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Idaho's Castle Rock Ranch Still in Limbo


by Editor

October 31, 2002

Camp4 - Climbing News Archive

The Access Fund has been in contact with Idaho state park officials who will be in charge of managing the fantastic Castle Rock Ranch near the City of Rocks. "Castles" is now tentatively slated to open (at the earliest) next spring, because the National Park Service (NPS) has not yet completed the requisite environmental assessments. Before Castles can be opened to the public, the NPS must write the environmental assessment (EA) for the transfer of the property from the NPS to the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR). The NPS then does an "in-house" review of the EA and releases it to the public for comment (hopefully sometime this November). After the public comment period, the real estate transfer process begins. After transfer, City of Rocks Superintendent Wallace Keck (who will also manage Castles) will submit an interim operation plan for approval by the IDPR. Under this interim plan, it is likely that public use of Castle Rock Ranch will include dispersed day-use including hiking, climbing, and sightseeing. Later, IDPR will partner on a General Management Plan (complete with a climbing management component) with the USFS and BLM who own the property on the backside of Castles. During this process, trails and minor visitor facilities will be developed. As you may remember, the Access Fund provided critical "bridge" funding for the acquisition of Castles in 1999, and Congress authorized the fed-to-state transfer of the property two years ago. In October, Access Fund Policy Director Jason Keith met with US Senators Craig (R-ID) and Thomas (R-WY, Ranking Minority Member on the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks) to lobby for speeding up the requisite environmental assessment. Once complete, IDPR can devise a management plan for Castles and open it to climbing. For the latest, contact Jason Keith at

News courtesy of the Access Fund.

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