Climbing areas at Castle Rocks and Massacre Rocks are on the verge of being banned to climbers as the Idaho Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Burley Field Office is in fear that climbing could potentially have negative impacts on cultural resources at each location. The areas affected are BLM-managed lands which are a good chunk of the climbing areas in these locations. Castle Rocks currently has a climbing ban on 400 acres affecting over 40 established climbs and hundreds of potential new routes, and the BLM office is proposing to make it a permanent one.
Castle Rocks is located in south-central Idaho in the small town of Almo near City of Rocks National Preserve. It provides some world-class climbing with a good mixture of trad and sport climbing routes offering amazing views. The present climbing ban was passed on March 31, 2010 after Native American tribes stated the area had cultural significance.
Massacre Rocks in southeast Idaho has some of the best climbing in the state. Climbing can be done year round on the basalt rock although the best times to climb are February through early June and early September through early November. At present, if you do plan on climbing in the Massacre Rocks area, keep in mind that you may have an encounter with someone from the BLM. Climbers have been approached by BLM employees that have been misinformed that Massacre Rocks is closed to climbing.
The Access Fund is diligently working with the Boise Climbers Alliance (BCA), the Eastern Idaho Climbers Coalition (EICC), members of Idaho’s Congressional Delegation, the local BLM as well as other concerned stakeholders to find a reasonable compromise which would allow climbing and protect valuable cultural resources. A letter is being drafted by The Access Fund, Boise Climbers Alliance and the Eastern Idaho Climbers Coalition which will state specific suggestions that will accommodate climbing and protect the sensitive cultural resources.
With The Access Fund offering climbing management expertise, funding for research and monitoring, and volunteer stewardship support, BLM may consider a climbing alternative for this proposal. This is where your help can be extremely beneficial. Use the letter writing tool on The Access Fund’s Web site as this will help show the BLM that these two things, climbing and cultural resource protection, are compatible. We, as climbers, are concerned about the surroundings in which we climb in, and we want to protect the resources in order to continue doing what we love to do. Comments are due by December 16, 2011.
Please help take action with The Access Fund, BCA, and EICC to avoid this climbing ban on Castle Rocks and Massacre Rocks by proving to them that climbers are good stewards and that we do care about protecting cultural resources. You, along with all of the other concerned climbers that know of the incredible climbing offered at Castle Rocks and Massacre Rocks, can help make a difference.
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