Voluntary Climbing Ban In June

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Date: May 24, 2013
Contact: Nancy Stimson, 307 467 5283

A voluntary climbing closure on Devils Tower is in effect during the month of June.  The 1995 Devils Tower National Monument Climbing Management Plan established a voluntary closure for all climbing routes on the Tower out of respect for traditional cultural activities of American Indians. The voluntary closure has been implemented each June since 1996.  The average number of climbers that choose not to climb during June has seen an 85% reduction.

The National Park Service appreciates the efforts of those climbers who choose to observe the closure. The Access Fund, a nonprofit organization working to maintain access to climbing areas and protect the climbing environment, fully supports the June Voluntary Closure. Most permitted climbing guides do not bring clients to the Tower during the month of June. Rangers at the monument can provide information on alternative rock climbing areas.

"American Indians have long regarded the Tower as a sacred site." said Reed Robinson, superintendent of Devils Tower National Monument.   "Many Tribes feel that recreational climbing desecrates the Tower. Traditional cultural activities occur at the park throughout the year, yet June is an especially significant time when many ceremonies take place."

The Tower boasts a rich and colorful climbing history which dates back to the late 1800s when it was first scaled by two local ranchers using a wooden ladder. Climbers from all over the world consider Devils Tower to be a unique and premier climbing area. Approximately 4,500 climbers come to Devils Tower each year. Although it is sometimes assumed that climbing damages the rock, contemporary climbing methods have little impact on the Tower.

The 1995 Climbing Management Plan provides direction for managing climbing activity in order to protect natural and cultural resources on and around the Tower. That plan was revised in 2006 to address issues of resource protection, climber education, and climber safety. Both plans as well as updated closure information can be found at www.nps.gov/deto.

 To learn more about Devils Tower National Monument call 307-467-5283, visit us online at www.nps.gov/deto or on Facebook at Devils-Tower-National-Monument-Official-NPS-Site. Devils Tower National Monument is located, 33 miles northeast of Moorcroft, WY, 27 miles northwest of Sundance, WY via U.S. 14, 9 Miles south of Hulett via WY24, and 52 miles southwest of Belle Fourche, S.D. via S.D. Highway34/WY24.


Last updated: February 24, 2015

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