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Contact: Nancy Stimson, 307 467 5283
Devils Tower, WY –
The 2017 voluntary June climbing closure for Devils Tower National Monument was successful in reducing numbers of climbers. There were 269 climbers for the month of June. This is a significant reduction from June, 2016 when 373 climbers ascended the Tower during the voluntary closure period.
The final 1995 Monument Climbing Management Plan (CMP) for the monument established this annual voluntary closure for all climbing routes as a way to balance the cultural and spiritual importance of the feature to American Indian tribes with its history as a unique and world class rock climbing destination.
“This reduction in numbers is important and very positive. We are pleased that our first steps of outreach and education appear to be effective,” said monument Superintendent, Tim Reid, “The steady increase in June climbers over the last several years has been concerning, not only because it requires examining a variety of management actions to mitigate the rise, but primarily because the increase is contrary to the spirit and intent of the agreement in the CMP.” The voluntary closure was an agreement reached during the development of the CMP by a work group that included representatives from American Indian tribes and climbing organizations, with climbers advocating for the chance to self-regulate. Most climbers choose not to climb the Tower during June.
Over twenty American Indian tribes consider Devils Tower a sacred place in the Black Hills. Activities and ceremonies occur in the Monument throughout the year; however the month of June is an especially significant time for traditional tribal ceremonial expression. Climbers are asked to consider tribal perspectives and encouraged to climb at the many other climbing sites in the area such as the Mt. Rushmore Needles, Custer State Park Needles, Spearfish Canyon in South Dakota, Tensleep Canyon and Tongue River Canyon in Wyoming.
The Access Fund, a nonprofit organization working to maintain access to climbing areas and protect the climbing environment, fully supports the voluntary climbing closure.
A mandatory climbing route closure to protect nesting peregrine falcons remains in effect, and will likely continue in to August. Climbers and all visitors are reminded to check at the monument Visitor Center or Climbing Office for current information, or visit www.nps.gov/deto or www.facebook.com/Devils-Tower-National-Monument-Official-NPS-Site, twitter.com@DevilsTowerNM, or Instagram at #devilstowernps.
To learn more about Devils Tower National Monument visit www.nps.gov/deto or www.facebook.com/Devils-Tower-National-Monument-Official-NPS-Site or twitter.com@DevilsTowerNM or Instagram at #devilstowernps.
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