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LeavenworthMA

Welcome Leavenworth Climbing Rangers

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These guys have been doing some amazing things in Leavenworth area and we here at LMA wanted to give them a general introduction and shout out. More information about the new climbing ranger program can be found on their web page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Leavenworth-Climbing-Rangers/617233154965820. The lead Ranger's name is Adam and he is looking for all the feedback he can get! So questions, comments, and ideas to protect and promote this gem we call home is welcome and encouraged. If you want to get involved reach out to the rangers or to us at https://www.facebook.com/LeavenworthMA. Thanks-Leavenworth Mountain Association

 

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For those of us not on facebook it would be cool to have some more info about these folks such as who employs them and what their mission is. Thanks.

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From their Facebook page:

 

The Leavenworth Climbing Rangers are dedicated to the preservation and protection of the vertical world on the Wenatchee River Ranger District.

Description

The Leavenworth Climbing Rangers are dedicated to the preservation and protection of the vertical world on the Wenatchee River Ranger District. Rangers strive to accomplish this through climber education, site assessment, site monitoring, and restoration work. The Leavenworth Climbing Rangers have established relationships with local and regional climbing organizations in order to get a better understanding of the environmental and social impacts associated with climbing on the WRRD, to be able to reach a broader audience with our education goals and to help create a volunteer database.

 

The WRRD has become a regional and national destination for rock climbing and mountaineering; drawing climbers from across the country and even internationally. Thousands of individuals flock to the WRRD annually to partake in the outstanding rock climbing opportunities easily accessible on the district. The impacts caused by the increase in the climbing population have begun to get noticed and the need for climbing specific programs identified. The major impacts that have been noticed are de-vegetation, soil compaction, impacts to wildlife, safety concerns, and (over) use conflicts.

Several rare and endangered plant species are threatened by route cleaning and new development, this area has biological refuges of global importance, harboring species that are threatened or lost in other areas and offering hope for the future. Peregrine falcons and golden eagles, both protected species often nest on several popular climbing areas/routes and their livelihood and the success of their Eyrie can be affected by climber interactions. Public safety concerns have arisen as well with an increase in accidents, multiple helicopter evacuations, and climbing related fatalities each year

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i had a postive experience w/ a climbing ranger once.

 

once. :)

Edited by ivan

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gems such as this:

illegal_cairn.jpg

 

caption: "Knocking down illegal cairns on the approach to Colchuck Balanced Rock"

 

 

 

My comment suggested there were rangers who perhaps were derelict in their duty in the National Forest of Vermont..by far more illegality by many orders of magnitude than 3 rocks stacked. ILLEGAL ROCKS!

IMG_0705.jpg

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Maybe they will chime in here? Some real participation in the climbing community would do wonders to help collaboratively approach some of the issues raised instead of continuing the antagonistic "enforcer" relationship. I'm not sure posting up pics of cairn removal and spraying about how many fixed rap anchors they've removed is helping.

 

Yosemite climbing rangers have done a much better job than Yosemite forest rangers for example, through two way engagement and developing mutual respect. The beginning of this program is a great time to start that should Adam read this. :-)

 

Best wishes to those working out there in the hills!

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Well there is the irony of knocking cairn over with a foot.....

 

With shovel in hand. Funny how "leave no trace" works!

 

If we were only as strict with the air he is breathing!!!!

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What a negative reaction this is getting overall. I see it differently.

 

In a time when federal budget are being cut, and many high-quality outdoor and conservation-minded programs decimated, by the governmental sequestration of funds, what a nice surprise to see a purely elective climbing-relevant job (or two) such as this being funded.

 

Sure, you may not like the concept of rangers kicking over cairns -- but perhaps a more useful approach than nitpicking this one aspect would be to find ways to support and uphold the statements (claims?) the rangers make in their job description (above).

