Wednesday, July 1, 2009

National Park Service and Access Fund Sign Agreement to Work Together on Climbing Issues

AAI just received the following email from the National Park Service:

Washington DC — The National Park Service has announced that after six years of collaborative negotiations, they have finalized and signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Access Fund. The newly signed MOU frames a cooperative relationship between the climbing community and the National Park Service. It outlines the common interests that the parties share—such as conservation and planning—as well as how they will work together to reach common goals.

The Access Fund has demonstrated a long history of constructive solution-building between climbers and Park Service officials, illustrated through successful climbing management in areas like Yosemite National Park in California, Denali National Park & Preserve in Alaska, New River Gorge National River in West Virginia, and Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming, to name a few.

The Access Fund and local climbers have made major contributions to NPS lands— such as collaborating on conservation events, participating in management planning, granting funds for trail improvements, and installing bear boxes. NPS officials recognize that climbers are a cooperative and responsible user group.

Numerous NPS officials provided endorsements for the Access Fund in support of the MOU, including the previous Superintendent of Yosemite National Park, Michael Tollefson. Tollefson endorsed the MOU “based on years of collaboration….that has directly benefitted park operations and the visitor experience, as well as work that less directly, but importantly supports park management strategic direction. We enjoy a direct line of cooperative and thoughtful conversation with [Access Fund staff], and believe that this connection allows forward-thinking solutions.”

Much of the value of this MOU will be realized by the Access Fund’s seventy-plus affiliated local climbing organizations, which can make use of the agreement to initiate relationships with managers of the national parks in their areas. The agreement will make it easier for climbers to develop mutually beneficial relationships with NPS officials regarding climbing management and stewardship issues. The MOU also will help these organizations express their interests when management planning is undertaken on NPS lands that contain climbing resources.

About the Access Fund:

Founded in 1991, the Access Fund is the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment. The Access Fund supports and represents over 1.6 million climbers nationwide in all forms of climbing: rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, and bouldering. Five core programs support the mission on national and local levels: climbing management policy, stewardship and conservation, local support and mobilization, land acquisition and protection, and education. For more information, visit

About the National Park Service:

The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The National Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world. For more information about the NPS visit

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