Climbing Management Plan and Workshop Registration

Last Updated November 04, 2020
The imposing Seneca Rocks of Monongahela National Forest

The imposing Seneca Rocks of Monongahela National Forest (Forest Service photo)

Monongahela National Forest
Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area
Climbing Management Plan

Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area (NRA), part of Monongahela National Forest, is home to spectacular rock climbing opportunities. In addition to the storied history of climbing at Seneca Rocks, Smoke Hole Canyon and other areas are becoming increasingly popular. In response to this increased demand, the Forest Service is developing a rock Climbing Management Plan (CMP) to address issues and concerns related to climbing, and to develop a shared vision for the future of climbing within the NRA.

The CMP will be informed through three series of public workshops. The first workshops will focus on better understanding popular climbing locations, the culture at each, and issues both present and anticipated. The second series of workshops will focus on development of management actions to protect resources and promote an improved visitor experience. The final series will be held after the release of a draft CMP and will offer an opportunity for critique and revision of the CMP.

What makes a successful climbing management plan?

The CMP will be a practical document meant to capture the priorities shared by the climbing community and Forest Service, not a legal decision document authored through formal National Environmental Policy processes. Projects and actions described in the CMP may be included in future National Environmental Policy Act planning processes.

Most NRA climbing locations are within an area scheduled to be analyzed beginning in 2022. This means that actions developed within the CMP and authorized through the National Environmental Policy Act process may be implemented as early as 2024.

Supporting Documents

Your Input is Needed

We want to hear your thoughts, and you don’t even have to leave home! Attend a planning workshop or submit comments, questions, or suggestions to ClimbingMP@usda.gov

Register for a Workshop

To register for a workshop, please email ClimbingMP@usda.gov with “CMP Workshop Registration” in the subject line. Workshops are a great opportunity to provide your perspective – see below for dates, times, and topics. Series #1 and series #2 workshops will all be held digitally via video chat. 

Registration is required to participate in a workshop.

Please include the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your preferred email address
  • Your association to the area. Choose one of the following:
    • Climber associated with rock climbing group or business (please list organization name)
    • Climber not associated with a group
    • Local resident
    • Other: please explain
  • Which workshop(s) would you like to register to attend.

You will receive an email confirming your registration was received. You will then receive a link to the workshop the day before it is scheduled.

Workshop Schedules

Series #1 

  • All times 6:00-8:00 p.m. Eastern.
  • Held digitally via video chat.
  • All workshops in this series will have the same agenda. 
  • Focus on what climbers value in this area and what they envision the future of climbing here as
  • More workshops may be added if necessary.

Climbing Locations, Values, and Issues

Thursday, August 20

Workshop agenda and notes

Tuesday, August 25

Workshop agenda and notes

Thursday, August 27

Workshop agenda and notes

Tuesday, September 1

Workshop agenda and notes

Series #2

  • Held digitally via video chat
  • Focus on development of management actions to protect resources and promote an improved visitor experience.

Proposed Issue Solutions

TBD Winter/Spring 2021

Workshop will focus on specific issues

TBD Winter/Spring 2021

Workshop will focus on specific issues

TBD Winter/Spring 2021

Workshop will focus on specific issues

TBD Winter/Spring 2021

Workshop will focus on specific issues

Series #3

  • Held after the release of a draft CMP
  • Will offer an opportunity for critique and revision of the CMP

Topics: Draft Climbing Management Plan Review

Summer 2021

Review of Draft CMP

Summer 2021

Review of Draft CMP

Summer 2021

Review of Draft CMP

Summer 2021

Review of Draft CMP

Just Can't Wait? 

You can can help today by sharing this page on social meda. We even have a social shareable that we welcome you to include. 

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Contact Us

Climbing Ranger Jonny Hudson

Climbing Ranger Jonny Hudson (Forest Service photo)

Cheat-Potomac Ranger District

District Ranger Jon Morgan

2499 North Fork Highway
Petersburg, WV 26847
304-257-4488 (Voice & TDD)

To comment:

Submit comments on Climbing Management Plan to: ClimbingMP@usda.gov

Project Lead

North Zone Recreation Staff Officer Alex Schlueter
Alexander.Schlueter@usda.gov
304-257-4488 x7114

About Climbing Plans

There are numerous climbing management plans (CMPs) across the country and, according to Access Fund, analysis of successful CMPs reveals certain key elements.

Successful CMPs:

  • Satisfy statutory requirements and internal agency guidance where applicable
  • Provide information about status and contextual importance of resource values, climbing activity and use patterns, and effects of climbing activity on identified resource values
  • Build cooperative relationships between climbers and resource managers
  • Provide management direction that is the minimum necessary to protect resources and is implemented on a graduated scale from indirect measures (e.g. education) to direct measures (restrictions)
  • Articulate climbing as a recreational experience, and describe the variety of climbing opportunities as values
  • Identify management alternatives that address climbing impacts in a manner that is consistent with management approach to other recreation groups

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