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Ten Sleep Climbing Management Plan Update

Man hanging on big slap of rock. Vista of mountain rocks behind him.
Justin Case (JustinCaseImages)

This past month, the Bighorn Climber's Coalition held a meeting updating area residents and climbers on the upcoming Ten Sleep climbing plan.

The management plan is the first of its kind for the U.S. Forest Service. It's needed because the Ten Sleep Canyon has exploded in popularity for rock climbing, but that popularity has also caused stress on the area's natural resources.

Bighorn Climbers Coalition President Brad Burns said his organization has been hosting meetings to discuss the plan and to bridge the gap of misunderstanding between local residents and climbers.

Burns said at the last meeting, a landowner brought up the fact that somebody was turning off an electric fence in the area of a parking lot for recreation.

"And on numerous different occasions, the state has to come out and turn that back on and move cattle back into the pasture and things like that, and so we decided to communicate that to climbers," said Burns.

He said they are unsure if it was a member of the climbing community who turned the fence off but discussing this at the meeting allowed other climbers to be aware that there are electric fences in the area.

Burns said a lot of other management areas are watching what will happen.

"What happens in Ten Sleep will definitely set some sort of precedent in terms of route development, manufacturing, ethics of climbing, I mean, there's a lot at stake here in terms of the future of climbing, especially on national forest lands," he said.

A draft of the management plan is expected to come out sometime next summer.

Kamila has worked for public radio stations in California, New York, France and Poland. Originally from New York City, she loves exploring new places. Kamila received her master in journalism from Columbia University. She has won a regional Murrow award for her reporting on mental health and firearm owners. During her time leading the Wyoming Public Media newsroom, reporters have won multiple PMJA, Murrow and Top of the Rockies Excellence in Journalism Awards. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.

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