 

Like many of you, I will approach this with a critical-thinking and perhaps somewhat-cynical perspective but I think it's a self-fullfilling prophecy to take unwarranted pot-shots at something that could potentially be a positive development for the many people, organizations, and climbing clubs that have worked hard to develop relationships with ranger districts and agencies over issues such as access, sanitation, permitting, incident response, etc.

 

I don't know these individuals per se but think that the program overall has positive connotations for the climbing community and should be given a chance to succeed.

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In a time of deep budget cuts for parks and land management agencies at all levels, someone has decided to invest in creating a climbing ranger position. This means that they see climbers as important users.

 

It's up to you, the climbing community, to reach out and partner with them to do something good so that when they review the program in two years they can point to successes that benefit all sides. Find those win-win items and run with them. Maybe pit toilets and improved trails that reduce impact might be a good place to start.

 

Pointing fingers and slapping labels on people isn't likely to be helpful to anybody.

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kind words, surely, but, if i've had little but negative experiences w/ climbing rangers in the past, why should i be happy to hear there's soon to be more in my backyard?

 

i want to like everybody n' anybody, but guns n' the power to fuck folks over for damn near anything makes that awful hard

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rad and goatboy you both offer good points. that said it is a bit naive to think that this is necessarily for the benefit of climbers. That doesn't mean that a steady and decent relation can't be built though. While those carrying out the job may have noble aims, it doesn't mean the position wasn't created to tighten the screws on climbers and give more oversight (revenue collection) to the group. "We have a significant number of people circumventing the lottery by doing long days"

 

I only trust the buttfuckery of the forest service as far as I can throw them, they're bending over backwards to limit access as far as I've observed. Hell, over the course of a decade every single yearly summary PDF from each National Forest in OR and WA describing where your 'fees' have gone to has gone from quantifying the miles of trails maintained/bridges replaced to specifically calling out that 95% of your fees go to the 'amenities and services' people enjoy--with no mention of trails.

 

They mention peregrine falcon protection.. (golden eagle too), not that i think human use should trump that animals or plants but goddamn the peregrine falcon "has the most extensive natural distribution of any bird in the world, limited only by high elevations, extreme heat, and extreme cold. It is found on all continents except Antarctica" - US Fish & Wildlife website.

 

just wait till CBR and dragontail get closed to all climbing for months due to falcons. MOAR RANGERS PLS!

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It's up to you, the climbing community, to reach out and partner with them to do something good

 

why? They're public employees. I'm not trying to add to any negative reaction, but one could make a good argument that the onus is on them to do something good. I'm paying them, right?

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Yes, Rob. That's true. But a gesture of good will might be needed to break the us vs them paradigm.

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Oh Great !

Guess I better start carrying my papers for now on when I'm out there. Wont be long now before You have to ask permission to climb a route, or put a new one up.

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When folks start talking about "win-win" scenarios you can usually interpret that to mean some nice over-educated consultant has decided to fix a problem that doesn't exist all the while being handsomely compensated.

 

You can bet there is going to be an uptick in permit checking, nevermind food storage (and camping x distance from water and trails) warnings and citations.

 

On the other hand, climbing is a victim of its own success as those who sought to make $$ from it have popularized it so well there are serious crowd problems now. It is awfully clear that many of these folks went straight from the city gym to the crags and can be kinda clueless in the woods (one of my favorite examples being tons of unnecessary cairns).

 

Yes it's wilderness, but it's getting to where some places really need pit toilets. I'd welcome that rather than more hassles. Lets just hope these rangers don't go sneaking around in your tent looking for things like the NPS ones do (yes they DO!).

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Haters gonna hate.

 

No... I'd like to see Congress and the USFS spend the $$ to install and maintain the infrastructure needed (i.e. good trails and toilets) instead of running around and charging user fees (which do mainly pay for more traditional Bago type sites) or writing citations.

 

Here in Wyo., there is quite a backlog of trail work and user impacts that can only be addressed or remediated by actual WORK and not "planning" or "education."

 

Ask a few seasoned USFS or NPS types and you'd be surprised what you will hear. The backcountry is not getting the funding it needs.

