Healthy and Transparent Democratic Process

A healthy democracy is a prerequisite to healthy and accessible public lands, and it is one of our best tools for protecting these lands and their outstanding climbing and recreation values. America’s public lands belong to all U.S. citizens, and the democratic process ensures that we all have a voice in how they are managed.

There are two critically important laws that underpin a healthy and transparent democratic process for our public lands, and they are essential to Access Fund’s work to protect America’s climbing.

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is a federal law that requires our government officials to openly and thoroughly evaluate the environmental, social, and economic effects of their proposed actions for managing public lands. This process provides opportunities for the public—that’s you and Access Fund and others—to review and express support or objections. Second, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) gives Americans the right to request access to records from any federal agency, providing transparency into government decisions and keeping our government officials accountable.

There are often debates about how we can improve these bedrock democratic laws, and Access Fund has often supported careful and targeted adjustments. But the underlying values of transparency and public involvement are critical to the future of our public lands.

Our democratic process also includes checks and balances on the officials appointed to lead our federal land management agencies. The American public elects the office of the President; the President appoints leaders for our land management agencies; the Senate confirms those appointed leaders to ensure America’s public lands are managed responsibly and not used for political gain.

These laws and procedures can be cumbersome—and we do not always “win” when we participate in these public processes—but they are essential to a healthy democracy, and their integrity must be upheld.

A Vision for Public Lands

At Access Fund, we envision a rich tapestry of protected landscapes that:

  • Provide opportunities for recreation and adventure
  • Contribute to the health and wellness of all Americans
  • Help drive a strong and resilient economy
  • Preserve our unique human history
  • Allow diverse wildlife and ecology to thrive

This vision calls for a strong democracy—for the consideration of all the myriad values and stakeholders of our public lands, and for thoughtful allowance of appropriate activities in appropriate places.

Credit Photo Courtesy of:
© Irene Yee

Learn More About Our Vision for Public Lands

Each generation has an obligation to protect America’s amazing legacy of public lands, which have inspired and challenged climbers and other outdoor recreationists for generations.
Our Vision