Climbing Management Plan and Workshops
Last Updated July 12, 2021
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.
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.
Climbing Locations, Values, and Issues
Thursday, August 20 2020
Tuesday, August 25 2020
Thursday, August 27 2020
Tuesday, September 1 2020
Proposed Issue Solutions
Development of management actions to protect resources and promote an improved visitor experience.
Topics: Draft Climbing Management Plan Review
Held after the release of a draft CMP
Just Can't Wait?
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Cheat-Potomac Ranger District
District Ranger Jon Morgan
2499 North Fork Highway
Petersburg, WV 26847
304-257-4488 (Voice & TDD)
Submit comments on Climbing Management Plan to: ClimbingMP@usda.gov
North Zone NEPA Planner Amy Albright
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.
- 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