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HPS "Peak Suspension" Policy Statement


Approved by MComm September 2016

Suspension (as opposed to de-listing) of peaks on the HPS List should be considered if peak access is affected by the following:

  1. All routes are not "legal" due to:
    • Private property closures (that can possibly be resolved*) or,
    • Forest Closure Areas (after a fire, fire danger, trail damage, endangered species, etc.), as defined by a Forest Closure Order; State Park, National Park or Monument Official Order, or similar governmental posting or order.
  2. Safety Issues -- such as a major rock slide obliterating the only route; or trail washouts from storm runoff, creating conditions unacceptable to the HPS Safety Committee, that are expected to eventually be corrected by trail maintenance efforts.

Not qualifying for Peak "Suspension" would be the "suspension" or inaccessibility of one route (as defined above), as long as another route allows access. Alternate routes need not be current HPS published routes, if others can be defined and added to the website. This would apply even if the alternate route requires potential backpacking due to extended distance.

Legal closures that are expected to last for at least two months should be considered for suspension. This should not include "seasonal closures" (winter road closures, fire danger / summer closures).

Any HPS Member can recommend suspension to the Management Committee, but a primary responsibility of the HPS Access Chair is to monitor the factors that may warrant suspension and make recommendations to the Management Committee. The HPS Management Committee makes the ultimate decision to suspend a peak, and then, at the appropriate time, un-suspend a peak.

For reference purposes, following is Section 7, Peaks List, Paragraph 5, of the HPS bylaws:

Temporary Suspension of Peak By majority vote the Management Committee may suspend a peak from the Peak List for six months, and may remove such suspension at any appropriate time. Suspension will cause a peak to be ignored in applications for list completion achievements. Suspended peaks may be counted toward the 100 or 200 peak achievements, at the option of the applicant.

* Two statutes are in place that provide for possible continued access through private property if certain conditions are met. Since most of the HPS listed peaks have been hiked on a continuous basis for five years prior to 1972, the following applies to any in that category:

California Civil Code section 1009 allows the public to establish an implied in law dedication of an access easement. We only need to show that there were five or more years of continuous use prior to 1972.

Further, California Civil Code section 846 limits the liability of the property owner for such access.

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