Through the coordinated efforts of the OAC and the Niagara Parks Commission (NPC), the Niagara Glen now formally permits bouldering. With the new establishment of a formal management plan for bouldering many in the bouldering community are questioning why they would pay for access to something that has been free for so long. In response to these questions the OAC has reached out to the NPC and asked for clarification on the fee. The Niagara Parks Commission has provided a statement that explains the need for the fee, why boulderers and not other users pay, and how the funds collected from the fee are used:
“Bouldering Activities in the Niagara Glen
During the 1980′s, The Niagara Parks Commission moved to limit the recreational pursuit of cliff-face climbing within the Park, by restricting it to emergency and maintenance purposes only. At the same time, the Commission continued to allow the recreational activity known as bouldering to take place. Over the years, bouldering has increased in popularity and the Niagara Glen has become a noted world-wide bouldering site. The need for a more formal program to oversee this activity was therefore needed to protect the physical, cultural and ecological integrity of the Parks and Niagara Glen.
Following consultations with the public, the Ontario Access Coalition (OAC) and other interested groups, new rules were developed to permit the continuation of this sport in the Niagara Glen. Annual Bouldering Permits will now be issued to encourage safe access by users, while protecting the greatest concentration of Species at Risk, which are found in Ontario within the Niagara Glen. However, there are costs in doing so in terms of staffing, insurance, legal, monitoring, mapping and maintenance, which Niagara Parks would not otherwise experience, if it did not allow this sanctioned activity to occur.
As a self-funded agency of the Province of Ontario, The Niagara Parks Commission operates in a commercial manner with revenues raised reinvested back into the Park to support its much needed stewardship and preservation activities. The bouldering community, by way of this new permit fee, will also be contributing to the responsible continuation of the sport and protection of the most sensitive aspects and nature of the Niagara Glen.”