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Central California District
Release Date: 03/11/13
Contacts: David Christy (916) 941-3146    
News Release No. CA-CC-13-39

BLM Bishop Sponsors "Climbers Coffee," Interpretive Ethic Talks

The Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Bishop Field Office is planning events in March and April to educate climbers and campers on how to enjoy, but not abuse, the natural resources as the number of visitors grows.

The BLM will host "Climber's Coffee" talks at the Pleasant Valley Pit Campground on March 22 and 29 and April 19 at 9 a.m.  These talks provide a way for campers and climbers to meet BLM rangers and staff to discuss interests and concerns in an informal setting.  BLM staff will be joined at several sessions by members of the Bishop Paiute Tribe and the Bishop Area Climbing Coalition to talk with folks and answer questions on topics ranging from Leave No Trace Ethics to local cultural awareness and future volunteer projects.

On April 20, the BLM will team up with the Bishop Area Climber's Coalition, Friends of the Inyo, Access Fund and American Alpine Club to host an Adopt A Crag Volunteer Stewardship Day at the Happy bouldering area. The event will start at 8:30 a.m. with coffee at the Happy trailhead and run until noon. For directions or information on this event, contact Kirstin Heins at (760) 872-5034.

Over the past decade, the Bishop Field Office has experienced an increase in climbing and dispersed (car) camping activity in the Volcanic Tableland north of Bishop. Damage to cultural and natural resources also has increased as more climbers and other public land users visit the tableland and camp in the area.

"We are concerned about visitors leaving trash or human waste, building improper fires, camping in archeological sites or on sensitive vegetation and creating new roads, trails and parking areas," said Becky Hutto, BLM park ranger.

Recreational interest in areas like the tableland is expected to continue or increase. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, California experienced a 20 percent increase in climbing from 2009 to 2010. The number of people car camping is expected to increase from 42 million to 62 million by 2050 in California alone. 

The agency has undertaken a number of efforts to decrease the impacts public lands users have on wild areas and improve the recreational experience for everyone in increasingly popular climbing and camping areas. 

Visitors from all over the world come to Bishop for spring break to enjoy a beautiful day in the Happy and Sad bouldering areas managed by the BLM Bishop Field Office. BLM recreation staff regularly monitor the climbing areas and make contact with as many public land visitors as possible to share outdoor ethics information.

Anyone planning a visit to the Volcanic Tableland can help with the BLM's efforts in the following ways:

  • Educate yourself about local conditions and Leave No Trace ethics. Visit websites such as,, and other area internet resources before you leave to help plan a great trip.
  • Preserve the tableland by camping in one of the many campgrounds available in the area.  At the BLM's Pleasant Valley Pit Campground, the minimal fee of $2 per night is used to maintain and improve the campground.
  • Use existing parking lots and roads. Approach the Happy and Sad Boulders via Chalk Bluff Road. Park in the established areas and hike up the constructed trails. Please do not park and approach from above on the Tableland.
  • Leave it better than you found it.  Pick up your trash and trash left by others, including micro-trash such as tape or cigarette butts. Avoid placing crash pads on vegetation. 
  • Consider not having a fire. Campfire impacts are difficult to clean up and fires can be challenging to extinguish completely. If you have a campfire, please respect campfire restrictions. You must have a fire permit to have a campfire outside of a campground in California. California campfire permits are valid statewide and available at fire stations and visitor centers.  Please do not burn pallets or other construction material. The unburned nails and other hardware left behind are trash and can be hazardous to wildlife and other people using the camp.
  • Please use a toilet when they are available. If a toilet is not available, consider packing your human waste out. Interagency packout kits are available at the White Mountain Ranger Station in Bishop and the Interagency Visitor Center in Lone Pine. If there are no other options for disposing of human waste, hike away from the climbing area, any water or campsites and dig a "cathole". Bury human waste 6-8 inches deep and carry out your toilet paper. 
  • Respect archeological and cultural sites. Don't climb near or on Native American rock art or other archaeological sites. If you find artifacts, such as grinding stones or obsidian points (arrowheads), tools or flakes, leave them where you find them for others to study and enjoy.
  • New bolts, or fixed anchors, may not be placed in rock within Wilderness Study Areas on BLM land.  This is consistent with national BLM policy for management of BLM Wilderness Study Areas. This applies to rock located in any of the four Wilderness Study Areas on the Volcanic Tableland
  • Be considerate of other visitors. Respect other climbers and users by avoiding loud voices and noise. Keep your dog under your immediate control and pack out dog waste.

Anyone who would like to volunteer time to preserve and protect areas like the tablelands through trail work and other clean-up efforts can contact Hutto at (760) 872-5008.


Central California District   5152 Hillsdale Circle, El Dorado Hills, CA 95762   

Last updated: 03-12-2013