Climbing Access Update for Wichita Mountains, OK

Date: 4/15/2009

Over the last few months the Wichita Mountains Climbers Coalition (WMCC) and the Access Fund have been watching the land-use planning process closely at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge and taking steps to ensure continued climbing access.

The two organizations have worked together to draft formal comments to the ongoing Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) for the refuge, obtain a support letter from the Oklahoma Congressional delegation for continued climbing access, and file a Freedom of Information Act request to determine whether the refuge or the Fish and Wildlife Service’s regional office were planning a climbing ban similar to the one that closed climbing at Illinois’ Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge in 2007.

In March, Access Fund Policy Director Jason Keith traveled to Oklahoma and, along with Access Fund Regional Coordinator Aaron Gibson, met with the refuge manager to discuss how the climbing community might address any climbing access concerns at the refuge. The public will have one more opportunity to comment on the proposed management plan for the refuge. Learn more about the history of this access issue.

For more information and updates, contact the WMCC: www.wichitamountains.org/contact.html