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Bishop, CA Public Comment Period and Meeting


 

by Editor

December 15, 2003

Camp4 - Climbing News Archive

Over 50 climbers attended an open meeting at the Mountain Light gallery last Thursday evening. This meeting was led by Shawn Tierney and Deanne Buck of the Boulder, Colorado climbers advocacy group, the Access Fund. This meeting was part of an on-going commitment from the Access Fund who has over the last five years contributed over $24,000 plus many man-hours to help the Bishop BLM help with climber management, mainly on the Volcanic Tableland.

At the meeting such emotive issues as dogs at climbing areas and voluntary climbing bans because of concern over birds of prey were discussed at length. Bill Dunkelberger, the Field Manager of the Bishop BLM Office was present and found it illuminating to hear climbers discuss their impact issues and the solutions to them with so much passion.

One highlight of the meeting was the appointment of Bob Harrington as the Regional Access Fund Representative for the Eastern Sierra climbing areas. Harrington is a longtime Bishop local climber and is very well respected by climbing community. His acceptance of this position was greeted with a long round of applause. This is a voluntary and unpaid position that represents climbers' interests on both public and private lands. In addition, Regional Coordinators can provide expertise on a wealth of related subjects from organizing conservation or trail-building projects to the acquisition of a threatened climbing area.

At the same meeting, Zeke Federman, owner and director of the Sierra Rock Climbing School announced the formation of a non-profit organization, christened " the Sierra Nevada Institute". Federman describes the purpose of this new collective as being involved in " Eastern Sierra stewardship, conservation, service projects and outdoor recreation advocacy." and hopes to run a whole host of clinics and projects promoting conservation of the outdoors. The inaugural meeting of the Sierra Nevada Institute will be on Monday December 8 at Mountain Light Gallery and each month after that at the same location. All interested parties are welcomed. Local land managers and private landowners also hold regular meetings to discuss climber issues. The Interagency Bouldering Group consisting of representatives from the BLM, the Forest Service, DWP, the Piute Tribe and Inyo County meet regularly to identify agency issues and opportunities to integrate resource capabilities to improve local bouldering field management. So far local climbers have not been invited but this has now changed and all interested climbers are very much welcomed. This groups next meeting is in the USFS/BLM Conference Room at 351 Pacu Lane off West Line Street on Monday December 15th from 9.00 - 11.30am.

Related to this is the US Forestry Service plans to locate a toilet and parking area on the west end of the Peabody Boulders in the Buttermilks. The USFS is preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) for these projects and there is a public comment period through November. Julie Molzahn, South Zone Recreation Officer is overseeing the EA and you can contact here at 760-873-2462 or jmolzahn@fs.fed.us. Further south the US Forest Service is preparing an EA for the existing toilets on Mt.Whitney. They are looking at several options to deal more effectively with the human waste and sanitation problems on this trail, one of the most popular in the USA. Contact Mary Beth Hennessy at 760-873-2448 or mhennessy@fs.fed.us who will welcome your comments and provide answers to any questions you may have.

News courtesy of the Access Fund. Edited report courtesy of Mick Ryan, rockfax@yahoo.com


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