New Legislation Keeps Access Fund Busy in Washington, DC Issues that impact climbing on public lands, including the 1872 Hardrock Mining Law reform, the FLAME Act, roadless area protection, climate change, and the economic stimulus bill, and O
In the months since the change of administration on Capitol Hill, the Access Fund and our Outdoor Alliance partners have been busy advocating for the interests of the human-powered recreation community on a variety of issues that impact climbing on public lands, including the 1872 Hardrock Mining Law reform, the FLAME Act, roadless area protection, climate change, and the economic stimulus bill, and Obama’s 2010 budget for public lands. Here’s a run down of our latest work:
Advocating for Mining Law Reform
Today, hundreds of our favorite climbing areas—like Canyonlands, UT and Ouray, CO—still suffer from the toxic legacy left behind by decades of irresponsible mining practices. In late February, the Access Fund submitted testimony on behalf of the Outdoor Alliance to the US House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee for a legislative hearing on hardrock mining reform.
This testimony provided specific recommendations for meaningful mining reform, including a fair royalty system to fund abandoned mine cleanup, elevated environmental protection standards, and the protection of special places, such as designated wilderness, national monuments, wild and scenic rivers, wilderness study areas, and inventoried roadless areas.
These recommendations strive to achieve a balance between continued mining and protection of our federal lands that are valued for their landscapes, ecosystems, and recreational opportunities.
The Outdoor Alliance believes that in addition to the natural and social values embodied by America’s unique public lands, the economic benefits of outdoor recreation in places like Moab, UT, should be protected from past and future practices of the mining industry.
Climate Change and Public Lands Protection
As climbers, we know the direct impact of climate and healthy landscapes on our outdoor pursuits. Many of us have seen firsthand the disturbing changes being wrought upon our favorite ice pitches and alpine routes. Now, more than ever, it’s critical for the outdoor recreation community to have a voice in climate change policy.
In early March, the Outdoor Alliance testified before the House Natural Resources Committee on the importance of not only protecting flora and fauna, but also taking into account the human use aspects of federal land, including outdoor recreation, when considering climate change “adaptation” policies. Our testimony also advocated for the protection of federal land as natural carbon reservoirs that help mitigate global warming by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and encouraged thoughtful use of that land for renewable energy projects.
Our public lands provide places for Americans to stay connected to the natural world, creating a bond that will reinforce our commitment and collective endurance to help stabilize our climate.
Congress Fires up the FLAME Act
Many of us have seen our local climbing areas closed for extended periods of time due to wildfires and the depletion of Forests Service budgets needed to fight these fires. Turkey Rock in CO, Corte Madera in CA, and Paradise Forks in AZ are just a few such areas.
Today, nearly one-half of the Forest Service’s annual budget is consumed by fighting forest fires. When these fires get out of control,