Arches closes area to rock climbing, bouldering

A popular rock climbing and bouldering area in Arches National Park has been closed to protect the area from damage.

An area known as the “Highway 191 Boulders” or “the Arches Boulders” has been made off-limits to climbers because of ongoing damage to park resources, said Denny Ziemann of Arches National Park.

“Bouldering and rock climbing has become a trendy thing and it tends to attract a lot of people to a small area,” Ziemann said. “We’re concerned about the impacts to some of our resources and decided this was the best way to handle it.”

Ziemann said the park is in the process of finishing a climbing and canyoneering management plan, which will address private and commercial climbing activities inside the park.

The plan should be available by early summer, Ziemann said.

“There are so many changes” in the sport of climbing, Ziemann said. “Now you’ll find slack-lining, which is becoming very popular, bouldering, canyoneering and other activities which we propose to address in the management plan.”

The recent closure establishes a 500-foot no climbing zone along the park boundary and within the park. Prohibited activities include bouldering, rock climbing, rock scrambling and other similar activities.


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