Bouldering is one of the most popular aspects of climbing for obvious reasons: bouldering is fun; there are lots of boulders; boulderfields are accessible; it doesn't require the time commitment that climbing does; and bouldering requires minimal equipment.
That increased popularity, however, has come with a price. The sheer numbers of climbers flocking to some bouldering areas have caused environmental damage and caused land managers at parks and national forests to question if bouldering is a long-term sustainable recreational activity. Some bouldering areas already have restrictions to protect areas from boulderers, whose numbers cause soil compaction; damage to plants, wildlife, and archeological sites; unsightly chalk blotches; and braided social trails.
Read two new articles--Is Bouldering a Sustainable Climbing Activity? and 8 Tips to Minimize Your Bouldering Impact--to find out how bouldering damages fragile ecosystems; what bouldering impacts create management issues; and how to lessen your impact on the environment when you go bouldering.
If all of us boulderers and climbers do our part to reduce our impact and footprint at bouldering areas, then it reduces the need for future restrictions on bouldering; the closure of areas; shows that bouldering can be a sustainable activity; and makes both land managers and boulderers happy.
Read articles about bouldering:
Photograph above: Dennis Jackson boulders on North Mountain at Hueco Tanks, a bouldering area with restrictions on visitation and use. Photograph © Stewart M. Green