AAC'S PUBLIC LANDS POLICY – CORE VALUES

Since its founding in 1902, the American Alpine Club has been a force in helping safeguard our country’s wild landscapes and natural treasures. We believe that as climbers, we bear the important responsibility of protecting the places we climb and sustaining the climbing community.

More than 60 percent of all rock climbing areas are on federally managed public lands – which are commonly owned lands held in trust for all Americans.[i] Public lands include our National Parks, National Forests and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. These wild places are among our country’s greatest assets and must be conserved and kept public.

Public Lands Should Remain in Public Hands

  • Climbing on public lands is part of our national heritage.
  • Keeping public lands public guarantees that we have a say in how they are managed.
  • We oppose any measure to sell or transfer public lands to states or other entities. State ownership puts access at risk: of the 64.2 million acres of public lands transferred to 11 western states, 25.4 million acres have been sold.[ii]
  • The Antiquities Act and The Wilderness Act are foundational laws to protect recreation on public lands; the authority of both must be preserved.

Public Lands Support Healthy, Vibrant and Economically Sustainable Communities

  • Public lands are the backbone of the outdoor recreation economy that generates $646 billion in consumer spending and 6.1 million jobs annually. [iii]
  • Public lands draw visitors from all over the world and attract and retain knowledge workers in gateway communities.
  • Recreating on our public lands makes for healthier citizens, inspires stewardship of the natural world, and provides an unparalleled quality of life.
  • Outdoor educators and climbing guides depend on public lands to teach climbers how to practice our craft in a safe and environmentally sensitive way.

Public Lands Require Balanced Management, Adequate Resources and Public Involvement

  • Stable, long-term funding for quality public lands management is essential to supporting outdoor recreation and environmental conservation. We encourage the addition of new and non-traditional funding from private and non-profit sources.[iv]
  • A balanced land management approach is necessary to ensure that wild landscapes remain pristine, culturally significant, biologically diverse, and have high recreational values that are protected from potentially damaging large-scale industrial developments.
  • In conflicts over access issues, climbers should work with climbing advocacy organizations, land managers, government agencies and other user groups to find solutions satisfactory to all parties.[v]

 


Endnotes

[i] Our Public Lands are Under Attack. Access Fund.

[ii] 7 Differences Between State Lands and Public Lands. June 2015. www.ProtectourPublicLand.org

[iii] Outdoor Industry Association, The Outdoor Recreation Economy Report, 2012.  Note: Nationally, when considered a stand-alone economic sector outdoor recreation’s is an economic giant whose benefits are nearly double that spent on Motor Vehicles and Parts (at $340 billion), and is surpassed only by Financial Services (at $760 billion) and Outpatient Health Care (at $767 billion).

[iv] SHIFT Principles for Advancing Outdoor Recreation and Conservation. June 2016

[v] Tyrol Declaration, Adopted by the Future of Mountain Sports Conference, 2002