Over the next 3 days Cleveland Metroparks (CMP) is holding public input sessions concerning its new Master Plan (see event calendar). These meetings are our chance to tell the park service exactly what we would like to see in the new plan and why it is important. Despite encompassing over 20,000 acres, CMP provides only one climbing location (the 1/2 mile cliff line known as Whipp’s Ledges in the Hinckley Reservation). Similarly they have only one mountain bike trail and no camping. In late 2009 and early 2010, the NEOCC worked with Cleveland Metroparks to open a new climbing area within the 2500 acre Brecksville Reservation. The rock in this area sits on 29 acres, which is only 1% of the reservations acreage! Ultimately the proposal was turned down. Similarly proposals to eliminate the need for personal liability insurance for a private climbing permit and to open climbing at the Rocky River Reservation were also turned down. You can find more information about these efforts by filtering posts by subject (see drop down bar at right) and choosing Cleveland Metroparks.
So this Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday PLEASE attend one of these sessions and let the parks know what YOU want. These are your parks. The park is funded by tax dollars and the Board of Commissioners is appointed by an elected judge.
Below are a few things that you might ask for and justifications…
More designated climbing areas
-See the first paragraph of this post
-The 2008 climbing participation rate of 1.7% translates to over 40,000 participants in Northeast Ohio.
-58% of Ohio college students plan to leave the state within the first few years of finishing school. Finding a place that is “active, exciting and fun” was the second highest priority.
-Climbing tourism contributes to the economic vitality of a community by boosting retail, restaurant, hotel, gas and grocery sales.
-Legitimate use of these areas will discourage the vandalism and other illegal activities currently occurring.
Eliminate the requirement for $300K personal liability insurance to obtain a CMP climbing permit
-The waiver currently signed by all participants is adequate protection, and personal liability insurance affords no additional protection from liability. Paragraph 1 of the waiver states that the user agrees “to indemnify and save and hold harmless Cleveland Metroparks and the Board of Park Commissioners of Cleveland Metropolitan Park District, their agents, employees, successors or assigns, and all other persons, whether participant or spectator, from and against any and all losses, claims, actions or proceedings of every kind, nature or description…”
-Other user groups do not need personal liability insurance and requiring climbers to obtain it discriminates against a single user group, as well as low income users.
-Nationwide research by the Access Fund found no record of any legal action ever having been filed in this country in which an injured climber sued a landowner or an agency on the basis of premises liability. This is a result of the broad liability limitations that are provided for landowners, land managers, and agencies that permit and provide for recreation opportunities such as climbing.
Permanent top rope anchors at the top of climbs
-Reduces the risk of an improperly set up anchor
-Eliminates damage to trees which are currently used for setting up anchors
Allow bolting (for sport climbing) where the rock and conditions allow
-Eliminates the need to access the top of cliffs and any related hazard
-Eliminates the impact to the ecosystem at the top of the cliff