2018 Hill to Crag Report

2018 Hill to Crag Report

By: Maria Povec & Byron Harvison. American Alpine Club | December, 2018

The 2018 Hill to Crag series has been a remarkable success, and the AAC is grateful for REI’s support in launching this initiative. Led by AAC member and Army Major Byron Harvison, our three Hill to Crag events brought together veterans, active military members, AAC volunteers, state offices of outdoor recreation, and local, state and national policymakers to connect via a day of rock climbing.

These Hill to Crag events shift the paradigm of standard advocacy meetings. Rather than visit offices on Capitol Hill or at state capitols, AAC’s Hill to Crag series brings lawmakers to our office-- the great outdoors. In Colorado, Wyoming and North Carolina, the AAC spoke to elected officials (and/or their staff) about the power of the outdoors to address PTSD and other combat-related struggles. Also discussed were the economic benefits of public lands, stewardship, special use permitting issues and the role of state offices of outdoor recreation. The opportunity to connect as a large group, and then in smaller climbing teams, deepened the discussion and fostered meaningful connections amongst participants.

The positive impact of our 2018 events was amplified by the participation of Access Fund, Black Diamond, Petzl, local climbing organizations, state offices of outdoor recreation, Outdoor Industry Association, land managers and other partners.

We believe that we have created a formula that can be used across the country to build fruitful relationships with lawmakers and shape the discourse around public lands.

Below are more detailed recaps from each of the three events.

Golden, CO – October 12, 2018 On October 12th, the Veterans’ Section of the American Alpine Club (AAC), in coordination with the Front Range and New Mexico Chapters of the AAC, took staff from the offices of Senator Gardner (R-CO) and Senator Bennet (D-CO) climbing at North Table Mountain in Golden, CO. Also in attendance were members of Veterans Expeditions (VetEx), James Rein from the Outdoor Industry Association, and state legislator Owen Hill (Air Force Academy Grad, and representative of northern Colorado Springs). Following introductions and a tour of the American Mountaineering Museum, the group headed outside. Conversations ranged from climbing fundamentals to the benefits of outdoor recreation and climbing, in particular, for veterans. The day together opened the doors to important relationships that AAC will leverage as we advocate for public lands and access to them.

Vedauwoo, WY – October 19, 2018 On October 19th, the Veterans’ Section of the American Alpine Club (AAC) took members of the State of Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources, Wyoming Conservation

Corps, and Representative Liz Cheney’s state director climbing at Vedauwoo, WY, followed by a tour of Curt Gowdy State Park. Maj. Harvison spurred conversations by speaking to the benefits of outdoor recreation and work for veterans with PTSD, noting a statistic from 2016 that 22 veterans attempt suicide per day. He also spoke to the group about the local and national economic benefits of outdoor recreation, which was highlighted by a later conversation between this group and a number of out-of-state climbers who were gearing up at the trailhead. All participants expressed interest in remaining involved in upcoming initiatives and information exchange opportunities.

Chimney Rock, NC – November 16, 2018 On November 16th the Veterans’ Section of the American Alpine Club (AAC) in coordination with the Sandhill chapter of the AAC took Jordan Barnes of North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis’ staff, David Knight (Outdoor Recreation Industry Business Development Manager, Dept of Economic Development NC), Mary Jaeger-Gale (GM, Chimney Rock State Park), Landdis Hollifield (Event Mgr, Chimney Rock State Park), and several members of the local media climbing at Chimney Rock State Park, NC. Also in attendance were Fox Mountain Guides (facilitating equipment and climbing programming), Ron Funderburke of the AAC, and ten military veteran members of the AAC who are currently stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC. Due to some premature weather considerations, we had three legislative representatives cancel. Additionally, the Asheville REI marketing rep and store manager let us know the morning of that they were no longer going to be able to attend due to some emergent work obligations.

This event drew a number of local new stations. AAC Sandhill Chapter chair and active duty Army officer Matthew Arevian gave a powerful interview about how climbing helped his family reconnect following deployments. A member of the Golden Knights parachute team shared how climbing helped him post-deployment and following a parachute accident that will soon have him leave the Army medically.

After several hours of climbing and instruction (especially on the finer points of hard slab climbing by Ron), we gathered on top of Chimney Rock for a group pic with the gorgeous valley as a background. Everyone left with a high level of stoke, looking forward to more events, and hopefully networking with each other to see how they can get fellow veterans interested in what we do.

Thanks to the generous support of REI, the AAC was able to hire Vince Schaefer from Coldhouse Media Productions. He is currently working on a 3 minute video piece about the NC event. We will share it with you when it’s complete.

Media Coverage:

American Alpine Club Press Release. “The American Alpine Club Engages The Veteran Community With New Membership Options And Outreach.” Nov. 8, 2018.

Outdoor Journal. “Crag Caucus: Veterans and Politicians Rock Climb Together with American Alpine Club.” Nov. 12, 2018.

Teton Gravity Research. “American Alpine Club To Introduce Outreach For Veterans And Active Duty Military.” Nov. 12, 2018.

Chimney Rock coverage from Charlotte’s FOX affiliate broadcast on the evening news. Nov. 16, 2018.

Outdoor Retailer Newsletter, “Veterans in Action.” Nov. 20, 2018.

Chimney Rock coverage from ABC affiliate broadcast on the evening news. Nov. 22, 2018.

The Shutdown is Squeezing Mountain Town Economies


The Shutdown is Squeezing Mountain Town Economies

By Phil Powers and Mark Butler - American Alpine Club | January 10, 2019

OPINION: Recently featured in Adventure Journal

The American Alpine Club was founded in 1902 to advocate for all things climbing. Their mission is simple: “To support our shared passion for climbing and respect for the places we climb.” They provide education, grant funding, policy outreach, help with research projects, you name it. If it benefits climbing, they’re involved. 

Phil Powers, the CEO of AAC, and Mark Butler, the Policy Commission Chair, have grown concerned in recent days over the protracted government shutdown’s effects on climbing. An op-ed from the two is below.

With the federal budget impasse and the partial government shutdown now in its third week, the adverse impacts to America’s public lands are mounting far beyond the thousands of government workers on furlough and the well-publicized public resource degradation of our parks.

