In 1997 a Climbing Management Plan was completed with public input, and it continues to guide climbing management in the park. Development of this plan, along with legislative mandates and NPS policy, helped formulate the regulations and guidelines described here. As an important part of climbing management, a Climbing Advisory Group consisting of climbers, park staff, and others makes recommendations to the superintendent on climbing issues. The advisory group works through the existing Acadia National Park Advisory Commission.
We've developed a number of pages on our website about climbing at Acadia:
Climbing - Basic Information
Climbing Route Development
Climbing Management Actions
The following management actions have been taken since the Climbing Management Plan was approved:
- A limited amount of fixed protection was installed by park staff at Otter Cliffs in 1998 to protect soils and vegetation from further damage. Climbers must use these anchors and should use gear to protect other climbs at Otter Cliffs in order to protect trees formerly used for belays. Some vegetative restoration work also took place and two roped exclosures have protected soil and vegetation since 1998. With the help of climbers, these areas are recovering nicely.
- A portable toilet is installed every year in the parking area at Otter Cliffs. Climbers are strongly encouraged to use it to avoid creating more social trails at the top of the cliffs.
- A self-administered registration card system began in August 1997. It was discontinued, four years later having served its primarily educational purpose.
- Climbing registration boxes have been installed and maintained at Otter Cliffs, the Precipice, South Bubble, and Canada Cliffs. Data is available for the first two sites since 1994. More than 4,000 climbers register at Otter Cliffs, more than 1,500 at the South Wall, and more than 1,200 at South Bubble. The reliability of self-registration boxes is not very high, and registration has never been validated at either site. Nonetheless, the data are relatively consistent and useful for evaluating trends. Registration sites also serve an educational purpose by providing climbing regulations and guidelines on-site and offer an opportunity for climbers to provide feedback to park staff.
- Local climbers assisted the park trail crew with the installation of new educational exhibits at the Otter Cliffs and Precipice rock climbing areas in the fall of 2016. Local climbers helped develop the sign content, park staff designed the signs, and park volunteers built the rustic wooden framework. The exhibits were funded by the Access Fund, a national climber organization, and Friends of Acadia, Acadia National Park, and a private donor.