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Contact: Steve Bair, 540-999-3140
Hikers, rock climbers, and others interested in Shenandoah National Park are invited to express opinions at an upcoming meeting on the progress of the park’s Rock Outcrop Management Project (ROMP). The project involves state and federal agencies, universities, climbers, hikers, and the general public.
Shenandoah National Park (SNP) is in the last year of a three-year project to inventory the natural resources of and assess recreation use impacts to rock outcrops and cliff areas in the park. The result will be a Rock Outcrop Management Plan and a Rock Climbing Plan that meet the park’s mission goal to preserve resources and allow recreation activities at an acceptable level of impact. The plans will be based on scientific inventories and research, with involvement of hikers, climbers and other park supporters who could be affected by park management decisions.
Rock outcrop sites of concern have been examined to determine the degree of human impacts, and flora/fauna inventories have been conducted. Climbers at two popular sites were contacted and completed user surveys. The information-gathering and data analysis phases of the program have been completed.
As the data gathering phase of this project winds down, Superintendent Chas Cartwright has indicated that public participation in the planning process becomes increasingly more important and encourages participation in the upcoming public meetings.
The park will conduct two public meetings of identical scope in early June. The purpose is to share information about ROMP, describe and discuss various management options and alternatives, and solicit comments from the public as the park begins to prepare the management plans and initiate an Environmental Assessment to examine management alternatives.
One meeting will be on Thursday, June 7, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the REI store at Bailey’s Crossroads, Virginia, and the other meeting will be on Monday, June 11, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the Festival Conference and Student Center at James Madison University, the Festival Allegheny Room, in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Participants at the JMU meeting will be required to park in lot R3. A map which shows the meeting location and the parking area is available at www.jmu.edu/map.