The Effect of Government Shutdown on Climbing

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We’re starting the second week of the government shutdown, with no resolution in sight.  Approximately 800,000 civilian employees are furloughed.  The effects are being felt across the nation in many aspects of life.  All of our national parks have been closed, the park website shut down, until the matter has been resolved. In a show of poetic irony, the timing of this shutdown comes on the 123rd anniversary of Yosemite National Park.  Apparently, climbers on El Cap were allowed to finish their climbs (I guess it’s a bit hard to get them off the wall).

Facebook post by Great Falls Park on the closure due to the government shutdown.
Facebook post by Great Falls Park on the closure due to the government shutdown.

According to a post on Rock and Ice, 3,266 National Park Service employees are exempt from the shutdown, but a total of 88 percent of the agency is furloughed. Some groups are protesting the closure of parks, including a group started called Occupy Yosemite. The group is encouraging normal season use of the wilderness despite the shutdown. Outside Online reported Monday that several groups either picketed or broke through the gates at some parks.

What Can I Do?

In the near short term, there is very little most of us can do but wait it out.  However, if you haven’t already, write to Congress and tell them what you think.  The Access Fund has provided climbers with a great starting point for this.

Where Can I Climb?

As we mentioned, all national parks are closed and anyone caught in the park during this closure could be considered trespassing.  National forests are still open, but facilities that need to be run are closed.  Of course, private parks are not affected by this shutdown.  State and local parks will most likely be open.  Below is a list of climbing areas near us.

Closed To Climbing

  • Carderock
  • Great Falls Park
  • Little Stony Man
  • Old Rag

Open to Climbing

  • Annapolis Rocks
  • Buzzard Rock
  • Franklin Gorge
  • Northwest Branch
  • Safe Harbor
  • Sugarloaf
  • Talking Headwall
  • Gretna
  • Patapsco State Park

Has the government shutdown affected your climbing plans? Have you gone elsewhere to climb instead?  

  1. Indy

    Add to the list:

    Closed: Wolf Rock (Catoctin Mtn National Park)

    Very Likely Closed: Maryland Heights

    Possibly closed? Balcony, Balcony Jr, Skink Rock, Louden Heights (these are typically unpatrolled crags by the park service; Louden Heights, though, I am actually not sure if it is subject to National Park oversight or not; the other three are definitely on NP lands)

    Bouldering in Cunningham Falls State Park
    Crags in the Frederick Watershed (e.g., Right/Left Fork Rocks, Bushwhack Rocks, etc)
    Crags in Gunpowder Falls State Park (e.g., The Fin, Bunker Hill, etc)
    Rocks State Park
    Black Rock (part of South Mountain State Park, along with Annap Rocks)
    Raven Rock Hollow
    Loch Raven Reservoir crags and boulders
    Morgan Run
    Weverton Overlook
    Northwest Branch
    Fork Run (in FAR western MD)

    The Narrows and Locust Grove are not closed due to the shutdown, either