The unique geological formation known as Devils Tower annually draws nearly half a million visitors. Most visitors enjoy photographing the butte, hiking area trails, camping, picnicking, and wildlife viewing. A few thousand technical rock climbers annually travel from across the country and the world to scale the butte's nearly vertical cracks and columns. Devils Tower also is a sacred site to several American Indian peoples of the northern plains. Increasingly, American Indian groups travel to the monument to perform traditional cultural practices. Devils Tower is highly regarded as having significant values that make it worthy of inclusion to the National Register of Historic Places. Recreational climbing at Devils Tower has increased dramatically from 312 climbers in 1973 to over 6,000 per year since 1992. New route development in the last ten years has led to increasing numbers of bolts on the tower. Approximately 580 metal bolts are currently embedded in the rock. Devils Tower is world famous for its crack climbing, which depends primarily on removable protection placed by climbers in cracks. Activities performed by the numerous climbers on the tower during the spring through fall climbing season has affected nesting raptors, soil, vegetation, the integrity of the rock, the area's natural quiet, and the rock's physical appearance. American Indians have complained that the presence of climbers on the sacred butte and the placement of bolts in the rock has adversely impacted their traditional activities and seriously impaired the spiritual quality of the site. The preferred alternative and five other alternatives address the monument's objectives to: 1) preserve and protect the monument's natural and cultural resources for present and future generations, 2) manage recreational climbing on the tower, 3) increase visitor awareness of American Indian beliefs and traditional cultural practices at Devils Tower, and 4) provide the monument with a guide for managing climbing use that is consistent with National Park Service management policies and other management plans at Devils Tower National Monument.
United States Department of the Interior, "Draft Climbing Management Plan and Environmental Assessment, Devils Tower National Monument, Wyoming" (1994). All U.S. Government Documents (Utah Regional Depository). Paper 363.