Friday, February 16, 2007

Victory and Why You Matter

We tend to feel insignificant when it comes to policy issues. This is why we shouldn't.

In the legal battle in San Diego county over climbing access the climbers have won round one. This was a purely grass roots victory and would not have happened without your input. It's only round one, with a lot of work left to do, but this is why you should stay informed and involved in issues that matter to you.

A quick recap:

The Forest Servce proposed bird closure rulings that would affect many climbing areas in San Diego county.

These are supported by local climber, guidebook author, and Access Fund representative Dave Kennedy.

Local climbers dig into the issue and find that some of the cliffs involved in the closures are not nesting habitats of the birds involved. San Diego activist Jeff Brown aided by his wife, wildlife biologist Keli Balo, publish fliers calling for community support.

Kennedy counters, calling for commnunity acceptance. The Access Fund, the only national organization for climbing access, supports Kennedy initially.

Brown finds that the proposed closures are not only sloppy but illegal. Furthermore, he finds evidence that Kennedy "swapped" crags with the USFS, essentially in order to keep "his" cliff open in exchange for closing others. None of these actions have anything to do with birds. Furthermore, Kennedy--in his latest guide--stated various crags were closed and that offenders could be fined $10,000, a complete fabrication.

A letter writing campaign overloads the USFS server and crashes it.

Brown goes on the local PBS station in a debate over the issue.

Kennedy resigns that day.

The Access Fund completely revises its position.

Access Fund revised letter to USFS

The USFS tables the proposed closures and is re-evaluating the situation in an open dialog with the Access Fund, which is being led by a local climber collective.

A web site is being built but, for now, find the latest access information at:

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