Great Falls Plan: Time to Comment

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Public comments on the draft General Management Plan (GMP) for Great Falls Park, Virginia close December 15, 2005. This plan, once finalized and published, will guide the management direction of Great Falls Park for the next 10-15 years.

The draft GMP has very strong implications for local rock climbing. The National Park Service (NPS) preferred option would close three areas for climbing and restrict access to a fourth area. The draft GMP also proposes permits for climbing, permanent anchors and implies possible further access restrictions.

“Friends of Great Falls” (FOGF) is a group of local climbers, including members of the AAC and the Potomac Mountaineering Club, who over the last three months have met on numerous occasions with NPS staff. FOGF has researched extensively the various statements in the draft plan concerning the impact of climbing on natural resources, the justification proposed for many of the proposed changes. FOGF have summarized the issues and their conclusions at http://www.friendsofgreatfalls.com/index.html.

We need you to formally submit comments (preferably by email) to the NPS before close of business, December 15. To make this as easy as possible, FOGF has prepared a list of points and an example of a letter at http://www.friendsofgreatfalls.com/comment.html.

It is very important that all climbers respond, regardless of where you presently reside in the world. If you live locally, please emphasize the significance of the park as a local climbing area and the long tradition of climbing there. If you reside outside the DC region, emphasize the importance of Great Falls as an international climbing point of interest. If we are to convince the NPS to modify their proposals to something more reasonable, we need climbers to comment - the more the better.

Again, don't procrastinate, go to http://www.friendsofgreatfalls.com/comment.html and submit your comments today – and copy these to greatfallsaccess@gmail.com