For more than a century, the American Alpine Club has been the voice of a community, currently numbering over 23,000, that regularly climbs and adventures in national parks and on public lands across the United States. The direct loss of income for government workers and the mounting resource damage to our most beloved parks is abhorrent, but many more are quietly facing hardship. Suffering in the shadows of this shutdown are tourism-based economies and small businesses that provide guided access and interpretation to our public lands.

Recognizing the livelihood of small businesses that rely on access to public lands is an issue both Republicans and Democrats can undoubtedly support. The National Park System sees an estimated half a million visitors per day in winter months. According to the Senate Appropriations Committee Minority Staff, these visitors spend approximately $19 million daily at nearby restaurants, shops, lodges, and local outfitters. What Washington may consider the off-season for our parks is in actuality economic lifeblood for thousands of non-governmental workers. For small guide services, climbing schools, and others that provide guided experiences, the economic impact of the shutdown is an unexpected loss of revenue that won’t be reimbursed when this shutdown ends.

It is estimated by The Access Fund that 60 percent of all climbing areas exist on public land. Without predictable access to those lands, visitors and students are canceling reservations. Professional climbing instruction and guiding is a labor of love with slim margins and meager profits; a situation that makes guides especially vulnerable when our politicians are attempting to score political points.


Despite Washington’s impasse, the climbing community has stepped up our volunteerism to do what we can. The Friends of Joshua Tree (a local climbing organization) for example, has been stocking bathrooms with toilet paper, emptying trash bins, reminding visitors of fire bans and other park rules. Yosemite Facelift, a joint project of Yosemite National Park and the Yosemite Climbing Association, is loaning out litter sticks and other supplies to anyone who would like to clean during the shutdown and has already hosted two informal cleanups. Yosemite Facelift writes, “We don’t feel this is a political issue, but more of a human one… Even a small group of folks cleaning up trash sends a strong message to visitors and may be more effective.”

Being a climber means many things, but it is our love for America’s wild landscapes that unites us as a community. We want our public lands to remain healthy, culturally significant, biologically diverse, and open and accessible for recreation and enjoyment. For the sake of hundreds of small businesses and the broader outdoor recreation economy that are dependent on access to and conservation of America’s public lands, we need our elected officials to pass a budget which adequately funds our public land management agencies, and ends this shutdown as soon as possible.

Phil Powers is the Chief Executive Officer at the American Alpine Club. He is also the co-owner of Jackson Hole Mountain Guides.

Mark Butler is the American Alpine Club Policy Committee Chair. He is a 38-year veteran of the National Park Service.

AAC Advocates for LWCF in 2019

 The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is our nation's premier conservation funding source for enhancing access to public lands, safeguarding watersheds and forests and supporting local outdoor recreation economies. Across the country, every county in every state benefits from LWCF. The climbing community is no different. LWCF supports climbing areas on federal lands--from Denali to Acadia National Park--as well as on state lands, from Hueco Tanks to Custer State Park. Unfortunately, LWCF expired on September 30, 2018 and the Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition estimates that our National Parks have lost over $236 million dollars in conservation funding since the LWCF expired.[1] That means places like Rocky Mountain, Yosemite, and other National Parks and National Forests need to find funding elsewhere or put their conservation goals on hold.  

The American Alpine Club (AAC) values this conservation tool for the American people and passionately advocates for the permanent reauthorization and full funding of the LWCF. While we made great strides in 2018, the LWCF was not reauthorized due to Congress’s failed attempt to pass a public lands package which included the Emery County Public Lands Management Act, LWCF, and other important legislation. We are optimistic, however, that our active lobbying in D.C., our members’ participation in action alerts, and the hard work from the conservation community-especially the Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition- will result in reauthorization of LWCF in 2019 with the 116th Congress.

What is the LWCF and How Does it Work?

Congress enacted the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act (LWCF) in 1965 to help conserve, develop and ensure access to outdoor recreation facilities for the health and welfare of US citizens. The law sought to accomplish this goal by:

  1. Providing money for land acquisition for outdoor recreation by the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Forest Service

  2. Matching funding for states on recreation planning, acquisition of recreational lands and waters and developing outdoor recreation facilities 

  3. And funding other federal government conservation programs, like the Forest Legacy program of the Forest Service.


Congress authorized the LWCF for two 25-year periods and one 3-year period (starting in 2015) and approved the Fund to accrue up to $900 million annually.[2] The primary source of funding is derived from oil and gas leasing royalties on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Unfortunately, less than half  ($18.4 billion) of the approved $40.0 billion in total revenues have been appropriated to the Conservation Fund since the Act was passed.[3] Those lost dollars go into the general fund and are allocated however Congress sees fit, instead of supporting the climbing areas we love. It is critical that we, as a conservation-minded community, demand the full funding of the LWCF annually in order to direct the greatest amount of financial backing towards outdoor recreation areas. 

The School Room Glacier on the Teton Crest Trail, Grand Teton National Park, WY. Photo Credit: Taylor Luneau

The School Room Glacier on the Teton Crest Trail, Grand Teton National Park, WY. Photo Credit: Taylor Luneau

 Where Does the Funding Go?

Of the money that has been appropriated to LWCF since the program began, 61% went to federal land acquisition, 25% to state grant programs, and the remaining 14% to other purposes (Figure 1).[4] Federal land acquisitions are particularly important to the climbing community as 60% or more of climbing areas reside on federal public lands.[5] Frog Rock on Bozeman Pass in the Gallatin National Forest, MT was one such beneficiary of these resources. With a $2.6 million contribution from LWCF, funding from the Gallatin County Open Space Program, and a land donation, the Trust for Public Land protected over 2,000 acres of land to provide clear access to Frog Rock.[6] Before this, climbers’ only option was to illegally park on I-90 and bush-whack up to the crag. 

Figure 1: Land and Water Conservation Fund appropriations in Billions of dollars to Federal, State and other sources for the Fiscal Years of 1965 to 2018.

Other public lands will be supported by LWCF as well. Currently, 9.52 million acres of Western public lands sit entirely landlocked with no legal public entry.[7] These isolated parcels contain unique recreation resources and, if fully reauthorized, the LWCF will provide the necessary financial resources to unlock portions of these public lands. With the permanent reauthorization of the Conservation Fund, state and federal government officials can rely on the much-needed revenue for future projects. 

