U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines joined a group of bipartisan senators in urging the National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to provide clear guidelines for the use of fixed anchors for climbing in federally designated wilderness areas.
“For decades, fixed anchors such as bolts and pitons have helped enhance climber safety in wilderness areas,” the senators wrote. “It is crucial that the final guidelines make it clear that climbers will not be prohibited from using fixed anchors while analysis of a climbing route is pending, nor from replacing unsafe anchors without exiting the climb…Analyzing each individual route and anchor nationwide would be excessive and would lead to long delays and a lack of certainty for the climbers that depend on them.”
The letter urges NPS and USFS to protect access to unconfined recreation – a value recognized in the “Wilderness Act” – as they finalize guidance for climbing management on federal lands. The letter emphasizes that final guidelines should make clear that climbing is allowed in wilderness as long as climbers follow all applicable laws, and that any removals of fixed anchors to pre-existing climbing routes should be rare.
The NPS and USFS public comment period on the proposed guidelines recently closed on January 30th.