Jordan - Wadi Rum - RSCN zoning plan
Wadi Rum 2003 - Environmental zoning in the the Wadi Rum Special Regulations Area
After years of uncertainty about the creation of a National Park (or 'Special Regulations Area') in Wadi Rum, and its effects on visiting climbers and trekkers, the new Regulations will take effect this year. At the request of the RSCN, we were involved throughout the negotiations. Our greatest concern was that initial plans for 'zoning' into areas of 'intensive-use, semi-intensive and wilderness', with heavy restrictions in the latter two zones would eliminate much of the best climbing. However, with feedback back from the BMC, Tourism Concern and Survival International, as well as from climbers and strong support from the Rum Bedouin, we are pleased that the resultant regulations have eased considerably. Whilst protecting the environment in the remoter parts of Rum, climbing and trekking etc will hardly be affected.
The current situation is this: all the brown area on the map from an access corridor west of Jebel Rum, to the east side of the Barrah massif, and south from the Disi road to south of Khazali and Burdah will be intensive use, ie open-access for climbing and trekking. The yellow area west and south of that as far as the reserve borders - which were extended to Saudi Arabia in 2003 - will be wilderness and limited to 40 climbers and 150 trekkers/day, which shouldn't be a problem. Camping is also allowed in certain areas, with expected restrictions on burning wood and other sensible environmental issues. Traditional Bedouin camps will not be affected, as was originally feared.
From the actual climbing viewpoint, the main requests are that you leave information of your planned route (a sensible precaution in Rum). Traditional climbing practices should be followed rather than the creation of fixed-pro routes. Any fixed gear should be out of sight of the desert and drilling in wilderness areas is not permitted.
Leaflets with all information will be available at the new Rum Visitor Centre at the valley entrance. This will include a leaflet on 'Safety and Environmental Awareness for Climbers and Trekkers' prepared by us with considerable input from the BMC and in accordance with UIAA and IUCN recommendations. This leaflet was only finalised following a lot of feedback from regular Rum climbers.