Political Support for the LWCF:

The return on these public land investments to local economies are well worth congress’ efforts. The Trust for Public Land found that for every $1 invested in federal land acquisition through LWCF, there is a $4 return in economic value.[8] That’s partially because the outdoor recreation economy, which generates $887 billion annually in consumer spending and 7.6 million American jobs, benefits directly from the conservation of these open spaces and outdoor recreation areas.[9] Elected officials have taken notice of this trend. Political leaders like Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Governor Jared Polis (D-CO) leveraged their support of  public land protection and outdoor recreation in their election bids.[10] Following his election victory, Sen. Tester joined Sens. Steve Daines (R. MT) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) in supporting the reauthorization of LWCF at a press conference at our nation's capital. Sen. Tester said that “reauthorizing the LWCF should be Congress’s top priority.”[11]

With other issues plaguing the end of the 2018 legislative agenda, public lands and their main conservation funding source fell by the wayside. We expect that our voices will be heard and LWCF will be prioritized in the next legislative session. Communities across the country will prosper from this decision for generations to come. As climbers, we can celebrate that our climbing landscapes will profit from this financial resource through the acquisition of new public lands, the securing of access to crags, and the conservation and development of important recreational resources. The AAC will continue to work with our elected officials and advocate for this critical conservation tool.

Data extrapolated from: Center for Western Priorities. “Funding America’s Conservation Future.” August, 2018. http://westernpriorities.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/LWCFReport_Aug_2018_final.pdf

Data extrapolated from: Center for Western Priorities. “Funding America’s Conservation Future.” August, 2018. http://westernpriorities.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/LWCFReport_Aug_2018_final.pdf

[1]Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition. “#SAVELWCF” Accessed Jan. 2019. https://www.lwcfcoalition.com

[2]Congressional Research Service. “Land and Water Conservation Fund: Overview, Funding History, and Issues.” August 17, 2018. https://www.everycrsreport.com/reports/RL33531.html

[3]Congressional Research Service. “Land and Water Conservation Fund: Overview, Funding History, and Issues.” 


[5]Access Fund. “This Land Is Our Land: Climbing on Public Lands” Vertical Times. Spring 2016. Vol. 105. https://www.accessfund.org/uploads/1645_AF_VT_Spring_vWebFinal2.pdf

[6]Outdoor Industry Association. “#ICanSeeLWCF From Montana.” Accessed December, 2018. https://outdoorindustry.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/LWCF-Exemplary-Projects-Montana-v3.pdf

[7]Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Off Limits, But Within Reach. Unlocking the West’s Inaccessible Public Lands.” Accessed December, 2018. http://www.trcp.org/unlocking-public-lands/#!

[8]The Trust For Public Land. “Return On The Investment From The Land & Water Conservation Fund.” November, 2010. https://www.tpl.org/sites/default/files/cloud.tpl.org/pubs/benefits-LWCF-ROI%20Report-11-2010.pdf

[9]Outdoor Industry Association. “The Outdoor Recreation Economy.” 2017. https://outdoorindustry.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/OIA_RecEconomy_FINAL_Single.pdf

[10]  Aaron Weiss. “Winning Western candidates turned to pro-conservation messages in campaign ads.” Westwise. Nov. 19, 2018. https://medium.com/westwise/video-winning-western-candidates-turned-to-pro-conservation-messages-in-campaign-ads-8c241a6d6562?mc_cid=2542f31a80&mc_eid=702f6902aa

[11]Edward O’Brien & Nicky Ouellet. “Montana Lawmakers Push To Reauthorize LWCF Before Year’s End.” Montana Public Radio. Nov. 29, 2018. http://www.mtpr.org/post/montana-lawmakers-push-reauthorize-lwcf-years-end

Advocating for Climbers with the Economics of Outdoor Recreation

AAC Director and Policy Committee Member Peter Metcalf, incoming Director John Bird, and professional athlete and AAC member Caroline Gleich met with Congressman John Curtis to discuss the  AAC’s opposition  to his bill on Bears Ears.

AAC Director and Policy Committee Member Peter Metcalf, incoming Director John Bird, and professional athlete and AAC member Caroline Gleich met with Congressman John Curtis to discuss the AAC’s opposition to his bill on Bears Ears.

When we think about why we love climbing, we think about the sheer joy of being outdoors, the boost to our souls, the tremendous health benefits, the strengthening of character, and the awe we feel about the land and mountains we climb. But at a time when public lands and climbing are threatened by monument reductions, increased energy development, and a changing climate, we need every tool in the toolbox and every argument we can make to protect climbing and the places we love.

You may remember back in November 2016 we saw a great win for climbing and outdoor recreation with passage of the Outdoor REC Act. The REC Act directed the Bureau of Economic Analysis to measure the economic impacts of the outdoor recreation industry, just as it does for agriculture, pharmaceuticals, mining, and other industries. Quantifying the economic importance of outdoor recreation gives concrete data to better inform decisions impacting the pursuits we love and our country’s natural resources.

Last week, the Bureau came out with its first preliminary numbers for the outdoor recreation economy, putting its contribution to the total US GDP at $373.7 billion, or 2% of the US economy. For comparison, mining, oil, and gas comprise 1.4% of GDP, and agriculture (which includes farming, fishing, forestry) is 1%. The Bureau’s report also found that the outdoor recreation economy is growing at 3.8%, faster than the overall economy’s rate of 2.8%.

This data came in handy last week when the AAC Policy Team was in Washington, D.C., meeting with Congressional staff alongside our partners at Outdoor Alliance. In our discussions with Republican and Democratic staff alike on national monuments, the Recreation Not Red-Tape Act, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and other issues relevant to climbers, it was critically helpful to point to the power of outdoor recreation to our GDP, and make the economic case for climbing and our public lands.

In addition, AAC advocates recently met with Congressman John Curtis (R-UT) at his office in Provo, Utah. AAC Director and Policy Committee Member Peter Metcalf, incoming Director John Bird, and professional athlete and AAC member Caroline Gleich sat down with the Congressman to discuss the AAC’s opposition to his bill on Bears Ears. It was a productive and open conversation, and while the AAC remains opposed to the Congressman’s bill as it stands, we are building relationships on both sides of the aisle to best advocate for climbers and the places we love to climb.

If you’re interested in becoming an AAC policy advocate and meeting with your members of Congress, please reach out to Policy Director Maria Povec, [email protected] and Policy Coordinator Anna Kramer, [email protected].

