It has recently been brought to the attention of CRAG-VT that a new rule has been proposed by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. The rule would prohibit any type of climbing on Wildlife Management Areas (WMA).
“A proposed rule to regulate public activities on lands owned by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department was approved with the first of three votes by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Board.
The proposed rule would apply to public activities on more than 133,000 acres managed by the department for the conservation of fish and wildlife and to provide many public benefits and activities.
The proposed rule allows the public to engage in fish and wildlife-based activities, including hunting, fishing, trapping, wildlife viewing, photography and more. It regulates activities on the land with particular attention to those activities that may be incompatible.”
We are asking that you help us take action in order to preserve our ability to climb on WMA land. To view a list of all areas that will be affected, click here: http://www.vtfishandwildlife.com/wma_maps.cfm. Areas affected include, Snake Mountain, Huntington Gap, Avrill Mountain, Bird Moutnain, and many others..
To view the complete rule click here: http://www.vtfishandwildlife.com/rules/Hunting_and_trapping/Rule_Governing_Public_Use_of_VFWD_Lands.pdf
Please take a few moments of your time and comment on this rule here: http://www.anr.state.vt.us/fwd/PublicComments1.aspx.
(or you can comment via the Access Fund Action Page: http://www.accessfund.org/c.tmL5KhNWLrH/b.5208267/k.8C84/Action_Center/siteapps/advocacy/ActionItem.aspx?c=tmL5KhNWLrH&b=5208267&aid=518821)
Below is a statement written by Seth Maciejowski, President of CRAG-VT, that should help you with your comment.
I wanted to add my comments to proposed statute 10VSA app 15. I am a regular participant in and advocate for recreational rock climbing. I would like to say that this activity affords an excellent, pedestrian based, opportunity to observe fish and wildlife in their natural habitat in a low impact fashion. Climbers have worked over the years with the Agency of Natural Resources to ensure that climbing is compatible with the goal of preservation of natural communities on State Forests and State Parks. We have extensive experience working with conservation biologists on peregrine falcon restoration efforts and climbers adhere to bans put in place on cliffs during peregrine nesting season. Additionally, CRAG-VT has worked with state biologists to locate endangered sedges and to disseminate this information to the community to prevent damage to these species. Vermont has a very limited number of climbing resources (many of which are on private land and off limits to public use) and it would be unfortunate to place more of those areas (the WMAs) off limits to a user group that has generally a low impact on the resource and a high compliance rate with regulations placed on state lands. I would respectfully encourage Vermont Fish and Wildlife to reconsider the proposed ban of recreational rock climbing under 10VSA App 15.
Thank you for your consideration,