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Well folks, i gotta step up to bat for the new Ltown Climbing Rangers. This past July the Leavenworth Mountain Association (a local Wenatchee Valley non-profit dedicated to "connecting the community to the mountains to the benefit of both", of which I am currently vice president, formerly president) was invited to attend a round table discussion with the forest service, AAC, WCC, The Mountaineers, and the Northwest Mountain School concerning the new Leavenworth Climbing Ranger program.

 

There has been a number of staffing changes in the Wenatchee Valley Ranger District so the meeting began with an introduction to the new staff. Next, was an intro to the Leavenworth Climbing Range Program in which the district has received a 2-year grant for. From there we moved on to discussing what the rangers have been up to since the creation of the program, which had mostly consisted of studying climbing related impacts, falcon surveying, large-group studying, etc.

 

Moving on, we got into the meat of the meeting which consisted of a roundtable discussion focused on current concerns from each of the various attendee groups. Clearly, Leavenworth is seeing more climbing related traffic and impact now then ever before. The explosion of bouldering has caused unprecedented high-use impact to many zones in Leavenworth. The LMA had a number of concerns including but not limited to:

  • The proliferation of social trails to crags and bouldering zones.
  • Improvement of the somewhat recently dead-falled SCW climbers trail to facilitate litter rescue by SAR personnel.
  • Improvement of the climbers trail from Castle Rock to Midnight Rock.
  • SAR litter cache at SCW.
  • Minimizing/slowing the impact of bouldering at Leavenworth's most popular bouldering zones Mad Meadows and Forestland.
  • Forest Service sign at Forestland Parking lot discussing low-impact bouldering practices.
  • Bathrooms at Forestland parking lot.
  • A more actively assessed falcon closure of Midnight Rock/Noontime Rock.
  • Active list of unsafe fixed climbing protection and updated protection.
  • A Leavenworth Climbing Ranger facebook page and blog site (yes this was our suggestion),

The Forest Service was extremely receptive to myself and the other groups concerns. It was an incredible meeting and the LMA felt honored to be solicited to help in the founding steps of this new program. I left the meeting feeling like I was part of a historic collaboration with the USFS and the climbing community and perhaps could be a model in the future for other districts across the US.

 

Since the meeting the LMA has continued to be solicited for advice and collaboration on their local projects and it has been an absolute pleasure to work with Adam and his volunteer rangers.

 

With that being said, it does seem poor form to post pictures happily knocking over cairns. Cairns on climbers trails have absolutely saved my life a number of times in the hills so I to feel a twinge of bitterness when I view that picture. But, the United States has one of the most strict wilderness policies in the world. It is these strict policies that keep the cascades wilderness pristine and wild. One of these policies is that it is illegal to mark unauthorized trails in wilderness. This trail is one of these. While is seems that most often USFS rangers do not actively pursue this type of activity on actively used climbers trails, in this case they did.

 

Clearly there are better ways to let your concerns be known to Adam and his staff then bashing them in this thread. I do wonder what the negative posters on this thread have done to personally give back to the climbing community (though i'm sure some of you have). It is through this type of personal sacrifice, charity, and hardwork that perhaps some folks could gain some insight into the complexities of resource management, and the effectiveness of proper communication channels. It is hard to imagine anyone posting on this thread having issues with any of the above bulletted concerns being addressed.

 

As I stated earlier Adam and his staff are very receptive to feedback from climbers. I urge you to discuss your concers with Adam through facebook messaging, via telephone at (509) 548-2574, or through email at leavenworthclimbingrangers@gmail.com.

 

I would be happy to act as a middleman between the climbing rangers is some of you folks prefer. You can message menyour concerns here or email me at solwertkin@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Good post Sol.

 

It was a very productive meeting and their interest in working with the climbing community is indeed genuine. The user impact in the Leavenworth area has greatly accelerated over the last ten years and keeping this place beautiful is going to take a team effort. You can also feel good about these rangers being real-deal climbers :rocken:

 

- Eddie

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