Tree Climbing Ethics

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Tree Climbing Ethics

Post by pattyjenkins1 » Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:39 am

Hello all~~

In response to recent discussions, I reviewed Tree Climbers International's "Wilderness Ethics", updated them, and re-named them "Tree Climbing Ethics." I tightened up and clarified our position on not climbing in old growth forests (now named old growth ecosystems, thanks Don Bertolette!), and specified more about the vulnerability of trees and habitat (thanks, Andrew Joslin!). Please have a look -- the document is attached. I welcome your comments.

Our Ethics document will be circulated later this week in our newsletter to TCI's apx 7500 email list, and posted on our Facebook page to our apx 3200 "likes". I think these numbers probably cover most of the recreational climbers in the United States and a great many of the TCI members and followers abroad.

Tree Climbing Ethics.pdf
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Patty Jenkins
Executive Director
Tree Climbers International, Inc.
Get High / Climb Trees

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Re: Tree Climbing Ethics

Post by AndrewJoslin » Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:06 pm

I should've caught this when I reviewed the draft. When people in the U.S. talk about old-growth (old-growth ecosystems), and problems related to visiting old-growth on the ground or climbing old-growth they are typically referring to the remnant U.S. Pacific Northwest old-growth forest groves. It's very possible to to encounter trees and forests that are either old-growth or have old-growth characteristics anywhere there is forest in the world. Some of these trees or forest are not as vulnerable to disturbance as for example "target" old-growth in the PNW. By target I'm referring to specific PNW trees and groves that include the tallest trees on the planet that are attracting too many visitors and are suffering damage as a result. For example where I am in Massachusetts I can take you to very old forest trees that have old-growth characteristics. Whether I climb one of these trees or not has less to do with whether or not it is old-growth, it has more to do with an assessment on what impacts I could have on a specific tree or its surrounding habitat. This assessment is extended to any forest/tree ecosystem old-growth or not. Don't know what the answer is in a climbing ethics guideline but to say that climbing old-growth is off limits to recreational tree climbers is probably too large a restriction. These kinds of distinctions are difficult to address in a climber ethics guideline. I had suggested something like "Recreational tree climbers should not climb in National Parks or protected/vulnerable forest ecosystems without permission". Something in that direction might do the job, tough needle to thread.

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Re: Tree Climbing Ethics

Post by Don » Tue Mar 28, 2017 5:22 pm

I like the revised Tree Climbing Ethics. From my perspective, it errs on the side of caution. It's my sense that Andrew might think it a little too restrictive. I'm okay with that tension between our views, and ideally somewhere between lies wording that we'd both like even better. Though few that know me would call me an environmentalist, I do respect their conceptualization of 'the precautionary principle'. It seems the appropriate concept in the context of wilderness, old-growth ecosystems, superlative specimens, historically rare and/or endangered species, etc. That said, "Climb away!"
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
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