​Park Service Begins Management Plan Affecting Climbing and Bouldering Near Newhalem, WA

Date: 11/14/2006

The National Park Service (NPS) recently announced that it will begin the process of crafting a General Management Plan (GMP) for Ross Lake National Recreation Area which lies adjacent to North Cascades National Park 1 hours north of Seattle. This updated GMP will describe the general path that the NPS intends to follow in managing the Ross Lake NRA over the next fifteen to twenty years. For planning details and to submit your own comments see http://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?parkID=337&projectId=16940

At issue in this plan will be the future of climbing access to extensive climbing resources in the Skagit River Gorge which climbers had begun developing in 2001. After the NPS became aware of the new climbing and bouldering activity they asked climbers to stop developing new routes and bouldering areas pending a specific climbing management plan (CMP) that has yet to materialize. This GMP will address all aspects of ecosystem management and public uses of the NRA and thus the GMP will take several years to plan for and implement. Local climbers are hoping for a quicker result, especially after five years waiting for a CMP. In late October, the NPS completed a series of public workshops in Washington State and British Columbia to assess public opinion on the direction of the plan and what specific values should be protected. These meetings were well-attended by Access Fund representatives and members of the Washington Climbers Coalition (WCC) www.washingtonclimbers.org. For more information about the details of the plan and climbing resources near Newhalem, contact the WCC or email Access Fund Policy Director Jason Keith at [email protected].