I’ve noticed so many people who use the outdoors, resent paying for its use. This seems particularly true for climbers. Spend hundreds of dollars on gear but expect free campsites. (Another example is the few climbers who will donate to the Access Fund to have bolts replaced at outdoor climbing areas.)
This essay is about the future of outdoor climbing based on an interview with the owner of the Horse Pens in Alabama – a famous bouldering area which is privately owned.
“Kids come here today and have zero respect for this land, and they want free access to it
as well. Well, someone pays taxes on this land I tell you. Someone pays for the electricity, the water, and upkeep of the grounds. That person is me, and I would do just as well to NOT HAVE CLIMBING HERE AT ALL. Horse Pens doesn’t need it.”
The author of the essay says:
“The laws of supply-and-demand work here too: buy the access and build a toll booth. It’ll happen one day. Everything will be restricted like Hueco, only without the petro-glyphs and Native American nation having their backs…. Limit the use on high volume areas (could probably just make the grades really sandbagged nowadays). Preserve the land. And keep track of the traffic that ruffs up the rock. I was climbing at the biggest gym in the country last week, and out of the 300+ people in there, all being climbers, I knew 4. And I am really glad that this plastic Jupiter exists, because that amount of traffic on any outdoor area would be devastating,…”