July 26, 2010
Contact: Sabrina Henry
Arches National Park is developing a management plan to determine what impacts climbing, canyoneering, and associated activities, commercial and noncommercial, may have on the park, and to consider how the NPS should manage or possibly limit those activities. A public scoping workshop has been scheduled for Thursday August 5, 2010 at the Grand Center in Moab from 2-7pm where the public is encouraged to come and speak with park officials in an open house forum regarding the development of this management plan.
Despite regular use by climbers and canyoneering groups in Arches NP, climbing and canyoneering have remained largely unmanaged leaving climbers and canyoneers essentially self-regulated. The increase in activity is exceeding the park's ability to manage under current actions. Issues identified to date include effects on natural and cultural resources, increase in use levels, the development of new routes, use of fixed hardware, designation of climbing/canyoneering routes, development of approach trails, visual impacts and the effects of climbing/canyoneering on visitor safety and experiences.
A climbing/canyoneering management planning effort will consider a full range of alternatives to protect resources, visitors and visitor experience while providing for recreational climbing activities. The NPS is encouraging public participation throughout the NEPA process and is currently in the scoping phase of this project. The NPS invites the public to voice alternatives, comments, or concerns in this effort. These comments will be considered during preparation of the Environmental Assessment. Arches National Park will seek to involve as many individuals as possible who have an interest in or concerns about climbing activities at Arches. The public scoping period is July 12 through August 10. Comments can be made online on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/arch under "Climbing and Canyoneering Management Plan" or by letter to Southeast Utah Group, Planning and Compliance Coordinator, 2282 S. West Resource Blvd., Moab, UT 84532.