Bears Ears Opened to Mining and Energy Claims

Photo: BLM

Photo: BLM

On December 4th, President Donald Trump announced his intention to reduce the size of Bears Ears National Monument by more than 80% and Grand Staircase-Escalante by half. Prior to Obama’s designation of the Bears Ears Monument, climbers have been advocating for protection of this landscape-- for its cultural significance and for its incredible splitter cracks and breathtaking desert sunsets. Since Trump’s move to reduce the monument, climbers have been active in speaking out against this drastic and possibly illegal action through protests, letters and petitions. Now, several months after Trump’s proclamation, we are seeing the implications.

On February 2nd, 2018, a small provision in the proclamation to reduce Bears Ears went into effect that opened the lands outside the monument boundaries to new mining claims and energy development. This move threatens the roughly 40% of climbing areas and the Bears Ears landscape as a whole. In addition, the Bureau of Land Management is beginning its management planning process for the new, smaller monuments. This is all despite the ongoing lawsuits and legislative debates over the reductions of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, which we hope will restore the original national monument boundaries.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is moving forward prematurely with these monument management plans, and the American Alpine Club, along with its partners, has asked the agency to wait until the dust settles from the legal and legislative battles before planning and permitting the staking of mining claims. If the lawsuits succeed and the reductions are overturned, the BLM will have wasted time and resources on a costly management planning process.

Multiple bills regarding these national monuments have also been introduced in the House of Representatives, and are currently being debated in the House Committee on Natural Resources. The outcome of these lawsuits and legislation will likely alter the final boundaries of and management directives for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante.

Join us in asking the BLM to wait until the legal and legislative debates are over before beginning any monument management planning and permitting new mining claims and energy development in the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante areas. Visit the BLM comment page to share your thoughts about the future of these landscapes. For example:

I am a rock climber and a member of the American Alpine Club. The Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante regions hold great value to our community. I am concerned by the possibility of new mining and energy development in these special places. As climbers, we ask that the Bureau of Land Management keep these areas closed to new claims, and wait to begin the management planning process until the lawsuits and legislative debates over these monuments are resolved. These areas deserve protection and a management plan that prioritizes sustainable recreation. Thank you for your consideration.

Stay tuned for more updates on Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.

AAC's Kris Tompkins on Conservation & Democracy

In 2016, AAC awarded the David R. Brower Award to Kris McDivitt Tompkins for her conservation work in South America. For more than two decades, Kris and her husband Douglas Tompkins have donated large tracts of land to the park systems of Chile and Argentina. A recent donation to the Chilean park system includes lodging, campground and dining facilities, and trails, bridges and roads. With this latest donation, more than 13 million acres have been conserved in the two countries.

Kris' recent New York Times Op-Ed is a beautiful piece about why democracy depends on preserving land for the common good. As Kris writes, "National parks, monuments and other public lands remind us that regardless of race, economic standing or citizenship, we all depend on a healthy planet for our survival...two hundred years from now let the elephants trumpet, the giant sequoias sway in stiff winds and our descendants enjoy healthy lives aware of their place in this wild thing we call nature."

Read her full piece here.

Taking Action on National Monument Reductions

After the December 4th, 2017 announcement by President Donald Trump to reduce and modify the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, our climbing community responded forcefully and quickly to oppose the decision.  Climbers joined Native American groups, conservation organizations, and many others to ensure that these treasured landscapes remain protected.  President Trump’s unprecedented actions constituted the largest reversal of federal land protection in the nation's history.

A variety of lawsuits have been filed to halt the changes to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. Two of these lawsuits were filed by environmental and conservation groups to oppose the reduction and modification of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, designated by President Bill Clinton in 1996. The remaining three lawsuits are focused on preventing the reduction and modification of Bears Ears National Monument into two smaller units with different proclamation language. One of these lawsuits was filed by the five Native American tribes representing the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, and another was filed by an array of environmental and conservation groups, including our partners at the Sierra Club and the Wilderness Society. Our partners at the Access Fund have also filed, joining a lawsuit by Patagonia, Utah Dine Bikeyah, and others.

The AAC supports the Access Fund and other plaintiff organizations as they legally challenge the reduction and modification of both monuments, particularly Bears Ears, where the proclamation explicitly acknowledged the region’s outstanding recreational values, including “world class” rock climbing as a basis for designation. As the monument litigation proceeds, the AAC will submit an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief to make clear our opposition of the reduction and modification of the monuments. We also oppose any action by the administration aimed at weakening the efficacy of Antiquities Act as a means to conserve mountain environments and to protect opportunities for climbing.

Photo: Jay Dash

Photo: Jay Dash

The AAC is actively engaged with appropriate congressional representatives and administration officials to respond to the broader legislative attacks on the national monuments that, if passed, could be even more detrimental to Utah’s desert and mountain environments and the interests of climbers than the December 4th proclamations. Presently, these threats are in the form of two bills introduced in the House of Representatives shortly after the December 4th proclamations: the Shash Jaa National Monument and Indian Creek National Monument Act, and the Grand Staircase Escalante Enhancement Act. If passed, these bills would legislatively affirm the proclamations that reduced and modified Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, effectively ending any lawsuits over these reductions because it is generally acknowledged that Congress has full authority to reduce or eliminate national monuments.

The Shash Jaa National Monument and Indian Creek National Monument Act proposes to designate the two new smaller monuments Shash Jaa and Indian Creek. Unlike the original proclamation of Bears Ears National Monument, which explicitly recognized the importance of preserving rock climbing opportunities within the area, this bill makes no reference to climbing and only minimal reference to recreation in general. By legislatively affirming a new, smaller monument containing parts of what climbers know as Indian Creek, the bill would ensure the removal of national monument protections from roughly 40% of the climbing areas within Bears Ears. Furthermore, the Shash Jaa National Monument and Indian Creek National Monument Act, like the December 4th proclamation, ignores the will of millions of Americans who spoke out in favor of protecting the original Bears Ears National Monument. This legislation undoubtedly poses a greater, more permanent threat to this area than President Trump’s December 4th reduction and modification. Therefore, the AAC is working with partners and policy makers to oppose this bill.

