Permanent Anchors and Wilderness

In November, the National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) both released draft policies that if implemented unchallenged could possibly result in the prohibition of fixed anchors (bolts, pitons, slings) in America’s Wilderness areas.

These proposed policies are a significant threat to recreational climbing in areas such as Yosemite, Rocky Mountain National Park, Joshua Tree, the Wind Rivers, and the Sierra Nevada.

Club members are strongly encouraged to submit personal comments in response to both the NPS and USFS proposals before 30 January 2024 when the comment period ends.

To assist Club members understand the proposed directives, they have been summarized here: Summary of Proposed Wilderness Directives

The Appendix contains additional details of the proposals and information about the regulatory background.

Other Sources of Information

The Access Fund has some pointers here:

And similar from the American Alpine Club:

There are some useful arguments in this 2022 AAC submission on a Climbing Management Plan for Joshua Tree

Further background can be found in this Access Fund podcast

How to Comment on the USFS Proposal

The full language of the proposed directive can be found at:

You can comment online at:

The comment period closes 30 January 2024, 11:59:59 pm Eastern Standard Time.

How to Comment on the NPS Proposal

You can find a pdf ‘Draft authorization process for fixed anchors in Wilderness_10-11-23’ describing the proposed NPS directive at

This webpage also provides a link to allow you to comment online. 

The comment period closes 30 January 2024, 11:59:59 pm Mountain Time.