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Hyalite Canyon Ice Climbing Access Threatened


 

by Editor

November 25, 2002

Camp4 - Climbing News Archive

Report originally submitted to the Access Fund by Chris Naumann of Barrel Mountaineering.

The Gallatin National Forest has released a Benchmark Travel Management Plan that would seriously impact access to the ice climbing in Hyalite Canyon, south of Bozeman, Montana. The benchmark plan calls for the road to be plowed to the Langhor Campground with a gate blocking the road. Beyond the gate, the remainder of the road is to be groomed for snowmobiles and skiers. If implemented, this plan will force ice climbers to reach the climbs -- a minimum of 8 miles one-way -- by snowmobile or skis.

The process is still very young, and the Forest Service seems willing and ready to listen to public input. It seems that the Forest Service is not aware of how large a user group the ice climbers are or how important Hyalite is to ice climbing in the Northern Rockies. Therefore it is important to realize that the sooner we all contact the Forest Service, the more likely they are to amend the plan and include access to the ice climbs. The first public comment period ends Friday, November 22, 2002 The important message to convey in your comments is that Hyalite Canyon is nationally and internationally known for the quality and quantity of ice climbs. Please also inform the Forest Service of the frequency of your climbing experience in Hyalite. If you have never climbed there, emphasize that you would like to be able to in the future. To review the Travel Plan by visiting www.fs.fed.us/r1/gallatin/projects/travel_planning/index.shtml

Below are additional points to include in your written comments:

  1. Indicate how many times you went ice climbing up in Hyalite last winter. These "user days" are how the Forest Service quantifies a specific use of forestlands.
  2. Stress that Hyalite Canyon is the only ice climbing area within 150 miles of Bozeman. Therefore, it is imperative that the Forest Service preserves the access to the ice climbs for this important group of public land users.
  3. Point out that snowmobiling and skiing are valid recreational activities, but they can be practiced in many places, whereas waterfall ice climbing is less available. In Hyalite, Langhor and Moser Creek could still be reserved for cross-country skiing. Other areas conducive to non-motorized use, and particularly cross-country skiing, include Brackett Creek, Sourdough/Bozeman Creek, and Bear Canyon. These three geographically different areas are easily accessible from Bozeman and feature topography that lends itself to cross-country skiing. The Benchmark Travel Plan provides plenty of other options for motorized, specifically snowmobile, winter use.
  4. Suggest an alternative to the existing Benchmark Plan: plow the road to Hyalite Reservoir and clear out the Blackmore Parking Area as a winter turnaround/parking area. Allow Forest users to drive up the road as long as conditions allowed, similar to the current situation. The reservoir could provide a convenient place to "dispose" of the plowed snow that would ultimately melt and contribute to the water supply during spring and summer. Contact the Forest Service [Must be postmarked by Friday, November 22]

WRITE: Gallatin National Forest
Attn: Steve Christiansen
PO Box 131
Bozeman, MT 59771

E-MAIL: mailroom_r1_gallatin@fs.fed.us with "Travel Plan Comments" as the subject.

On-line Comment form: www.fs.fed.us/r1/gallatin/projects/travel_planning/html/form_comments_gnf.html



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