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LeavenworthMA

Welcome Leavenworth Climbing Rangers

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A bit off topic I suppose, but does anyone know if restricting car to car climbs in the enchantments is being or has ever been considered?

i know that, if you have anything beyond a day-pack on, you WILL get hassled and asked for an overnight permit if you're on the stuart lake trail 'round business hours - a soul-foul of funk and a bottle-full of gin in you helps finagle the conversation for sure :)

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Hello everyone-

 

I would like to introduce myself, and the climbing program on the Wenatchee River Ranger District (WRRD). After following this thread and speaking with several local climbers recently, it seems there is still a need for us to get more information out to the community regarding who we are as well as well as a description of our involvement in the climbing in the Leavenworth area.

 

To start, I would like to describe the origins of the program and how it became funded.

 

The program is funded by a grant received through the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO). The RCO provides grant funding for the development and maintenance of recreational opportunities throughout the state. Details about the different grant programs and their requirements can be found here: http://www.rco.wa.gov/grants/index.shtml. Funding for grants does expire at the end of two years, although the grant can be applied for again to continue funding. The WRRD did gain support for the climbing program in the form of written, signed letters from numerous organizations including: The Access Fund, American Alpine Club, Washington Climbers Coalition as well as many more. All of these organizations were given the project idea, grant details and what the project would accomplish. After review, these organizations supported the program and provided letters of support that expressed their stake in climbing opportunities and why they felt that this program would benefit the climbing opportunities in the area.

 

As stated above, grant funding does have an expiration date. But it is our hope that by working with the climbing community we can continue the program and preserve the climbing opportunities well beyond the grant funding.

 

Why was the climbing program formed?

As many climbers and other recreationists have experienced and begun to express, the climbing on the WRRD has exploded in popularity and amount of use. With such high use numbers, many climbers have expressed concern over increasing use and impacts. Some of these concerns are, but not limited to: excessive social trailing/erosion/soil compaction; impacts to plants and animals; user conflicts; and loss of vegetation. As we have begun to have a presence in the field, we have witnessed many of these concerns first hand. On a trip through Playground Point, we spoke with a duo of climbers forced to climb elsewhere due to an extremely large group of climbers monopolizing the area. On a trip through the Forest Land Boulders, we picked up a large amount of toilet paper and buried many piles of human waste as well as filling a kitchen sized garbage bag with bottles, cans and other garbage left in the area. With this being said we do not at all see all actions as negative. We do recognize that most climbers are a great, conscientious group who does truly care about the land that they use. The majority of our public contacts this season have been extremely positive. Many climbers we have spoken with express excitement for the climbing program and look forward to interacting with us.

 

What are the programs goals?

The WRRD would like to develop a program that addresses your concerns, protects the resource and maintain a positive climbing experience.

 

To do this we have begun developing relationships with local, regional and national organizations to develop ideas and plans on how we can address possible issues to prevent them from becoming unmanageably large. Some of the organizations that have expressed an interest and have begun interacting with us are The Access Fund, American Alpine Club and Washington Climbers Coalition as well as several individual climbers. As has been described in this thread, we held a meeting with many of these organization to start building working relationships, address concerns and generate ideas for how to improve several of the popular climbing areas. Most of the organizations did express the same concerns with impacts that I mentioned above.

 

It is apparent that one of the foremost concerns is that additional use restrictions could be implemented in the area. I would like to say that it is not the intent of the program to restrict access or create new user fees. Instead of more restrictions, we have been developing ideas on how we can use positive management techniques and education. Ideas such as installation of toilet facilities at key locations, development of informational signage and bulletin boards, development of a basic access trail signage plan, possible trail projects that can be completed as well as developing open and efficient lines of communication between the climbing community and the climbing rangers/climbing program. Other thoughts discussed were possibly holding gatherings and presentations to create an environment where climbers can interact directly with us and be able to ask questions, discuss concerns and hear from us in a positive manner.

 

This program is still in its infancy and is not at all a finished product. We want to be involved in the community and to hold productive conversations regarding climbing and protection of the area we all love. We encourage climbers to contact us, provide their thoughts and ideas, express concerns and be active in the management of the public land that everyone is entitled to. The rock climbing in the Leavenworth area is world class and a legitimate use of your public land.

