CLIMBING -- Rock climbers are feeling the pinch and the need to get involved in agency decisions.
- Smith Rocks State Park, a prized rock climbing area near Portland, Ore., is closing camping at the area during winter. Climbers are trying to work with officials for a solution.
- At Castle Rocks Recreation Area in southern Idaho, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has closed 400-acres including a popular rock climbing area, making it off-limits to climbers and campers. The closure is set to last two years as the agency plans how to cope with the impacts climbers have on the land.
The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation manages the majority of the recreation area that includes giant granite spires known as Castle Rocks. But a section of the 1,440-acre state park near Almo in the south-central Idaho desert is part of the Sawtooth National Forest and managed by the BLM.
An environmental study of climbing at Castle Rocks prompted the BLM to close the land to recreationists. The study found that there was an impact, which required additional review.