1. Rock climbing offers health and economic benefits to the community of Signal Mountain. The purpose of the stated ordinance is “to protect the general public from injury and for the benefit and welfare of the citizens, residents, and visitors of the said town.” But rock climbing is an activity we enjoy or support, not an activity from which we need protection. In fact, outdoor recreational opportunities like climbing are among the town’s most unique and valuable assets. Given the proven mainstream nature of rock climbing, it is now counterintuitive and misplaced for the town to prohibit the safe and healthy use of this resource.
2. Rock climbing is safe. As a mainstream outdoor sport, rock climbing is less injurious than other sports, and poses no more harm to the general public than a game of football.
3. Climbing is an inherently low impact, dispersed form of outdoor recreation that enhances the town’s offerings of outdoor opportunities. Climbers are also a self-managing user group. Climbing areas, trails and infrastructure are minimal and low-cost.
4. By banning rather than embracing rock climbing, the town tarnishes its image as an outdoor friendly community and marginalizes a mainstream sport for current residents, future residents, and visitors alike.
5. The City of Chattanooga, the Town of Lookout Mountain, the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, Prentice Cooper State Forest, the Cumberland Trail State Park, and the surrounding community are invested in rock climbing and have embraced climbing culture. It’s time for the Town of Signal Mountain to do the same. A $4 million dollar investment being made in the heart of downtown Chattanooga to open up a new rock climbing gym one block from the Tennessee Aquarium. Such a private investment will literally bring rock climbing into the heart of downtown and infuse climbing deeply into the region’s rapidly growing outdoor culture. We don’t want the town to stand against this cultural trend.
Many local towns and municipal areas across the county allow rock climbing. From Lookout Mountain, Tennessee to Boulder, Colorado, to Berkeley, California, climbing is allowed by cities and towns and recognized for its health and economic benefits.
As signers, we represent residents and visitors who rock climb, support rock climbing, or support expanded opportunities for outdoor recreation. We hope that you see how the benefits of climbing for residents and visitors significantly outweigh the costs, and we hope you will consider removing the ordinance which bans rock climbing in this great town.