2016 D.C. Lobby Day

In February 2016, a group of board members, partners and AAC member Conrad Anker, climbed Capitol Hill to talk with policymakers and advocate for the places we climb. We found that there is a high regard among many of our elected officials and their staffs—as well as from agency representatives—about the AAC and its members. We focused on the following issues:

  • Land Water Conservation Fund: A bipartisan effort to protect natural treasures and outdoor recreation. For more than 50 years, LWCF has protected  5 million acres of land and supported more than 41,000 state and local park projects. We want to ensure LWCF is permanently reauthorized and fully funded in the long-term.

  • Centennial Act: An effort to address critical maintenance and improvement projects in our national parks as the National Park Service prepares to celebrate its centennial next year. We want to see a bipartisan bill that builds on recent funding increases and ensures our climbing landscapes remain healthy and supported for the next 100 years.

  • Recreation Economic Contribution Act (Rec Act): A bill that would require the government to officially measure the impact of outdoor recreation on the U.S. economy. We believe that the Rec Act will raise the policy profile of the outdoor community and emphasize the importance of protecting public lands.

  • Bears Ears: An effort to permanently protect valuable climbing areas in southeastern Utah (includes Indian Creek, Valley of the Gods and Lockhart Basin to name a few). Whether protection is done through a national monument designation or through legislation, we are working to ensure that rock climbing is acknowledged as an acceptable activity.

  • Director’s Order 41: A National Park Service order that states that climbing is a legitimate activity in Wilderness, and that fixed anchors are necessary for climbing. We are working to ensure this precedent will also be adopted by other agencies including the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.
Meeting with staffers, leaders and decision makers on the hill makes a difference. If we don’t, who will? I’ve seen time and again where the simple act of spending time talking about what you are passionate about makes a difference.
— Paul Gagner, former AAC Board Member