FSM 2355 Climbing Opportunities #ORMS-3524

Commenting on This Project

FSM 2355 Climbing Opportunities #ORMS-3524

The USDA Forest Service is requesting public input on the proposed directives related to climbing management on National Forest System (NFS) lands. The proposed directives would add a new section (2355 – Climbing Opportunities) to Forest Service Manual (FSM) 2300 - Recreation, Wilderness, and Related Resource Management, Chapter 2350 - Trail, River, and Similar Recreation Opportunities. The Forest Service was directed by the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act “…to issue general guidance on rock climbing management for National Forest System lands, including the application of the Wilderness Act (Public Law 88-577) for rock climbing and appropriate use of equipment in wilderness areas, within 180 days of enactment of this Act.” Joint Explanatory Statement (p. 75). To address impacts associated with increased climbing on NFS lands and consistent with the Joint Explanatory Statement, the Forest Service is proposing revisions to its directives to provide guidance on climbing opportunities on NFS lands.

The proposed directive would provide guidance on climbing opportunities inside and outside wilderness on NFS lands and would provide for climbing opportunities that serve visitor needs; meet land management and recreation policy objectives; emphasize the natural setting of NFS lands; align with natural and cultural resource protection and the Agency’s responsibility to Indian Tribes; and are consistent with applicable law, directives, and the applicable land management plan.

Specifically, the proposed directive would add a new section, 2355, to Forest Service Manual (FSM) 2300 – Recreation, Wilderness, and Related Resource Management, Chapter 2350 – Trail, River, and Similar Recreation Opportunities, which would provide that climbing is an appropriate use of NFS lands (proposed FSM 2355.03, para. 1)—including in wilderness—when conducted in accordance with applicable law and Forest Service directives and consistent with the applicable land management plan (proposed FSM 2355.03, para. 4); that a climbing management plan be developed, as funding and resources allow, for climbing opportunities in wilderness, and for climbing opportunities outside wilderness where the District Ranger determines that climbing is causing adverse resource impacts or use conflicts (proposed FSM 2355.21); that fixed anchors and fixed equipment are installations for purposes of section 4(c) of the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1133(c)) (proposed FSM 2355.32, para. 1); that a Forest Supervisor may authorize the placement or replacement of fixed anchors and fixed equipment in wilderness based on a case-specific determination that they are the minimum necessary for administration of the area for Wilderness Act purposes, including primitive or unconfined recreation and preservation of wilderness character (proposed FSM 2355.32, para. 1); that existing fixed anchors and fixed equipment in wilderness may be retained pending completion of a Minimum Requirements Analysis, as funding and resources allow, that determines they are the minimum necessary to facilitate primitive or unconfined recreation or otherwise preserve wilderness character (FSM 2355.32, para. 5);); and that the issuance and administration of special use permits are encouraged to enhance visitor access to climbing opportunities and visitor education concerning low impact climbing practices (proposed FSM 2355.03, para. 9).

The minimum 120-day Tribal consultation for the proposed directive was initiated November 8, 2021, and will conclude at the end of the 60-day comment period for the proposed directive. After the comment period closes, the Forest Service will consider timely comments that are within the scope of the proposed directive in the development of the final directive. A notice of the final directive, including a response to comments, will be posted on the Forest Service’s webpage at https://www.fs.usda.gov/about-agency/regulations-policies.

Please see the attached documents for the full language of the proposed directive.


The Forest Service values public participation. Communications from the public regarding this project, including commenters' names and contact information, will become part of the public record. Comments, including anonymous comments, will be accepted at any time. However, comments posted after the close of a designated comment period may not be able to be given full consideration.

Your comments are requested through 1/16/2024 11:59:59 PM (Eastern Standard Time).

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