 

The lines of communication that have been opened include:

A program email address: leavenworthclimbingrangers@gmail.com

A Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Leavenworth-Climbing-Rangers/617233154965820. The purpose of our Facebook page is not only to be a line of communication but also provide a way for the climbing community to see what climbing rangers are doing, provide current conditions and provide information on current issues that arise concerning the climbing around Leavenworth. The structure of the page and how we are going to present information is still very much in development, so keep checking back for updates and changes!

 

You can also contact me directly at agreenstreet@fs.fed.us and 509-548-2574

Or the program manager Gabe Snider at gsnider@fs.fed.us and 509-548-2556.

 

 

Adam Greenstreet

Lead Climbing Ranger

Wenatchee River Ranger District

Edited by LeavClimbRangers

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I would like to say I think any signage beyond the road is a very bad idea. If you can't figure out how to find something to climb maybe you ought to head back to the gym. Cairns are fine if they are not ridiculously sized and surveyors tape is almost as bad as spray paint.

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I think a trail project is an excellent idea. There are far too many way trails scattered between some crags.

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I think a trail project is an excellent idea. There are far too many way trails scattered between some crags.

I agree. Some simple signage, like the plastic sticks used in J-Tree, would go a long ways to establishing a single trail instead of multiple trails that all go to the same place.

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Thanks for taking time to post Adam. It's much appreciated.

 

development of a basic access trail signage plan

 

This is something that this area really needs in my opinion. While I somewhat agree to the "If you can't figure out how to get there, gtfo", it's not the easiest thing to find some of the crags in the canyon. Couple that with random paths from people wandering around lost and it makes it all the more difficult to find your way if you don't have any prior knowledge. Some signage would go a long way to corral everyone onto the same trail at least, which is a much better situation than what currently exists.

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Adam - thanks for posting. It is excellent to get your mission posted here as well as the Leavenworth Climbing Rangers' contact information out there so that more climbers are aware of your group's goals and how to contact you if needed.

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I think a trail project is an excellent idea. There are far too many way trails scattered between some crags.

I agree. Some simple signage, like the plastic sticks used in J-Tree, would go a long ways to establishing a single trail instead of multiple trails that all go to the same place.

 

Agree.

 

 

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An example of climbing "management". Taken from the Climbing Management.org website:

 

Climbing Management Plan

 

 

Not ideal - but in practice, not that bad. The only part that was a minor PTA was registering, but that took about 5 minutes once a year. The real deterrent to climbing at the "Garbage of the Gods" was...the climbing. Friable sandstone, ancient, rusty-drilled angles....oh my.

 

GOTG is also kind of a special case because dozens of bus-and-minivan loads of tourists deploy there every...single...day during the summer months, and it's super easy for folks in that demo to step a few feet off of the trail and scramble their way into a position where they find themselves needing a rescue, and/or cratering.

 

Again - not ideal, but kind of a special case that I wouldn't expect to see in environments that aren't basically roadside geological theme parks.

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I think its great the climbing community and FS are doing something to address the much needed issue of singage, trails, shitters, garbage cans, education, etc. in the icicle. As a climber and a local resident I fully support the project.

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Signs are pretty dumb. A "climber" should be able to follow a trail and know enough not to just stomp all over the place. Pick up and pack out Your own damn garbage. A shitter might be a good idea until some fool tips it over. Good bye road side camping.

 

a management plan like the one at GOTG would ruin the Icicle.

 

What kind of world do we live in when we depend on others to tell us what we can climb ? When we can climb it ? and that we have to get permission to climb it. Stupid.

 

its the dumb down factor, follow the masses and do what everyone else does to be accepted. Not the reason I started climbing.

 

How soon You all forget about "DUSEL" and how great that would be for the Icicle we where told. Also was a accepted use of public land that would of shut down the whole canyon to any activity.

 

 

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Its a popular cragging and bouldering area - it should be dummed down for the masses. Squamish and Skaha are good models, with designated and developed trails to the crags and signs to orient climbers.

 

There's lots of climbing in the Icicle and elsewhere which will never be developed like that, but the ultra-popular areas should be.

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As a climber and a local resident I fully support the project.

 

I think this statement is revealing. Local sentiments like those expressed by Sol, Blake, Pete, and the "LMA" are always important, but most of the crags in question lie on federal property that is owned by us all. To grant too much weight to local sensibilities is to submit to a standard that could end up turning our shared heritage into a municipal park--or a private club.