A similar bill has been introduced in the House regarding the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The Grand Staircase-Escalante Enhancement Act proposes to transform the three smaller units created by the December 4th proclamation into three national monuments, and create a national park and preserve within one of those units. Any land of the former Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument outside the boundaries of these new monuments and park, however, would be declared open to sale, disposal, mineral and geothermal leasing, and mining. These acts pose a significant threat to our public lands and to this incredible region in particular. Consequently, the AAC and many other conservation groups oppose this bill.

These legislative attacks would prevent the re-establishment of both the original Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, should any of the lawsuits against the President’s actions succeed. This is because the arguments of these lawsuits center on the limits of executive authority, and if they succeed, only Congress would then have the power to establish these new, smaller monuments. The AAC is working to oppose these bills and to push for new legislation to restore protections for these incredible areas and to ensure the integrity of our climbing landscapes.

The AAC is committed to working in collaboration with our partners to address critical public policy issues facing America’s mountain environments, the interests of climbers, and outdoor recreation. We advocate nationally for keeping public lands pristine, wild, and open to human-powered recreation. All of us at the AAC find a deep meaning in climbing, and we are committed to advocating for climbers and working to ensure our nation’s laws provide for thriving outdoor communities, sustained by healthy mountain environments and vibrant climbing landscapes for generations to come.

Your contributions and membership to the Club help us continue the fight for our national monuments and climbing areas. Stay tuned for more updates from your policy team.


AAC Statement on National Monument Reductions

                 North and South Six Shooters, Indian Creek. Photo by Jason Gebauer.

                 North and South Six Shooters, Indian Creek. Photo by Jason Gebauer.

December 6, 2017: On Monday, December 4, 2017, President Donald Trump signed two proclamations significantly reducing and modifying Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

This drastic and possibly illegal action will impact climbing in southeastern Utah, and has serious ramifications for the Antiquities Act, one of our most valuable conservation laws. The American Alpine Club is shocked by the scale of these reductions and modification, and we cannot support this attack.

The decision to shrink and modify these monuments ignores the millions of Americans who spoke out in favor of keeping them intact, and stands in sharp contrast to our nation’s bipartisan legacy of conservation. The announcement to reduce and modify Bears Ears disregards the years of effort by Native Americans, conservation groups, and the outdoor recreation community to protect this treasured landscape. The American Alpine Club worked alongside our partners at the Access Fund and Outdoor Alliance to advocate for this monument and to ensure that climbing in the area was recognized as a legitimate and appropriate activity. The original proclamation to establish the Bears Ears National Monument did explicitly recognize climbing as one of many “world class outdoor recreation opportunities,” but the new proclamation fails to acknowledge climbing at all. In other words, climbing is not a priority in the new versions of these monuments.

The redrawn monument boundaries create two separate and smaller areas within the Bears Ears monument: Shash Jáa, including the Bears Ears buttes, and Indian Creek, including a number of this iconic destination’s crags. While this impacts all climbing in the area, the modification results in loss of national monument protection in roughly 40% of climbing areas within the former Bears Ears boundaries, including Valley of the Gods, Harts Draw, and Indian Creek areas like the Wall and the Cliffs of Insanity.

The AAC’s concern is not limited to the cliffs and desert towers. We advocate for healthy climbing landscapes and the ecosystems that surround them. We are deeply concerned that these new national monument boundaries could lead to irreparable damage to the integrity and character of climbing in this region.

Nationwide, 71% of climbing is on public lands. The implications of these attacks for climbing areas across the country deeply concern us. Most national monuments are established by the President under the authority of the Antiquities Act of 1906, which grants the President the power to declare national monuments. The Antiquities Act is a vital conservation tool, utilized by past presidents of both parties, and has led to the protection of some of our country’s greatest climbing areas. These include Devils Tower National Monument and Colorado National Monument, as well as many national parks that began as national monuments, such as Grand Teton, Joshua Tree, and Zion national parks.

The reduction of Bears Ears & Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments represents an unprecedented assault on the Antiquities Act and a threat to climbing nationwide, and the AAC is evaluating our options for litigation or other actions. The AAC will continue our commitment to protecting our national monuments and public lands, preserving the health of our vertical playgrounds, and ensuring the vitality of the Antiquities Act.

How you can help:

Write to your member of Congress and let them know how these monument reductions impact you.

Tweet at Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and tell him how you feel about these monument reductions. Here is a suggested tweet: Decision on monuments will impact climbing and the future of our public lands, @SecretaryZinke! We #StandWithBearsEars and need to #SaveGrandStaircase. #ClimbersForBearsEars @americanalpine

Support the American Alpine Club’s efforts to protect our climbing landscapes.

Support the campaign by Friends of Cedar Mesa and Duct Tape Then Beer to build a Bears Ears Education Center and ensure visitors learn to respect and protect this landscape.


Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Under Threat

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is facing a tremendous threat. Its solitude and silence are one step closer to being replaced with noisy drilling equipment and heavy machinery.  Over the course of our 115-year history, the American Alpine Club has been committed to protecting our country’s most treasured landscapes, including the Arctic. With Congress’ budget vote last week, the future of this crown jewel is at risk.

Located in northern Alaska, the Arctic Refuge offers dramatic mountain summits, inspiration and endless adventure. As AAC Managing Director Keegan Young says, “These mountain ranges and untouched landscapes represent the wild places in our heart and mind. I’ve climbed all over the world but return to these peaks because they ignite my soul. It's not just the rugged terrain, it's the solitude and magnificent beauty.”

Last week, the United States Senate passed a budget resolution that charges the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee with reducing the federal deficit through revenues created by oil and gas leasing in the Arctic Refuge. Since the House of Representatives already passed a similar budget provision early this year, both the House and Senate will work to reconcile their budget versions before final passage and delivery to the president.

The AAC has a long legacy of scientific exploration and adventure in the Arctic—pioneering cutting-edge new routes and supporting research expeditions that have contributed valuable information to our understanding of mountain, Antarctic and Arctic ecosystems. For example, AAC Board Member Kit DesLauriers completed the first known ascent of Mount Isto in the ANWR and has been working to merge environmental science with adventure. Check out her story here.

Help protect our last great frontier: As climbers, we have a duty to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for future generations. We still have time to urge Congress to protect the Arctic Refuge and stop irresponsible energy development there.

Check out how your Senators voted. Call and tell them that you think the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is too precious to be developed and tell them how you feel about their vote: (202) 224-3121.


