Thursday, May 21, 2009

Gold Bar Update

I am sad to report that the gate to the Gold Bar road has been locked at Reiter Road for roughly a week. Apparently, the Department of Natural Resources has decided to rework the usage plan for the area to try and combat the environmental damage, unauthorized trail building, garbage dumping, vandalism, and illegal firearm use that anyone who has climbed in Gold Bar is familiar with. The new plan will have provisions listing the permissible uses of the Reiter Foothills area, as well as provide for increased law enforcement efforts. More information can be found on the DNR site here.

While it is very disheartening to see the gate closed, it is a positive thing that the DNR is finally considering these important issues. It is still unlikely that the road will be re-graded anytime soon. However, any use restrictions on the area will probably work to the detriment of ORV users, and be an indirect boon for climbers. I would personally not mind walking up the hill if it meant that we'd never again see drunken yahoos trying to drive rockcrawlers through the clearcut. However, climbers have little visibility and we need to make sure that the DNR is made fully aware of our presence in the area.

For now, you can contribute to our cause by taking this survey that the DNR is using to gauge recreation interests in the area. If you are feeling especially eloquent and impassioned, you can also contact the DNR directly and voice your concern. Phone numbers can be found in the article linked above.

I would like to reiterate my sentiment in Central Washington Bouldering that our privilege to climb in Gold Bar depends on our continued respect, cooperation, and flexibility in dealing with the DNR and Manke Timber. Thanks for your concern - and take the survey!

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