Summit Rock Raptor Closure

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Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 2, 2009 - 06:53pm PT


In case you weren’t already aware, Summit Rock on Skyline Boulevard in Sanborn-Skyline County Park has been closed to public access, according to signs posted there and at Indian Rock “to protect the sensitive habitat and wildlife found there.” This is due to a pair of Peregrine falcons that are nesting in a cave near the appropriately named route, “Glob of Sh_t” (5.10c) on the Lower Tier. However, breeding season for Peregrines lasts, approximately, from February 1 to July 31st, and Santa Clara County Parks appears to intend to make this closure permanent for as long as Peregrines inhabit the area. The language authorizing the closure has now been worked into the Santa Clara County Parks Trails Master Plan, which can be accessed via the following link:

http://www.sccgov.org/SCC/docs/Parks%20and%20Recreation%2C%20Department%20of%20%28DEP%29/STMP%20ISMND%20no%20Maps.pdf#xml=http://www.sccgov.org:80/sccsearch/ui.jsp?ui_mode=answer&prior_transaction_id=4734&iq_action=6&answer_id=16777216&highlight_info=4206811,69192,69219&turl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sccgov.org%2FSCC%2Fdocs%2FParks%2520and%2520Recreation%252C%2520Department%2520of%2520%2528DEP%2529%2FSTMP%2520ISMND%2520no%2520Maps.pdf

This document, which you'll notice Ranger Miles Standish of Castle Rock SP regards as "unprofessional", also contains ominous language such as “currently there is no prohibition on rock climbing, so rock climbers currently access rock formations at Sanborn”, which may imply that climbing and bouldering at Indian Rock may be banned as well in the future. Also, there is absolutely no reference in the Trails Master Plan to climbing as a legitimate activity at Sanborn-Skyline County Park although climbing and bouldering have gone on at Summit Rock and Indian Rock for at the very least 40 years. In fact, some of the only Yosemite-style crack climbs in the whole Bay Area are situated at Summit Rock. Climbers and climbers groups (BayAreaClimbers.com and REI to cite only two) have organized numerous collective efforts over the last 10 years to clean up the garbage and glass at Summit and Indian Rocks, which, at the very least, demonstrates a commitment to good stewardship of the natural resources found there.

To the best of my knowledge, the Peregrines were first noticed at Summit by climbers sometime in May 2008. Then, later on, unofficial looking signs appeared at the descent trail to Summit, warning climbers and hikers about the danger of being buzzed or attacked by the nesting raptors. Only now County Parks has installed a pair of signs at the beginning of the 0.4 miles trail leading from the Summit Rock parking lot to the rock itself that warn that citations will be issued to anyone accessing the rock itself. There is another similar sign at the beginning of the trail to Indian Rock across the road from the main Castle Rock parking lot.

There is now a meeting schedule sometime next week where climbers will hammer out a cohesive response to the closure under the auspices of the Access Fund. Closing Summit to climbing during the nesting season is one thing, but closing the rock to all climbing all of the year violates public precedents, which typically re-open climbing rocks after the nesting season ends, July 31st.

You can voice your opinion on this issue by contacting the following individuals at Santa Clara County Parks:

CONTACTS

http://www.sccgov.org/portal/site/scc/contacts

Trail Master Plan Contact:
John Falkowski, Project Manager
Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Department
298 Garden Hill Drive
Los Gatos, CA 95032
(408) 355-2232

Jane Mark
Senior Park Planner
Phone: (408) 355-2237
Email: Jane.mark@prk.sccgov.org

Metka VC
Parks and Recreation Commission
Phone: (408) 355-2216
Email: Metka.Valh@prk.sccgov.org

Matt Anderson
Park Ranger Operations
Phone: (408) 355-2225
Email: Matt.Anderson@prk.sccgov.org

It is important to note that it appears that no wildlife biologist was consulted regarding the extent of this closure or its length. Why not just close down the Lower Tier at Summit duing the Peregrine nesting season? Also, although there are already 4 guidebooks in existence describing the climbs at Summit, no climber or climbing group was included in the planning process by County Parks. The mountain bikers group, R.O.M.P., however, seems to have been especially effective lobbying the planning process so that many miles of hiking and riding trails are to be opened up to mountain bikers in Sanborn-Skyline County Park.