Banner photo by Paxson Woelber. 

AAC Board Member Stacy Bare on Defending Public Lands

"Why do we love our public lands so much? Because so many of us have felt first hand the incredible benefits of spending time in the country we fought to defend. Time outdoors for many of us, regardless of the wounds we did or did not receive, and regardless when we served, has given us a pathway to a healthier and more fulfilling life."

Read Stacy Bare's commentary in the Salt Lake Tribune here.


AAC Statement on Antiquities Act Review

American Alpine Club Statement on the Review of Designations Under the Antiquities Act

September 18, 2017: Last spring, President Trump ordered Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review all national monuments designated under the Antiquities Act since 1996 that span at least 100,000 acres or were designated “without adequate public outreach.” Zinke’s final report was not made publicly available, but The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal obtained a copy yesterday.

The American Alpine Club is concerned by Zinke’s recommendation to modify 10 national monuments, including reducing Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, Nevada’s Gold Butte, and Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou.

Any modifications will impact the future of critical climbing resources on our public lands and the Antiquities Act—the law signed by President Theodore Roosevelt to protect the important archaeological, historic and scientific assets that face imminent threat.

Theodore Roosevelt was a member of the American Alpine Club and was considered one of the most powerful voices in the history of American conservation. As climbers, we know that “there is a delight in the hardy life of the open” and that “our nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased and not impaired in value,” as Roosevelt said more than 100 years ago.

The American Alpine Club is fiercely committed to our country’s national monuments—their wild landscapes and cultural and scientific resources. Together with our partners at Access Fund and Outdoor Alliance, we were actively involved in public discussions about the creation of Bears Ears National Monument and made our position known to then Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack. As AAC Board Member Peter Metcalf says, “We best ensure our continued privilege to climb, in part, by educating others about the integral role our public lands play in the vibrancy of our economy, our cultural history, bio-diversity, and the quality of our lives.”

The American Alpine Club, with its partners, will continue its commitment to safeguard our vertical playgrounds and ensure that historic conservation tools are preserved and protected.  

How you can help:

Tweet at our President and Interior Secretary and tell them to protect our National Monuments. Feel free to use the following: Hey @realDonaldTrump and @SecretaryZinke, don't shrink our #nationalmonuments!  #keepitpublic #MonumentsForAll @americanalpine 



Bears Ears National Monument Postcard Writing Toolkit

Postcard by AAC Content Coordinator Emma Longcope

Postcard by AAC Content Coordinator Emma Longcope

The official public comment period on Bears Ears started May 12 and has been extended. It now closes on July 10. 

The Department of the Interior is, for the first time ever, asking the public to officially weigh in on the national monuments under review, per President Trump's April 26, 2017 Executive Order. We only have until July 10 to provide input during this public comment period.

Now more than ever we need your voice to help protect Bears Ears National Monument. Find out more about the Bears Ears issue here and read AAC member John Climaco's opinion piece about it here. You can also learn more by reading about our recent trip to D.C. to Climb the Hill

Why a postcard? 

The Department of the Interior accepts comments both online and by mail. Adding your name to a petition or online comment chain is important. A unique and tangible note, however, carries extra weight with elected officials. 

Click on the button below to use our pre-addressed postcard template that you can print out and send to the Department of Interior. (Tip: print double-sided with card stock paper.)

Writing Tips:

Make it personal: Share your story about why you love Bears Ears National Monument.

Provide a call to action: Ask the Department of Interior to protect Bears Ears National Monument.

Use some of the suggested messages below or craft your own. Feel free to edit these messages and add your voice.

-The Bears Ears region in southeastern Utah is one of the greatest climbing destinations in the U.S. I love to climb in the Bears Ears area because.... 

-I support the Bears Ears National Monument because it protects climbing and significant Native American cultural sites.

-The Antiquities Act is a valuable tool for protecting America's heritage.

-Do not rescind or reduce Bears Ears National Monument.

Our template includes the Department of the Interior's address, but if you're making your own, address it to: 

Monument Review, MS-1530
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 S Street NW
Washington, DC 20240

Time is running out! No time for a postcard?

You can:

Thank you for helping to preserve this wonderful place! We're stronger together.

Artwork: AAC staff member Emma Longcope

Climbers Lobby for Public Lands

Climbers and policymakers discuss the future of our public lands. Stephen Gosling photo. 

Climbers and policymakers discuss the future of our public lands. Stephen Gosling photo. 

On May 11th, 2017, the AAC and Access Fund joined forces in our nation’s capital to Climb the Hill to advocate for the protection of public lands, a robust outdoor recreation economy and adequate funding for land management agencies. With a team of 50 climbers—including Tommy CaldwellSasha DiGiulianAlex HonnoldKai Lightner and Libby Sauter—we dispersed throughout Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress and leaders of the Department of Interior and the U.S. Forest Service. Over the course of the day, we attended 50 meetings on the Hill and with agency leaders.

Climbers showed up in force and found a responsive audience. Lawmakers were impressed by the unique perspectives of the climbing community. For example, Tommy Caldwell captured their attention when he began, “Fifty percent of my days are spent living and climbing on our public lands. Public lands matter to me because...” As climbers, we are experts on the value of public lands because we know them intimately and spend significant amounts of time on them.

Climb the Hill culminated with a Congressional Briefing to further provide members of Congress and staff from both sides of the aisle with a climber’s perspective. The briefing was packed, with standing room only. Speakers included Sasha DiGiulian, Tommy Caldwell, Alex Honnold and Senator Tim Kaine (former Vice Presidential candidate).

Climb the Hill was made possible by title sponsor Adidas and with contributions from The North Face and Brooklyn Boulders.

Alex Honnold speaks to the importance of public lands. Stephen Gosling photo.

Alex Honnold speaks to the importance of public lands. Stephen Gosling photo.

What's at Stake

About 60 percent of all rock climbing areas in the US are located on federal public lands—lands which are held in trust for all Americans. However, right now, there are unprecedented threats to our public lands. Both state and federal lawmakers have introduced legislation to sell off millions of acres, weaken public management, underfund land management agencies, and increase land development at the cost of public access. These measures threaten climbing as well as the fundamental notion that our public lands belong to everyone. As climbers, we have a responsibility to speak up.

Some members of the lobbying team. Stephen Gosling photo. 

