Massachusetts Legislature Prepares to Pass Law Regulating Climbing Facilities and Challenge Courses

The Massachusetts Legislature's Joint Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety held a public hearing Wednesday June 6th, 2007. One of the bills under consideration was H.2317, this bill, if enacted, would eliminate the possibility of the climbing wall industry being regulated under an amusement licensing statute.
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Boulder, Colorado -- The Massachusetts Legislature's Joint Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety held a public hearing Wednesday June 6th, 2007. One of the bills under consideration was H.2317, this bill, if enacted, would eliminate the possibility of the climbing wall industry being regulated under an amusement licensing statute. The bill, as submitted to the committee, is far less onerous than the amusement licensing law in Massachusetts and will allow a more reasonable approach to regulating both challenge courses and climbing facilities in the Commonwealth.

The CWA provided significant input into the drafting of the bill, ensuring that the bill's final language was as favorable to the climbing industry as possible. Some of the significant advances over the amusement licensing statute include: 1) provisions allowing for qualified manufacturers representatives to perform acceptance inspections on climbing structures, 2) industry participation in the selection and oversight of certified inspectors, and 3) the elimination of certain criminal penalties for violations. The bill, as far as we know, is the first of its kind in the country and removes the stigma of recreational sports facilities being regulated under an amusement licensing statute. If the bill is passed, which is likely, climbing facilities in the Commonwealth may not be subject to amusement licensure as of the September 1st , 2007 deadline for enforcement.

Furthermore, the CWA has completed negotiations and submitted recommendations regarding administrative provisions in preparation for the enforcement of regulations on September 1st. The CWA and the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety (DPS) agreed to a specific category of inspector for climbing structures, language for the application for license, language for the inspection summary report, and other administrative matters.

The Mass DPS has agreed to accept inspection reports that conform to CWA's Provisional Specification for the Inspection of Artificial Climbing Structures (ACSs) as adequate documentation of inspection. The Mass DPS has also agreed to accept participation in CWA's Pilot Certification Program for Climbing Wall Instructors as adequate evidence of staff training.

The CWA is a 501(c)(06), non-profit, industry trade association for manufacturers of climbing wall equipment, builders of climbing walls, operators of climbing walls, and others involved in the climbing industry. The mission of the Climbing Wall Association is to support the development of the climbing wall industry, to promote the sport of climbing, and to advocate for the interests of our members.

Climbing Wall Association, Inc.
William Zimmermann
Executive Director
email: bill@climbingwallindustry.org
phone: 720-838-8284

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