That summarizes the situation, but please feel free to add any other details to my description of this closure order.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Jul 2, 2009 - 08:08pm PT
I'll edit this post later, but regarding our upcoming meeting at kev's, maybe we should keep all the meeting details (date/time/who's coming) there so this thread doesn't get bogged down with insignificant crap.

just a suggestion. This thread should have details of what is happening.

If you want to attend the initial planning meeting at kev's go here;

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=806861&tn=80
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Jul 2, 2009 - 09:16pm PT
hey there say all... bump for climbers... and for kev's house...

Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 3, 2009 - 03:18am PT
Since Chris Mac is supposed to send this link around in his monthly (?) SuperTopo newsletter, perhaps you should include directions to the meeting at Kev's house here? Just a thought. Might be better if all the info is in the same locations.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Jul 3, 2009 - 10:07am PT
I'll let kev do that, not sure if he wants them on the interwebs...

He's away climbing this weekend, prolly Shuteye.
NikDF

Trad climber
Bay area, CA
Jul 3, 2009 - 11:41am PT
I cannot make the meeting, but I did send this email. It is not perfect, but if we can all make them aware of how many of us there are and how important this is to us then maybe we can get somewhere. I hope this works. Ill keep my fingers crossed that we can get somewhere

To those in charge of the parks.
I am writing in response to a very disturbing trend that the climbing community has become aware of in the park areas on skyline blvd.
I have been visiting Summit Rock, Indian Rock, Goat Rock, Castle Rock, and the surrounding areas since I was a little kid. In that time, I watched the Lions Caves area closed "Temporarily" (this was 10 years ago). I was told over and over that this was because someone needed to assess the environmental impact. There has been no such assessment, and when I have asked, I have received rude responses and simply been told "it's closed." The climbing community has bee patient and in fact, one of the more environmentally responsible groups out at the parks (many of us bring trash bags when we climb and leave the place cleaner than when we came).
Now Summit Rock has been closed for Peregrine Falcon nesting. This is fine, except that it was done without consulting a biologist. There are falcon closures at climbing areas across the country. Climbers in general adhere to them and most of us support them when they have been outlined by an expert. What is not fine, is that it is closed indefinitely. These falcons have a nesting period that lasts roughly from February through July. The closures everywhere else also last for about the same length of time. I asked a ranger about this, and his response was only that If I were to go there, I would be ticketed.
Can you explain to me why the parks here throw blanket closures onto public property with little to no real reason? Why is there no effort to work with the user groups on finding a solution. The Bay Area climbing community is very large. I understand the impact on the area that the growing number of users creates. However I would expect OUR parks to work with us on developing a solution and instead the groups become alienated.
To be frank, Rangers have been harassing climbers for years. I say harassing, because it extends far beyond normal regulation and stewardship. I have had rangers attempt to search my climbing pack for "anchor installation gear" which I do not even own. I have had them literally come out of the bushes off trail, stop me, and question me as to my intentions, methods, and if I was smoking or had drugs on me. It has been insulting, irritating, and wrong. OUR tax money pays for these parks and more importantly the stewards salaries, and to be treated like second class citizens is not ok.
In the Santa Clara County Parks Master Plan, the only mention of climbing is that it is currently not prohibited. This language worries me and others. Why do hiking, equestrian, and mountain bike user groups have representation in the literature and climbers are thrown in as an afterthought. People have been climbing here for 50+ years. Longer than mountain bikes have existed. Also, why would you have to mention it is currently allowed. Is there a plan for making climbing illegal?
I would like a response to these questions. Based on my experiences, I have little faith that you will respond or care, but if you do, the climbing community is more than willing to work WITH the county in assessing environmental impact, creating regulations that work for all, and finding and working on a solution to the increased use and impact on the area without closing it to those who love it.
I appreciate your time and await your response. Please help those you serve to find a solution. We have been patient, but we are tired of being marginalized and treated as a second rate user group. There are great groups that have had much success working with local governments across the country. The biggest one is The Access Fund (http://www.accessfund.org/site/c.tmL5KhNWLrH/b.4861253/k.BDBB/Home.htm);. Contact them. They have dealt with many of these problems before and will work diligently towards a mutual goal.
Thank you for your time
Nikolai Daiss-Fechner
Climber, Hiker, Mountain Biker.
kev

