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Jun 07, 2021

10 - Climbing & The Commons

by: CJ Pais

Game04 post 10/10


The start of this podcast episode is talking about how climbers should work together with public land managers like the USFS (US Forest Service) and BLM (Bureau of Land Management) to maintain these lands.

This is super necessary as "nearly 60% of climbing in the US takes place on public lands". This amount of climbing can really impact the lands, and puts a large burden on the land managers. So much so that historically climbing was nearly banned from many public lands. Not to mention the burden on the land managers, who may not know a lot about climbing and already have a lot of competing interests with limited resources.

Crag maintenance is specialized to climbing and not something that falls under the jurisdiction of land managers. This could take the for of maintaining bolts. However something like trail maintenance and signage is totally within the realm of land managers and something that makes sense for them to do. This open communication between the two groups is important, as we want to become partners to make climbing in these places are better. Not to mention we want to make the job on the land managers easy, so they are willing to work with climbers.

It is up to the climbers as a group to stand up and say we care about climbing on this public land, and it is our responsibility to help maintain this public land to put as little stress on the land managers, while improving ways for climbers to access climbing areas.


I think my big takeaway from this first 6:30 of the podcast was that since "lands are managed for the benefit of the American People" we all must stand together to take care of the land. Certainly this is the problem of the commons, and it really does take all of us. This is where outside organizations, you could even call them "special interest groups" are important. They can help represent populations of people who are using the lands, but those groups should be putting in effort to maintain the land as much as they are benefiting from it. A mutualistic relationship.

I think this is something relatively well understood in the outdoor community, but as more people join, some of that could be lost. This podcast highlights the importance once again, and sheds light on the issue of the commons and our responsibility to take care of it.

How can we do something similar for internet commons? Something inherent about broadcasting degradation of lands. Or supporting new use cases? How can groups form to make sure there interests are represented, and beyond this how can they be directly involved in management of the commons?