Climbing Management Plan

a climber with a rope graphic

Why is a climbing management plan needed?

  • The climbing management practices established in the 1995 General Management Plan and the 2000 Backcountry and Wilderness Management Plan are not sufficient to address current and future regulatory and resource management needs.
  • Lack of formalized access routes to climbing and bouldering areas has negatively affected vegetation, cultural resources, and soil crusts.
  • Current management practices are not consistent with new agency guidance on fixed anchors in wilderness. A transparent and repeatable process for evaluating the appropriateness of fixed anchor use in wilderness is needed.
  • Current management practices have had mixed results in reducing impacts on natural, cultural, and wilderness resources.
  • An updated Climbing Management Plan will improve integration of the values of traditionally associated Native American communities into climbing management pratices.
  • A change in management strategies would address the park’s unique resource challenges, finding an appropriate balance between recreational use and the preservation of cultural and natural resources.
  • A transparent and repeatable process for evaluating the appropriateness of recreational climbing or related activities within or near cultural sites would better inform management actions.
  • Highlining and slacklining have not been evaluated for their appropriateness at the park.
A belayer holding a rope at the top of a rock formation

Purpose of the Plan

The purpose of this plan is to guide the management of rock climbing and related activities for the protection of cultural resources, natural resources, and wilderness character, and to support the public’s desire to enjoy the park through climbing and related activities. In particular, the plan will address impact issues associated with access routes to climbing areas, climbing routes, and the use of fixed anchors, consistent with laws, regulations, policy, and guidance.

Project Objectives

This plan would establish management actions related to rock climbing, bouldering, and related activities, in order to protect cultural and natural resources, comply with the Wilderness Act, and provide for a breadth of quality rock-based recreation experiences. Objectives include:

  • Identifying access routes for heavily used formations and ensure approaches to climbing formations avoid sensitive cultural sites and natural resources;

  • Ensuring fixed anchors in wilderness meet the provisions of Section 4(C) of the Wilderness Act;

  • Clarifying the process for installing, replacing, or removing fixed anchors, including issuance of permits when necessary;

  • Clarifying the roles and expectations of professional guides and special use permit holders, including a determination of necessity for their operation in Wilderness;

  • Establishing a framework for resource protection closures and specify where those initial areas may be; and

  • Developing strategies that improve incorporation of traditionally associated Native American community values.


Virtual Zoom Public Meeting

A Zoom Virtual Public Meeting was held on:

April 20, 2021 from 6–8 pm (pst)

Click on the link below to view the public meeting.

Read our Climbing Management Plan Newsletter for additional information.


Provide Comment

The public comment period is closed.

Public comments were accepted from April 14 to June 13, 2021. To learn more about the planning process please visit:


Last updated: July 9, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

74485 National Park Drive
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277-3597


(760) 367-5500

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