climber
CA
Jul 6, 2009 - 11:02pm PT
All,

The meeting will be next week on wed at my place. Email me through the taco stand and I'll get a hold of you with directions, details, etc.

My life's been a bit hectic of late but i'll be on top of this in a week or two once things settle down. We've talked to the Access fund and will form a plan next week. If you can't make it I'm sure we'll meet again.

Everyone that's gonna be there start posting up on this thread so I can get an idea of the head count.

kev
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Jul 7, 2009 - 09:12pm PT
sorry, mates I gotta bump this.

E-mail kev if you're going, he'll give directions.

oh and it looks like we'll be at Castle Rock Falls this Saturday if y'all wanna talk then.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Jul 10, 2009 - 03:35pm PT
This event grows nearer.

E-mail kev for directions.
kev

climber
CA
Jul 10, 2009 - 03:55pm PT
Yo

All I will email the directions out monday PM once i've got everyones contact info. The place is 5 blocks from downtown mountain view. I'll be home at 6 so come over whenever after that....We'll BBQ around 7 and get to work on this over cold beers. If you've got issues with burgers or cheap steaks you should bring your own food. I'm prolly won't crash until midnight ish for whatever thats worth. BYOB (there will be some but often I run out...)

So far the head count is Bluey, me, bruce, 2 jasons, and mucci.

Come on people suck it up and give something back to the community and help us deal with this. ESPECIALLY YOU LOCALS (like us)!

Bluey, you're gonna hate me but I was just ordered to goto Shuteye so I'm a no go on CRSP tommorrow. But it sounds like we we're three so that should be ok. I call you later.

Off to the land of Bagalaar!

kev
Robja

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Jul 10, 2009 - 07:23pm PT
Hey folks, Weds are bad for me so I'll try to catch up at another one! Maybe we'll see you out at CR Falls on Saturday.

Rob
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Jul 13, 2009 - 12:21am PT
Bump for change!
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Jul 13, 2009 - 11:20am PT
Bump for Wednesday night!

Dr Sprock may be in attendance too.
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
Jul 13, 2009 - 11:23am PT
yessir.
i am bringing my lawyer, and a steak from Ditmer's.
are you prepared to go to court?
you gotta eat a lot of red meat to win a court case.


hey, that thread we hijacked got yanked!
good job!
kev

climber
CA
Jul 13, 2009 - 01:52pm PT
Dr Sprock,

If you're in email me and I'll give you directions.
There is a grill and there will be adult beverages!

Everyone,

We really do need to get some crap discussed and done here -
for those of you that have been over before this is not going to be the usual party - we've got work to do.

kev
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Jul 15, 2009 - 12:21pm PT
It's going down tonight.

Be there!
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
Jul 15, 2009 - 09:14pm PT
ring, ring me when you get going over there.
i will bike over there in 4 minutes flat, jim ryan style.


my friend's dad used to own the el calderon apts, so i can tell you some stories about that neighborhood.

is there an apt number?
or is this a house?
thanks and syotr

oh cool.
the bike path!





kev

climber
CA
Jul 15, 2009 - 09:26pm PT
Doc,

I just emailed you...

kev
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
Jul 15, 2009 - 09:28pm PT
got it...
nosytlot

climber
Jul 18, 2009 - 01:19am PT
Just had to sign up to voice my support, and applaud all of your efforts. I am a fan of Summit Rock and am really dissapointed about its indefinite closure. That rock is such a joy to climb and play about, such a shame.
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