Northern Wyoming News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Seth Romsa
Staff Writer 

Ten Sleep Canyon Climbing Plan begins to take shape


May 27, 2021

TEN SLEEP – The Bighorn National Forest Service (NFS) held a second virtual public meeting regarding the Ten Sleep Climbing Plan on Wednesday, May 19, and began to address the more than 500 comments that they received after the first public comment period.

The presentation from the NFS stated they are not planning in any way to ban recreation, and will provide diverse recreation opportunities around the area.

They understand that climbing is a large part of the recreation in the area, but they want to create a safe environment for those who enjoy other recreation such as hiking and photography.

One of the other large issues that the management plan focused on was a solution for waste management in the area. The proposal includes installing multiple permanent toilets in Ten Sleep Canyon, as well as finding a way to increase dispersed camping in the area.

The NFS hopes to follow a Leave No Trace behind policy, and help disperse education resources in order to help maintain natural resources and not leave any impact through human or their animal affects.

This may include expanding current campsites in the canyon, or allowing for more dispersed camping throughout the canyon.

Regarding this summer, the NFS said that they are not planning to do more than they typically with dispersed camping and management. They will instead be evaluating what happens in the canyon and will help develop the plan based on those needs.

The NFS is planning to address parking and how to safely provide more parking in the area so as to not interrupt traffic or endanger those participating in recreational activities in the near future and had not reached a solution at the time of the presentation.



According to responses given to comments that were submitted, the NFS said that route manufacturing (drilling or chipping to create or enhance hand and foot holds) is recognized as a criminal activity which involves vandalism to the geological resource and is a no tolerance policy.

According to comment responses, there are currently climbing rangers who have been hired in order to enforce regulations regarding damaging geological resources through route manufacturing. There may be additional rangers hired in accordance with the current funding and staffing available for the project.

Bolt removal for inappropriate routes is under consideration under the proposed action as a mechanism to deter future vandalism an restore damage of geological resources. There is also a consideration grandfathering in existing manufactured routes, but no decision has been made.

The plan hopes to address trails and staging areas to help reduce climbing impacts in the area, as well as provide a sustainable trail system that is convenient and will limit resource impacts. This will include maps and education for those using the area to help ensure those participating recreationally are using the right trails.

They are currently working through the legal process to establish these trails officially, and expect to establish them in summer 2022.

The NFS has recognized areas that include bird nests and the impacts that climbing in the area may have and are looking at ways to protect these habitats but still allow for recreational activities.

With funding for the project not expected to be increased, the NFS will find ways to help support the additional improvements through donation boxes, outfitter and guide fees as well as potentially enforcing route development fees. User fees and permits were taken under consideration but were eliminated from detailed analysis.

According to the NFS, they said that they will begin with a climbing management plan for Ten Sleep Canyon, and will expand it to other areas of the forest once they have created a plan for Ten Sleep.


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