Monday, May 16, 2011

Comment NOW on City of Rocks Proposals and General Management Plan

Have you climbed at City of Rocks National Reserve? Are you planning a visit? Do you want to be an active citizen and participant in future planning of an element in our National Park System? If you answer yes to any of these questions, please review the recent newsletters concerning the alternatives to the current General Management Plan for City of Rocks, available at:, and comment.
The "Inner City" and Circle Creek viewed from Bath Rock
Public comment is welcome through the end of May. Comments received by June 1 will be considered as part of the draft General Management Plan (GMP).
There are four general alternatives being proposed. These are conceptual in nature, but they will affect park planning for the next 15-20 years. Some important considerations for climbers are how the proposed alternatives affect camping and climbing. Make sure to read the newsletters and understand what some of the suggested alternatives might entail.
There is talk of expanding the park boundary to include the BLM dispersed camping near Smoky Mountain Campground. Incorporating this into the Reserve would likely put an end to the free camping. Seeing the current crowded conditions and reviewing helpful comments from Reserve Superintendent Wallace Keck, it seems like climbers may need to consider alternatives. We have used drop in camping, the reservation system, Smoky Mountain, and the BLM land, and I believe it adds to the flavor of the area to keep the BLM dispersed camping available, or consider something similar (Sunnyside/Camp 4 concept?). In the meantime, it seems critical to keep a very low profile on the BLM land by not building fires, packing out the poo, sharing sites, etc. Demonstrate to the Reserve and to the BLM that the dispersed camping is not at overflow levels.

Climbing is mentioned in the GMP alternatives, and it may be an opportune time to comment on the climbing restrictions on formations in the California Trail Corridor, for example, the Twin Sisters. I believe that responsible climbers do not take away from the appearance (preserving the "cultural landscape" might be the NPS verbiage) of the area any more than the grazing, passenger cars, signage and miles of fencing. Who knows, maybe this would be a step towards acquiring climbing access at the Twin Sisters and the Dolphin in the future...

From the City of Rocks website:
"To receive information on the planning process, including the third newsletter, or to make a comment, email the Reserve Superintendent at, call 208-824-5911."


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