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I haven't been climbing much in the last few years in The Icicle (healing and rehab), and have not realized that it has gotten this bad. It's to bad the masses discovered such an inspiring place - it almost sounds as bad as Vantage has gotten, in the late 80's and early 90's it was a heavily wooded area, and it took a lot of bushwhacking to find the good stuff. But that fire of several years back really opened the craigs and produced some more bouldering areas. Bummer!

:tdown:

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I read everything posted here, but very, very rarely post because I usually don't have anything better to add that hasn't already been posted. With that said, perusing the link and attached files posted at the link that diepj posted, I noted that Wilderness Watch is one of the supporters of this project.

 

The simple fact that WW supports this destroyed any faith I may have had in this. I cannot in good faith support and work with anything WW supports. Just one guy's opinion.

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As a climber and a local resident I fully support the project.

 

To grant too much weight to local sensibilities is to submit to a standard that could end up turning our shared heritage into a municipal park--or a private club.

 

On the contrary, I think we just want to see this resource (Icicle climbing) managed sensibly so that it can be enjoyed and appreciated by all.

 

I don't think locals' opinions bear more weight or have any more value than others, but we probably see these areas more than most so we might have a unique perspective on the issue.

 

 

 

 

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This is not a discussion about bashing Adam and his staff; rather it should be about questioning the political forces at the 30,000 foot level, a level so high that even Adam himself can’t possibly climb too. No doubt the Wenatchee Ranger District (WRRD) cares about our wonderful natural resources and they have demonstrated this with their on-the-ground hard work.

 

For those climbers who support the WRRD Climbing Ranger Program, I am respectfully disappointed in what I can only call “political naivety.” I struggle to believe that this will build happy trails for climbers to enjoy. It is about money and power. Every group that has voiced support has a political agenda and I struggle to find benefits toward the individual climber.

 

One of the groups in support is called Wilderness Watch (WW). Let me assure you with some quotes that WW is not supporting a climbing ranger monitoring program that is in your best interests.

 

“… rock climbing is a legitimate subject for agency guidance. In particular, the ban on sport climbing in wilderness is to be commended.” –Executive Director of Wilderness Watch

 

“… the (National Park Service) authorizes the “occasional placement” in wilderness “of a fixed anchor…” This kind of authorization is well beyond the scope of a Director’s Order...We believe that the term “untrammeled” in the Wilderness Act means just that – not occasionally trammeled or rarely trammeled.” –Executive Director of Wilderness Watch

 

Those who have questioned the intentions of this program should not be bashed on by those that support it, for they understand well, that programs like these promulgate future regulation. For those of you who do support this program, I ask that you think politically about the organizations in support and ask yourself whether their best interests are yours (Seattle Mountaineers, Wilderness Watch, Wilderness Society, Northwest Mountain School, Leave No Trace, Access Fund.) I think we can all agree that we don’t want a pile of poop under our favorite climb, but I don’t believe that is what this is all about.

 

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This is not a discussion about bashing Adam and his staff; rather it should be about questioning the political forces at the 30,000 foot level, a level so high that even Adam himself can’t possibly climb too ...

 

For those climbers who support the WRRD Climbing Ranger Program, I am respectfully disappointed in what I can only call “political naivety.” I struggle to believe that this will build happy trails for climbers to enjoy. It is about money and power. Every group that has voiced support has a political agenda and I struggle to find benefits toward the individual climber.

 

I think this conspiracy goes even higher; to the alien lizard people who not only control the Forest Service, but control the President and Congress too. I for one will be wearing my tinfoil climbing helmet from now on whenever I crag or boulder in the Icicle, and I recommend you do the same.

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it almost sounds as bad as Vantage has gotten, :tdown:

 

Not even close.

Agreed, I think the vast expanse of the canyon spreads people out enough. There is a new bouldering guidebook to be released next year, it may increase traffic a small amount, but will also spread out the activity.

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Thanks to RocketJSquirrel for bring the Wilderness Watch support of this to our attentions. Thanks also to Sol and company for thier time on this matter.

 

Quite frankly government at any level scares the living shit out of me anymore. I have never been an anarchist, but I see very little of any level of government atually helping anything except themselves to you pocket.

 

From the LCR facebook page:

....this area has biological refuges of global importance, harboring species that are threatened or lost in other areas and offering hope.....

What hope? The hope that they can severly restrict access and get an access fee in place?

 

I hope I am wrong about this program, but time will tell.

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