BLM Bans Climbing at Idaho’s Castle Rocks


castle_470More than 40 routes and hundreds of potential new ones will be impacted by a BLM ban on a 400-acre section of Castle Rocks, Idaho. Climbing will still be permitted at the much larger, and more widely known City of Rocks.

The Bureau of Land Management was vague about its reasons for the ban and that has the Access Fund hot under the harness. It says that while the BLM has cited management of cultural resources (Shoshone-Bannock and Shoshone-Paiute Tribes have a rich history in this area), the BLM’s own assessment of the impacts doesn’t spell out the specific concerns climbing creates — while still allowing scrambling, hiking, and horseback riding in the same zone. The Access Fund’s is especially troubled by what it says was the BLM’s snap judgment and failure to spell out the process. In the past (it appears) the BLM’s real problem in the area is a lack of staff to properly manage climbing, and the wider concern is that the BLM will use this sort of catch-all to ban climbing, or any other activity it doesn’t have ability to monitor, anywhere in its jurisdiction throughout the West. For this reason the Access Fund is soliciting comment. Via The Access Fund and Climbing.

{ One comment…read it below or write one }

  • whispering

    The decision to close the area to climbing was made and affirmed by the court several years ago. However, the most current decision by the BLM, is to amend that specific land use plan for that purpose. Take a read through the BLM’s proposed decision to amend the land use plan and it provides the history and rationale behind both decisions at

    https://www.blm.gov/epl-front-office/projects/nepa/35403/43013/45966/Castle_Rocks_Proposed_Decision_Record_FONSI5April13.pdf

    I am not really advocating for the decisions that were made as I do not know all the circumstances, but am not sure that the information being shared by the Access Fund is complete (not their fault, the whole process is a bit wonky).
    The current decision is in a protest period, which means that those who were involved or are immediately affected have the opportunity to protest the decision based on the analysis (EA) and the issues that were considered therein.

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