Out of respect for Native America beliefs, a voluntary climbing closure will be in effect at Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming for the month of June.
The Access Fund, a nonprofit organization working to maintain access to climbing areas and protect the climbing environment, fully supports the voluntary climbing closure, according to monument officials. Up to 85 percent of climbers choose not to climb during June. Suggestions for alternative climbing areas are provided.
"Traditional cultural activities occur at the park throughout the year, yet June is an especially significant time for tribes. We hope climbers will consider these perspectives when deciding when to climb," said Devils Tower Superintendent Reed Robinson.
The 1995 Devils Tower National Monument Climbing Management Plan established a voluntary closure for all climbing routes on the Tower. The voluntary closure has been implemented each June since 1996.
Climbing at the Tower dates back to the late 1800s when it was first scaled by two local ranchers using a wooden ladder. Today, climbers from around the world consider the Tower to be a unique and premier climbing area. Approximately 4,500 climbers come to Devils Tower each year. Although it is sometimes assumed that climbing damages the rock, contemporary climbing methods have little impact on the Tower.