What the Election Results Mean for Climbing

Nearly 150 million Americans just exercised their right to vote in one of the most hotly contested elections of our generation. So, now that the dust has at least partially settled, what do the election results mean for climbers? Here are our top four takeaways for climbing.

Bears Ears National Monument, Ute (Nuu-agha-tuvu-pu) and Pueblo Territories, has been at the epicenter of the fight for America's public lands. Photo: © Andrew Burr

1. We have a good shot at restoring Bears Ears National Monument and the integrity of the Antiquities Act.

With the change in administration comes an opportunity to restore Bears Ears National Monument, and we will be pushing the Biden Administration to honor the cultural legacy of the Native American tribes, as well as protect the outstanding recreational values.

In 2017, President Trump issued a proclamation that eviscerated Bears Ears National Monument and left two dramatically smaller, isolated parcels on the map. Access Fund challenged that decision in federal court, because it threatened world-class climbing opportunities and undermined the integrity of the Antiquities Act—including many other climbing areas in national monuments. That litigation is still pending in court, but we now have the opportunity to settle this issue outside of court by pushing for a reversal of President Trump’s 2017 executive order.

2. We have a historic opportunity to put America back to work protecting public lands.

Although control of the Senate is still up in the air, broad bipartisan support for public lands and job creation give us a historic opportunity to push a forward-thinking job-creation program through Congress.

Access Fund is working with our allies on Capitol Hill to promote a modern-day Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) as a perfect way to create green jobs, help small businesses, and stimulate local communities that have taken a huge hit from the pandemic—all while restoring and protecting public lands. Earlier this year, U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced bills that would dedicate $9 billion to a new CCC program that would also ensure that the jobs and the benefits of the conservation groups are shared equitably across socioeconomic and racial classifications. Similarly, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced a bill that would allocate $55 billion over five years and put 1 million Americans to work. These are exactly the kinds of proposals that can unify Americans through job creation, social justice, and public lands stewardship.

3. We must continue to fight for climate change legislation.

Joe Biden wants to see the United States reach net-zero emissions by 2050, which would require a clean-energy revolution. For our country to tackle the climate crisis and transition from fossil fuels, America’s public lands must play a critical role in preserving large, intact landscapes that are resilient to the impacts of a changing climate.

The Biden Administration will have opportunities to create change through executive action, but the scale of the problem calls for Congressional leadership and support. Access Fund will continue working to build bipartisan support for protecting the climate and America’s public lands, while expanding outdoor recreation and making sure we all share equitably in the benefits of the transition to a clean-energy future.

4. We have our work cut out for us restoring balance to public lands management.

    The presidential change means a change in leadership for our land management agencies, which we hope will restore balance to public lands management. Attacks on the implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) over the last four years, coupled with a slew of unconfirmed agency leaders, fast-tracked unmitigated energy development and cut the American public out of decisions about public lands.

    Although we do not yet know who will lead the Department of the Interior, the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and other key agencies, Access Fund will be pushing to reinvigorate our land management agencies with a commitment to a balanced and open public process that involves the American public in key decisions that impact the future of public lands.

    Access Fund is a nonpartisan organization, and for almost three decades we have worked with policymakers and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who care about protecting public lands and the environment, promoting outdoor recreation, and leaving a legacy for future generations of climbers and outdoor enthusiasts.

    Protect Public Lands

    Nearly 60% of our climbing areas are located on federally managed public lands, and a growing movement of law and policy makers at the federal and state levels have launched a systematic attack on these lands.
    Learn More