CHARONS GARDEN FIXED ANCHOR MORATORIUM LIFTED
On July 7, 2003, Refuge Manager Sam Waldstein announced his decision to lift the moratorium on the placement of new fixed anchors in the Charons Garden Wilderness Area. The moratorium was initiated in 1999 as a temporary action pending the outcome of reviews at the national level by the Forest Service, Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management on the use of fixed anchors in Congressionally designated wilderness areas. Those reviews have for the most part been completed, and the agencies are now moving to implement policies which allow for the managed use of fixed anchors in wilderness.
As with the rest of the Refuge, climbers wishing to place new fixed anchors, or replace or remove existing fixed anchors, in the Charons Garden Wilderness Area must first submit a Fixed Anchor Application Form to the Refuge for review by the Advisory Bolting Committee and approval by the Refuge Manager. Applications for adding new fixed anchors will be reviewed quarterly and subject to stricter review criteria than non-wilderness applications. Applications for replacing existing fixed anchors will continue to be expedited. And as before, the use of power drills in the Charons Garden remains an illegal activity under the laws of the Wilderness Act and is prohibited.
The successful outcome of the fixed anchor debate at the national level is due in large part to the hard work of the Access Fund. However, the decision by Refuge Manager Sam Waldstein to lift the fixed anchor moratorium in the Charons Garden is also a direct result of the efforts of the Wichita Mountains Climbers Coalition to protect Refuge resources. Thanks to the dedication and support of our members and the local climbing community, the WMCC has proven to be a trusted partner of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service in caring for the Refuge. As we move forward with our mission, let's keep that in mind and remember that the Charons Garden Wilderness Area is a special place deserving of our best efforts to insure that its wilderness resources and values are protected.