Some members of the lobbying team. Stephen Gosling photo. 

How You Can Help

As climbing grows in popularity, climbers’ voices are an increasingly influential force for public policy issues. From now until May 26th, 2017, climbers are needed to speak up for Bears Ears National Monument, the first national monument to list climbing as a valued activity in its proclamation. Bears Ears contains world-class climbing, including Indian Creek, Lockhart Basin, Arch/Texas Canyon, Comb Ridge and Valley of the Gods. President Trump’s April 26th Executive Order on the review of national monuments lists Bears Ears National Monument as the first priority for review. We need your help to communicate to the administration that the Bears Ears National Monument has incredible significance to our community and must remain protected. As Libby Sauter said during Climb the Hill, policy is determined by those who show up. Please write letters, call, email and tweet at Secretary Zinke to ensure the administration knows how much Bears Ears means to us. For more information, check out the notice issued by the Department of the Interior.

You can:

  • Use the climbers’ letter writing tool.
  • Submit comments online at http://www.regulations.gov by entering “DOI-2017-0002” in the Search bar and clicking “Search.”
  • Send snail mail to: Monument Review, MS-1530, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW., Washington, DC 20240. (use our postcard template)
  • Call the Department of the Interior with any questions: Randal Bowman, 202-208-1906.
  • Tweet at Secretary Ryan Zinke: @SecretaryZinke.
The lobbying group at the Capital. Stephen Gosling photo. 

The lobbying group at the Capital. Stephen Gosling photo. 

Looking Ahead

Climb the Hill made a strong impression on our lawmakers. AAC and AF will Climb the Hill together again next year and, in the meantime, we will continue to advocate for the protection of public lands and strive to make a lasting, positive impact.

P.S. Did you miss our live coverage from DC? Watch it here:

Executive Power over National Monuments: An AAC Member and natural resource law Scholar weighs in on the future of Bears Ears

Photo by Taylor Luneau

Photo by Taylor Luneau

Taylor Luneau, AAC member & Natural Resource Law Scholar 

As happens to many climbers on their first trip to Indian Creek, I got spanked! The splitter sandstone was relentless and the grades fleeting. With the absence of face features, it was a whole new ball game for a climber born and raised on northeast schist and granite. However, within a matter of days, the climbing style grew on me and by the end of my first week I was floating up Incredible and Generic Hand Crack, stuffing in a #2 cam every ten feet or so. The trip was a formative one and I was hooked.

Leaving our slice of Heaven was made easier only with the knowledge that the Creek would always be there, waiting for me, nestled there in the canyons with desert washes and endless red rock walls. And, as many did on December 28th, 2016, I celebrated after President Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation establishing Bears Ears National Monument—a 1.35 million acre area area in San Juan County, Utah that encompasses Indian Creek, as well as the Valley of the Gods and Arch Canyon. This Presidential Proclamation is the first to recognize rock climbing as a valued activity and to ensure it as a priority in the management plan. It conserves these climbing meccas for future generations and for my chance of reunion. Or so I thought.

Today, the future of the Bears Ears is uncertain. Utah’s political leadership has formally requested that the President rescind Bears Ears National Monument through a joint resolution. As a legal scholar, I began to investigate if President Trump could actually lawfully abolish the designation of Bears Ears’ national monument status.

The short answer is NO!

But that answer is riddled with caveats and requires an understanding of The Antiquities Act, the law that enables the President to designate National Monuments.

The Antiquities Act of 1906

The Antiquities Act has been used to create more than 100 national monuments and protect 80 million acres of federal land since it was passed in 1906 (1). While the Antiquities Act gives the President authority to declare national monuments, it’s silent about the abolishment of a national monument. The core provisions of the Antiquities Act:

1) Give the President the authority to declare historic landmarks, prehistoric structures and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon lands owned or controlled by the Federal Government to be National Monuments.

2) Allow that the amount of land reserved must not exceed the smallest area necessary for its proper management. (2)

The Antiquities Act is clear about the President’s authority to create national monuments, but does the President have the authority to reverse a national monument designation?

In 1938, President Roosevelt considered abolishing the Castle Pickney National Monument in South Carolina. However, his Attorney General, Homer Cummings, said the President had no such authority because the law did not authorize the President to abolish national monuments (3). As a result, President Roosevelt did not change the status of the monument. While Roosevelt could not undo Pickney National Monument, it was eventually abolished by Congress in 1956 (4). Although Cummings advice was not a judicial ruling, his statement was the only legal authority to provide a statutory interpretation (5). Cumming's legal analysis was challenged for the first time ever this past week by conservative legal scholars at the American Enterprise Institute but their argument raises constitutional issues and overreach by the Executive Office. 

Although Presidents do not have the authority to abolish national monuments, they have altered monument sizes in order to meet the smallest area compatible criteria. (6) For example, Woodrow Wilson reduced the size of Mount Olympus National Monument in 1915. (7)

If President Trump attempts a full revocation of Bears Ears National Monument, litigation will follow. While courts would likely deny an Executive Order to fully repeal Bears Ears, the President may attempt to alter the size of the monument to meet the smallest area compatible to protect the cultural resources. Such an attempt would require the President to establish that the Monument was designated unnecessarily large for the protection of the scientific, historic or archeological objects of interest-- a fact that would likely be challenged by the Native American Tribes who claim ancestral ties to the landscape. Another consideration here is that The Federal Land Policy Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) bars the Secretary of the Interior from altering the boundaries of monuments on BLM land so any Executive Order that attempts to direct the Secretary to make adjustments would not be legal (8). 

Congressional Discretion & Implications for Bears Ears National Monument

While the President does not have legal authority to undo a national monument, Congress does. Congress has broad discretion over national monuments primarily because of the Constitution’s Property Clause, which provides Congress the power to make decisions about public lands in the United States. Therefore, Congress does have the constitutional authority to create, modify, and abolish national monuments and it has exercised each of these powers in the past. (9)

What now?

The Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service, in cooperation with the Bears Ears Commission, will continue to work together to create and implement a management plan for the new national monument. Recreation, conservation and tribal groups will be watching closely as the Trump administration and Congress sets its public lands priorities.

In the meantime, as climbers, we must continue to speak up together about why public lands matter and why we value the Bears Ears area in particular. Let’s push back against efforts to weaken federal land protections and undermine conservation designations. We need to vigilantly remind our legislators that we want to keep our public lands in public hands.

