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Top Climbers Visit Capitol Hill for National Parks

As many climbers know, some of America’s most important National Monuments are at risk under the new American federal government.

Top climbers Tommy Caldwell, Sasha DiGiulian, Alex Honnold, Kai Lightner, Caroline Gleich and Libby Sauter visited Capitol Hill on Thurs. May 11 to speak with members of the American Senate about what’s at stake.

All the members of the #climbthehill event gathered in the Senate. It was a super educational day of meeting with our representatives in Congress. And honestly it was really inspiring to see so many climber come together to #protectpubliclands. If you zoom in you can find the elusive Peter Croft who spoke about climbing on BLM land around Bishop. And @sashadigiulian, who managed to lure in her fellow Virginian @timkaine. Super humbling to speak in front of such a knowledgeable and passionate group. And certainly a first to speak in front of a Vice Presidential candidate. All in all it was a great opportunity to learn firsthand how much work the @accessfund puts into keeping climbing areas open for us. And it was important for me to realize that our members of Congress and the Senate are more accessible and more receptive than I'd though. Sending letters and making calls work – they care about feedback. Certainly when they get enough of it… All climbers should be a member of the Access Fund – accessfund.org.

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In April, America’s new president signed an executive order to examine the antiquities act and new National Monuments since 1996.

The American Alpine Club notes that under the executive order, millions of acres of land, including National Parks, are at risk of being opened to resource extraction.

Of the 27 listed monuments, Bears Ears National Monument, which includes using the land for rock climbing, is at the top as it was the last one created by Barak Obama.

Other Monuments to be reviewed: Basin and Range Nevada, Bears Ears Utah, Berryessa Snow Mountain California, Canyons of the Ancients Colorado, Carrizo Plain California, Cascade Siskiyou Oregon, Craters of the Moon Idaho, Giant Sequoia California, Gold Butte Nevada, Grand Canyon-Parashant Arizona and Grand Staircase-Escalante Utah.

I had a crazy day in D.C. running around with @americanalpine and @accessfund to #ClimbTheHill. My team had eight meetings today, beginning with @outdooralliance for lobby training, then with the Dept. of the Interior, US Forest Service, Rep. Mia Love's office, Sen. Jon Tester staff, Senator Mike Lee's Legislative correspondent and John Tanner and Romel Nicholas from Sen Orrin Hatch's office. Representing the interests of the $887 billion dollar outdoor recreation industry on Capitol Hill was a powerful experience and every time I come up, I learn more and continue to develop relationships. Change happens slowly up here but I'm confident if we keep showing up, we will make a difference. My favorite part of the day was meeting with Hatch and Lee's offices because they represent the biggest challenge. And you all know how I love a big uphill challenge. While we may disagree on certain things, it's important to simmer down, focus on the areas we have common ground, and brainstorm creative solutions so we can keep the conversations happening. We're stronger when we come together. Onward and upward! #protectpubliclands

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The other monuments are Hanford Reach Washington, Ironwood Forest Arizona, Mojave Trails California, Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks New Mexico, Rio Grande del Norte New Mexico, Sand to Snow California, San Gabriel Mountains California, Sonoran Desert Arizona, Upper Missouri River Breaks Montana and Vermilion Cliffs Arizona.

Caldwell, Honnold and DiGiulian spoke at Capitol Hill to the American senate about the importance of the National Monuments and Parks. You can find information on how to help here: accessfund.org, climbthehill.org and americanalpineclub.org.

“We’ve been in meetings talking about the economic infrastructure that climbing brings to areas, new job opportunities, the reason that we need to protect public lands, meeting with a lot of powerful people, which is intimidating, but also exciting,” said DiGiulian.