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Proposed Wilderness Plan Threatens Christmas Tree Pass

Christmas Tree Pass, Nevada. The National Park Service initially proposed a wilderness plan that would remove about 300 bolts from the crag–an unprecedented motion. The public can comment on the proposed plan through July 2, 2010. [Photo] John Hegyes

The National Park Service has proposed an unprecedented wilderness plan that calls for the removal of about 300 bolts from several remote climbs at Christmas Tree Pass in southern Nevada. This plan would be the first to not only ban, but also require the removal of fixed anchors. At many national parks, including Yosemite, Zion and the Black Canyon, fixed anchors can be placed under careful guidelines and existing anchors are nearly always left alone.

In the case of Christmas Tree Pass, the NPS has cited the protection of archeological resources and wilderness character as reasons for supporting the stringent plan. However, Park Service officials were unaware of the frequency that the area was used, Access Fund Policy Director Jason Keith said. The popularity of the area has been brought to the attention of the NPS, which has extended the comment period until July 2.

For years, Access Fund has been lobbying for national standards for fixed anchors in wilderness, which would facilitate consistent policy-making in the future regarding local rules, Keith said. Climbers are encouraged to submit comments to the NPS that provide viable solutions for preserving the integrity of the Christmas Tree Pass area for all users. See to view the plan and comment.

Sources: Jason Keith,