between climbers and rangers. This is something we need to address, but I would not call it warfare between the park service and climbers. Not yet, anyway.

Hell, you can climb for days there and never see anybody else, ranger or climber.
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
Apr 23, 2010 - 12:03pm PT
Even if this proposal passes... I wonder where the cash-strapped park service will drum up the $ to actually pay someone to do the chopping. Sounds pretty expensive and time consuming. Totally lame too. The chopping f-s up the rock worse than just leaving the bolts. Morons.
Ezra

Social climber
WA, NC, Idaho Falls
Apr 23, 2010 - 12:47pm PT
Verry sad,

I just renewed my access fund membership!
rrider

climber
Mckinleyville, Ca
Apr 23, 2010 - 12:51pm PT
when the revolution comes, no one will care about bolts
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 23, 2010 - 01:28pm PT
Up to now, there's been no issues between climbers and rangers

Actually, Gary, that's only in recent history. In 1970, while I was visiting my family in Beirut, riots broke out in the Valley. When I got back to the States, there was very evident hostility between rangers and climbers, mainly because climbers looked like hippies. We still had some rangers who were climbers, and therefore helped to calm things down, but it got bad enough that Robbins published a blurb in Summit warning climbers of the hostility. The Vulgarian Digest published a story from about the same time of the rangers seeing these hippie freaks up on the rocks (Bishop's Terrace, if I remember rightly), figuring they were up to no good (so to speak), and ordering them to come down immediately.

I have to agree with Bowser -- too often these days, we confuse "management" with closure and micro-regulation. In a way, we did it to ourselves when we supported bans on outdoor activities we didn't like. For that reason, I think all of this is a symptom of a much bigger problem. The mountains are a public resource, but all too often, we want to make them our resource at the expense of the public. Only too late do we realize that the public includes us.

John
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Apr 23, 2010 - 03:33pm PT
Bump!

Climbing bolts by Willow Springs would be removed. The bolts do not receive much use, are not NPS sanctioned, and are not consistent with the area’s wilderness character.

That's an interesting line. The fact that the bolts are not used much is being held as a reason for their removal. I guess we all better get out there and start using 'em.

And what the heck is an NPS sanctioned bolt? I thought they didn't want to get involved in that stuff due to potential liability issues. Or is this a new tactic: get involved, determine a liability issue and then ban bolts?
Gary

climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Apr 23, 2010 - 04:21pm PT
That's an interesting line. The fact that the bolts are not used much is being held as a reason for their removal.

Hey, I use those bolts every time I'm out there! And yeah, people should get out there and climb. If you like your climbing primitive, you'll like it. And you'll get a ton of respect for what Andy, Dick Richardson, Lynn Robison and Joe Hancock have done out there.

John, I was referring to the pass, btw. I've never even seen a ranger out there, much less had any sort of trouble with one.

Loomis

climber
*_*
Apr 23, 2010 - 04:30pm PT
Man does a poor job of regulating himself and even worse at playing god.
Don't those land (mis)managers have anything better to do with their budget?
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Apr 23, 2010 - 04:34pm PT
Gary, I don't see any bolts in your picture...

What bolts?
Gary

climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Apr 23, 2010 - 04:45pm PT
Kris, that's exactly what I was thinking on the pitch that I led before that picture was taken. That look of relief on my face? That was because I was going to get to follow the rest of the climb!

Maybe sometime a few bolts are removed, and the only real change is that the route will take more commitment.

Rox, have you climbed there? It's hard to imagine these routes needing any more commitment. You go down there and jump on a route and get back to me about commitment. Maybe you'll just cruise them, I don't know.

Those routes were put up on lead and drilled by hand. Before it was a wilderness area. If you ask me it's a cultural landscape, which according to the park service document is to be protected. Which is going to be part of my comments.

Don't place them [bolts] in sight of the ground EVER

I assure you, that's generally not a concern at the pass.
Greg Barnes

climber
Apr 23, 2010 - 04:55pm PT
You want to stop these problems? Stop publishing route books.
Actually, it looks like a guidebook could have prevented the NPS from saying that the bolts "do not receive much use."

But their logic makes sense. And most trails in Wilderness don't receive much use, so we might as well tear them down. That way when everyone applies for a permit for the John Muir Trail, it will be easier to deny 99% of them because the trail is too crowded...

Time for us to scream and shout to let managers know that just because an area is remote and rarely visited doesn't mean that they can shut out an entire section of the Wilderness enjoying public.

And, Rokjox, the area is like Joshua Tree but with far fewer cracks and a lot more open, grainy slabs - not an area that you can climb much at without bolts. If this passes, and they pull the bolts and stop 90% of the current nearly-zero climber use, they'll just come out in a few years with a no-climbing rule and no one will complain.
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