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University of Colorado Denver

School of Public Affairs
 

Assessing Sustainable Practices among Climbers


David Carter 

Public lands across the United States have seen an unprecedented increase in recreational users, and the mounting challenges of agencies charged with the management of these lands reflect the pressure of a growing user demand.  One area of concern is the impact of climbers on fragile ecosystems ranging from alpine tundra in National Parks to desert ecosystems that fall under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management.  Aside from the environmental impact of climbers on natural areas, the implications of increased activity has, in several instances, threatened climber access to unique recreational areas.  Climbers have begun to mobilize in an attempt to maintain access to unique climbing areas, and in some instances have attempted to institute their own management policies in order to reduce the impact that they have on public lands. 

This research project focuses on climber efforts in Indian Creek, Utah.  Climbers of Indian Creek have mobilized in order to create and implement self-regulated management policy focused on lessening climber impact on the area, with the objective of creating sustainable practices.  The project draws from the experience and knowledge of climbers involved in the creation of policy, local experts with detailed knowledge and experience in Indian Creek, and on-site researcher researcher observation.  The study assesses climber efforts through a comparison with the Institutional Analysis and Development common pool resource design principles of enduring institutions.  The results of the research project are presented as recommendations for strengthening climber policies and practices in Indian Creek.

The results of this research have broader impacts for both recreational users and the management agencies of public lands.  The Indian Creek example provides an alternative model for recreational management practices in public lands that directly involves the primary users of recreational resources.  Additionally, the implications of this research project could prove informative for other groups attempting to lessen the environmental impact of recreation on natural areas, or maintain access to valuable recreational resources. 

Research Project Final Paper

Evaluating Compliance and Assessing Institutions in Collaborative Rock Climbing Resource Management.pdfEvaluating Compliance and Assessing Institutions in Collaborative Rock Climbing Resource Management.pdf

 

Biography

David Carter is a doctoral student at the School of Public Affairs at UCD, and a graduate of the School of Public Affairs Accelerated Masters of Public Administration program.  He received two Bachelors Degrees from Colorado State University in Psychology and Sociology, as well as a Minor in Spanish.  David is also a rock and ice climber. 

David P. Carter
University of Colorado Denver
School of Public Affairs
University of Colorado Denver
1380 Lawrence Street, Suite 500, Denver, CO 80217
Phone: 720-257-2515
Email: david.carter@ucdenver.edu 
 
Professor Chris Weible
University of Colorado Denver
School of Public Affairs
University of Colorado Denver
1380 Lawrence Street, Suite 500, Denver, CO 80217
Email: chris.weible@ucdenver.edu  
Phone: 303-315-2010
Fax: 303-315-2229 

 

 

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