Last Day to Speak Up on Chimney Rock Park Plans!

It's just come to my attention that today is the final day to make comments about future plans for the state park. If you want to be able to climb in places other than Rumbling Bald in the new Chimney Rock State Park, now's the time to speak up. As rock climbers, what will shape the park are our comments. Yes, our comments really are used for the planning process and if we want to be heard we have to submit our comments TODAY. So Please do it now if you're interested in the future of rock climbing in Chimney Rock State Park. Here's how (it only takes a minute if you use the italic cut and paste answers below for the fill-in part of the form):

Go to www.greenways.com/chimneyrock.html Click on 'Online Comment Form' on the page's top right.

You'll be asked about how you'd like to use the park, and which of 3 future plan options for possible directions for the park is your favorite. Here's a quick breakdown of the plans:

(Keep in mind these plans are not strict, and it's likely nothing shown in the three plans will depict exactly the shape of the park in the future. With that in mind, here are the three options presented.)

Option 1 is extreme. Strictly conservation oriented, Option 1 does an extreme disservice to any and all recreational interests in the park, and arguably goes against the mission of N.C. State Parks.

Option 2 is a good middle-road, balancing recreation and conservation, but still probably not providing enough recreational opportunity in a park that is so large.

Option 3 is great for recreational interests, with still enormous swaths of land that will remain untouched and preserved. However, the proposed road up a steep mountain side in Worlds Edge would cause too much damage in a ecologically significant area. For this reason, it's worth opposing this road explicitly.

For the write-in section responding to the question, "What would you like to see not shown in the plan of your choice," here's a suggested comment:

Increased management planning and study areas on a cliff-by-cliff basis for rock climbing access; increased rock climbing access in general, throughout the park; rock climbing access within the entire Rumbling Bald, Worlds Edge, and Rount Top Conservation Management Areas, as well as other areas of the park; rock climbing access within the Chimney Rock attraction area.

As climbers, it's critically important we show a desire to balancing conservation interests with recreational interests in the new park. For the write-in section for Additional Comments, here's a suggestion:

Preserving the unique and often rare natural resources of Chimney Rock State Park and Hickory Nut Gorge is a major concern for rock climbers in the park. Another major concern for climbers is our desire to see significantly increased access to climbing resources in the new state park, climbing resources other than the south face of Rumbling Bald Mountain. One resource protection perspective out there says climbers and natural resource protection the Hickory Nut Gorge area are not compatible, and that climbers should be confined to Rumbling Bald's south side. The first part of this view is simply not true. There are no studies in Hickory Nut Gorge that support this view, and there are too many precedents from around the country--and world--where climbers have worked in successful partnerships with conservation biologists, on a local, cliff-by-cliff, route-by-route basis to achieve mutually shared goals of recreational access and natural resource protection. Furthermore, allowing climbers access only to Rumbling Bald's south side actually only increases the danger to the natural resources there, concentrating and increasing user-impacts in an already very popular area. A better, common-sense solution would be to spread the use over a wider area, decreasing the impact overall by spreading people out.

In the new state park, we have the opportunity to create yet another precedent for well-balanced state park management, preserving the natural integrity and species of Hickory Nut Gorge while increasing the recreational opportunity for one of our state's most responsible user groups. Rock climbers look forward to working toward conservation solutions that support well-managed climbing access throughout the new state park.

Again, it's essential that climbers speak out in great numbers. Make yourself heard! Again, go to--http://www.greenways.com/chimneyrock.html--review the plans and make your comments now. It really does take just a minute and could make a huge difference.

Imagine all that incredible rock possibly being more open to climbers! It's worth a quick survey, eh?


1 comment:

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