USFS Drops Sleep Management Plan Ten, Maintains Ban on New Routing

Wyoming’s Bighorn National Forest has announced it will postpone its long-awaited management plan for Ten Sleep Canyon. A ban on new routes in the very popular sport climbing area is still in effect.

On Monday, the US Forest Service suspended its planned escalation management plan for Ten Sleep Canyon following the resignation of its leader. Powder River District Ranger Traci Weaver guided the plan’s progress until she stepped down in June. Now, according to the USFS, the program has no schedule to resume.

“There are some things that have come up in collecting data and questions, and we can’t really answer them yet until we have our permanent ranger in place,” said Sara Evans Kirol, public affairs manager. of the Bighorn National Forest. WyoFile.

Previously, the agency expected to issue an environmental impact statement this fall.

Unregulated escalation causes tension in ten sleep

With 1,200 athletic routes on the limestone at the edge of the canyon and a seemingly endless potential for more, Ten Sleep Canyon is one of the first in the United States. sport climbing destinations. For years, canyon climbing has regulated itself, an ethic that reflects the borderline approach to local life.

The Bighorn National Forest Climbing Management Plan addressed burgeoning infrastructure issues. The ever-increasing visitation meant that dirt parking lots and impromptu roadside campsites would have to give way to regulated pitches with facilities. The trails (established and social) along the miles of cliff would require management and maintenance.

High-profile disputes over route fabrication have also raised concerns among several user groups. Thus, in 2019, the national forest banned the development of new roads in the canyon and launched a management plan.

New management plan proposed, then abandoned

Progress appeared to be on the right track, as he released a scoping document in February that drew 500 comments with a period of public input.

The document highlighted several critical issues in the 26,000-acre area. Focal points included hazardous highway and parking conditions, human and animal waste issues, and cliff base erosion. He also cited impacts on wildlife like raptor nesting and camping scattered within 100 feet of vital waterways.

“Our position was, ‘Timeout, give us time to complete our escalation management plan, give us time to move forward thoughtfully and work with all of our user groups… and come up with something. something sustainable in the future “”, Tisserand said Before his departure. “What was happening at Ten Sleep Canyon was not sustainable.”

The user groups mentioned by Weaver are diverse and widespread – bird watchers and hunters also use the canyon prolifically. And the town of Ten Sleep, a few miles downstream, is having a profound effect.

According to her, the guerrilla-style chipping tactics and unmanaged road development of the late 2010s proved inflammatory for everyone involved.

Weaver said in the comments for the scoping documents, “[T]The hat was probably the # 1 issue because we’ve heard from climbers and non-climbers about it.

It is not known when Bighorn National Forest will actively resume its plans to handle the escalation of Ten Sleep again. For now, visitors can expect the experience to change little until the Forest Service finds Weaver’s replacement.

According to Kirol, the heads of the agencies “are working very diligently to fill the position because it is a priority for the forest”.

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