ABC Bulletin No.1
PRIVILAGES ON OUR WILD LANDS
Our bolting regulations have been in place for several years and until recently, not one incident of non-compliance had been reported! Most of us realize that climbing in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) is a privilege and not a right. Since we all share the access and we all share the accountability, it may be a good time to revisit our guidelines.
1) All bolting activity in the Refuge requires a permit from the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).
2) The FWS is the sole entity that authorizes application requests.
3) Evaluations are made, and approval granted, based entirely on aesthetic and natural resource criteria.
4) The Advisory Bolting Committee (ABC) acts in an advisory role only.
5) There are four quarterly review periods a year.
6) A log reflecting all new and upgraded fixed gear routes is on display at the Visitor Center.
7) For legal and specifics, pick up an Application Packet at Refuge Headquarters or the Visitor Center
WHAT'S OUT THERE AND WHERE?
In effect, the recently published guidebook is a bolt census. It documents the majority of fixed anchors occurring in the Refuge and serves as a base reference for users and regulators alike:
1) Unauthorized bolts popping up, or existing bolts vanishing in established areas will undoubtedly be reported by the user community and acted upon by the FWS.
2) Determinations can be made on suspect placements without the identity of a perpetrator. Ascertaining the origin or legality of a bolt isn't as challenging as it may seem. For example, the vintage of the hardware may date the placement.
HELP SAFEGUARD NON-DOCUMENTED BOLTS
There are fixed gear routes out there that predate regulation, but didn't make the guidebook. These non-documented routes are modest in number and generally occur in obscure, secret or forgotten areas, only to be rediscovered. Please report any fixed gear routes that didn't make the guidebook to the ABC. While most of these areas are on record with us, this notation will help assure that rediscovered routes (i.e., legal) are not erroneously misidentified.
NEIGHBORLY CRIME WATCH
Losing our privilege to climb in the Refuge would be a crime. Abusing our privilege to climb in the Refuge is a crime. As stakeholders, it's our obligation and responsibility to hold one another accountable. Please notify Refuge personnel if you see or hear suspicious bolting activity.
1) Authorized bolters must carry an official FWS permit. Make it your business, ask to see what one looks like.
2) Power drills are prohibited in the Charons Garden Wilderness Area, even for authorized bolters.
3) Report suspicious bolting activity to:
Refuge Headquarters: (580) 429-3221 (attention: Betsy Rosenbaum) or the ABC
THE FINE PRINT
Since June of 1996, the FWS has required the approval of a Fixed Anchor Application prior to the placement, replacement or removal of fixed anchors in the Refuge. Refuge management, in association with the climbing community, has developed guidelines for the placement of fixed anchors which minimize negative impacts to Refuge resources while allowing new development of quality fixed gear routes. This process is part of a comprehensive management plan for rock climbing designed to insure that the activity remains a compatible recreational use of the Refuge. Any person placing, replacing or removing fixed anchors without permit approval is subject to fines and penalties as specified by the FWS.