Finally, I encourage you all to continue to support groups like the American Alpine Club and Access Fund that persistently look out for the preservation of our climbing landscapes. I’ll be there with you, because the indigenous peoples, the land, water, and wildlife of the Bears Ears region deserve this monument designation. And … I want a second chance at sending Anunnaki in the Creek.


Taylor Luneau, American Alpine Club Member

Dual Masters Candidate, 2018: Master of Environmental Law and Policy, Vermont Law School and Master of Science in Natural Resources, University of Vermont



[1] Coggins, Wilkinson, Leshy, Fischman, Federal Public Land and Resources Law, p. 394, 7th Ed., Foundation Press, 2014.

[2] Id.

[3] 39 Op. Att’y Gen. 185, 187 (1938).

[4] Vincent, Carol Hardy, National Monuments and the Antiquities Act, Congressional Research Service, p. 2, 2017.

[5] Id.

[6] Antiquities Act 1906-2006, National Parks Service Archeology Program, https://www.nps.gov/archeology/sites/antiquities/MonumentsList.htm (Last updated Dec. 28, 2016).

[7] Id.

[8] Federal Land Policy Management Act of 1976, https://www.blm.gov/or/regulations/files/FLPMA.pdf

[9] U.S. Const. art. IV, §3, cl. 2.

Standing Up for Indian Creek

John Climaco Climbing in Southeast Utah in the 1980s.

John Climaco Climbing in Southeast Utah in the 1980s.

By AAC member John Climaco

Canyonlands first captured me in the spring of 1984 as a skinny, 16-year-old Ohio boy. Years earlier I’d stumbled across a 1966 issue of National Geographic covering the first ascent of the Titan. Entranced by this wild adventure, I stole the only copy from our school library just to have it to myself. I devoured every story of the hard-living desert climbing pioneers I could, but nothing I’d read prepared me for the descent into Indian Creek and the desert of my dreams on my first time. No words could possibly capture the quiet, and the freedom.

In those days, you could have Indian Creek all to yourself on a spring weekend. The Anasazi art and the even more ancient sandstone towers were your silent and only companions. It was a place where you were free to create your own adventures and be the outlaw of your youthful imaginings. Looking back, it recently dawned on me that the very thing which seduced me about the desert may be precisely what imperils it. As the vast emptiness of the desert begets a feeling of endless freedom, it is easy to lapse into a comforting sense of the timelessness of the landscape. It is too easy to let that freedom lull us into assuming that what was here yesterday to be enjoyed today will still be there for us tomorrow.

The fact is that while we see these lands as our birthright, others see them as a vast piggy bank. Whether it was silver to fund a booming new nation, uranium to fuel the cold war or petroleum to fill our tanks, these lands have always held the promise of riches far more bankable than the ephemeral wealth we build there. Only a tiny portion of our public lands are entirely secured from those who wish to tap, mine or drill for personal profit. Would anyone seeking those rewards see our climbing community as a legitimate constituency to be respected and accounted for in use planning and public lands access? Maybe not a generation ago, but things are changing.

Like the echoes of pitons being driven into sandstone, the outlaw era of climbing is gone. Today, climbing is a mainstream sport. The power of our collective voice has grown and so has our capacity to give back to the lands that have given us so much. In speaking together, we have made a significant difference in communicating the value of these lands. The recent Bears Ears National Monument proclamation was the first ever presidential proclamation to list rock climbing as an acceptable and appropriate activity. We spoke up together and we were heard.

Unfortunately, efforts are already underway to dismantle Bears Ears National Monument. The Utah legislature recently passed a resolution, HCR 11, asking the Trump administration to rescind Bears Ears National Monument. Undoing the monument would be unprecedented and would put our other national treasures at risk.

A call to your congressman today will take less time than racking up for tomorrow’s adventures. Thousands of such calls, mainly by hunters and fishermen, recently led Representative Chaffetz (R – UT) to withdraw his disastrous bill which would have allowed a massive transfer of public lands into corporate ownership. If each of us made a single call to protect Indian Creek and the surrounding Bear’s Ears National Monument, could we secure it forever? I’d like to think so.

A few years ago, on yet another climbing and exploring trip from my home in Northern Utah, I saw a sight so incongruous with my sense of the desert landscape I had to stop the car and stare: a drilling rig tapping away yards from the entrance to Canyonlands National Park. I gawked at its gravel containment platform and wondered what law could ever permit this eyesore? Who will clean it up? Was anyone out there who cared enough to do something about it? 

Finally, it struck me: I was.

John Climaco today with his children

John Climaco today with his children


Here's How You Can Take Action:

It is imperative that we communicate our stance on public land policy to our elected representatives. Contact of your federal representatives by calling the Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected.

Can’t remember who your representatives are? Look them up here:  

U.S. Senate: https://www.senate.gov/ 

House of Representatives: http://www.house.gov/representatives/

And if picking up the phone terrifies you, consider writing an Op-ed or Letter to the Editor. Not sure where to start? Check out this great resource from our partners at Outdoor Alliance.


For some legal background on the future of Bears Ears, check out AAC Member Taylor Luneau's article Executive Power Over National Monuments

Protect Bears Ears National Monument

Photo: Emma Longcope 

Photo: Emma Longcope 

Southeast Utah is one of the most revered climbing destinations in the United States, and climbers have been strong and influential advocates for its protection. Our collective efforts paid off when on December 28, 2016, President Obama declared the region a national monument and listed climbing in the proclamation.

However, efforts are underway to dismantle the newly designated Bears Ears National Monument. In the upcoming weeks, newly appointed Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke (former Montana Congressman) will set his priorities for public lands. He will be in a position to influence President Trump's decision on whether or not to rescind Bears Ears National Monument.

Please help us speak up for Bears Ears! We need as many climbers as possible to urge Zinke to protect the national monument. The easy letter writing tool has content you can use and as always, we love when you add your own voice from a climber's perspective.


We joined our partners at Access Fund, Outdoor Alliance, Outdoor Industry Association, Friends of Indian Creek, and Salt Lake Climbers Alliance to ask Secretary-designee Ryan Zinke to protect Bears Ears National Monument and the Antiquities Act as a tool to protect public lands.

Read our letter below: