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Smith Rock Detour Event Spans Generations
10/11/2007

By Tony Holmes; Access Fund Regional Coordinator, Oregon

As the monuments and spires of Smith Rock State Park sit sun-bleached and glowing in the September sun, the silhouette of portable rock walls set contrast to the cobalt blue sky. In a field, just yards away from this natural climbing wonder-land the Smith Rock Detour event is going off!

Climb Max Mountaineering, a local shop with a heart of gold brings to this event the unique chemistry of one-half kids climbing competition and one-half Reel Rock Film Fest, the Detour draws crowds of climbers and gawkers alike from every generation.

This two-day outdoor event started four years ago with a small collection of industry reps and climbing enthusiasts. Today it is an annual event that brings young plastic pullers face to face with some of the sports top athletes and pioneers.

On September 22nd and 23rd, kids from all over the Northwest threw themselves at the walls of plexy and steel, the sounds of encouragement and achievement echoed through the desert air. Clinics where offered for all ages including Cicada Jenerick, the teen-age phenom, teaching those three-times her senior how to break the 5.12 barrier, Arno Illgner presented concepts from his Rock Warriors Way and some where treated to a priceless workshop on how to build bomber anchors.

As the sun set on the burning walls of orange and red, the grounds filled with locals and those that had spent the day in the park. They came for The Reel Rock Film Fest which found a home under a sea of stars as the premier showing of Josh Lowell and Peter Mortimers King Lines wowed audiences snug in their poly-pro and down.

On Sunday, as the semis raged into the finals, Access Fund Regional Coordinator Kellie Rice hosted a service project in the park and in addition to setting routes and coaching I had the opportunity to run a workshop from the Access Funds Boulder Project initiative, Together we were able to insure that the leaders of tomorrow preserve and protect the climbing environment.

Now the air is crisp and the frictionperfect. As I head into the park to work my latest project I think back on the friends that were made and the routes that were set, climbed and stripped and I know I will be back next year. I hope you can make it too.



Access Fund Helps Protect Climbing at New Hampshires Owls Head Cliff
9/13/2007

By Tom Richardson, Durham, NH

Thanks in part to a grant from the Access Fund, Owl's Head cliffs and about 360 acres which surround it on Route 25 was sold last week to The Trust for Public Land (TPL), in hopes it will soon become part of the 780,000-acre White Mountain National Forest.

The dramatic cliffs are a popular attraction for rock climbers and hikers. It is only one-half mile from the Appalachian Trail. The property is bounded on three sides by the White Mountain National Forest and has more than 6,000 feet of frontage along Oliverian Brook.

Before TPL and the Access Fund stepped in, this property faced potential development for vacation homes.

For more information see www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Rock-climbing+cliffs... or email josh.kelly@tpl.org.

 



Climbers Paradise for Sale, Farley, MA Update
9/13/2007

By Jeff Squire, President, Western Mass Climbers Coalition

How would you like to have over a hundred high quality climbs and boulder problems just out your backdoor? The Western Massachusetts Climbers Coalition (WMCC) is hard at work selling a house and two acres of land near the base of Farley Ledge in Erving, MA.

The property for sale was part of a larger purchase that has allowed the WMCC to restrict development at the base of the crag and to resolve the historically troublesome access issues to this areas excellent climbing and hiking options. The Access Fund supplied guidance and inspiration via an Acquisition Summit workshop and came through with a significant grant. Additional funding was provided by The Appalachian Mountain Club and local climbers.

Farley Ledge is often billed as the best crag between the Gunks and Rumney. It is home to five-star trad climbing, sport climbing, ice climbing, bouldering, top roping and even multi-pitch climbing. Also, the nationally recognized Metacomet-Monadnock Trail runs near the cliff base. Located only 15 min from Greenfield, 30 min from the college towns of Amherst & Northampton and 1.5 hours from downtown Boston, Farley is a primary rock climbing destination in southern New England.

The house is a well cared for and maintained 1,650 sq. ft. Cape built in 1976. It has 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, attached porch and 1 car garage. For more information visit: www.westernmass.craigslist.org/rfs/380901940.html or www.westernmacc.com. Better yet come to Farley and check out the house and the climbing.

 



Climbers Working to Preserve Climbing Access at Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, OK
9/13/2007

By Aaron Gibson, WMCC Board Member/AF Regional Coordinator

The Wichita Mountains Climbers Coalition (WMCC) is working to ensure that the Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and compatibility review process being conducted by the US Fish and Wildlife Refuge Service will not adversely affect the long-standing tradition of rock climbing in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge (WMWR) of Oklahoma.

Board members of the WMCC have met with the WMWR Refuge manager and Refuge personnel on several occasions to discuss the upcoming review.

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) both issued written responses to the National Director of the USFWS, Dale Hall, clearly stating their concerns about the compatibility review and their support for continuation of rock climbing in the Refuge.

The Wichitas, as they are commonly known, offers a unique wilderness climbing experience that is unmatched by any other area in the Midwest. Climbers went through a similar struggle in the early 90s and, upon organizing, were successful in protecting the tradition of climbing in the Refuge. Since that time the WMCC has maintained a healthy working relationship with the Refuge personnel in managing climbing activities.

The CCP process is expected to begin sometime this year and the WMCC anticipates being a key partner. For more information see http://wichitamountains.org/ or email aaron@fusionfortyseven.com.

 



Lost Horse Canyon, MT
9/13/2007

By Steve Porcella, Bitterroot Climbers Coalition

Lost Horse Crag in the Bitterroot Mountain remains at risk of being mined. This mining proposal has been deadlocked by an even vote of the Ravalli County Commission. Ravalli County Commissioner Kathleen Driscoll is the one abstainer in the currently tied vote (2 vs 2 out of 5 total commissioners) on whether to proceed on the Lost Horse Mining Proposal (slated to start Oct. 2007). Driscoll remains undecided while she waits for cost estimate numbers for mining road gravel at the old Lost Horse quarry versus other gravel pits throughout the county. For more background, see www.accessfund.org/display/page/AA/74.

The Bitterroot Climbers Coalition, www.bitterrootclimbers.org, urges climbers to continue writing to Driscoll. Make it known that citizens and visitors to the Bitterroot Valley and Lost Horse Canyon do not want this issue to be determined by the price of gravel, but rather upon the preservation of the unique recreational and outdoor attributes of Lost Horse Canyon. This important deciding vote should not be cast dependant upon if money will be saved for gravel mining but instead on the long term impacts to the Canyon from an active gravel mining operation and how this proposed industrial site will negatively impact all recreational use and interests in the area. Also worth mentioning are the negative health and safety aspects of running such an operation on a narrow dirt road and the loss of property values for local residents.

Take action now! Write Kathleen Driscoll at the address below. Lost Horse is the best climbing, bouldering, and cragging area in Montana. Operation of this quarry for the next 10 years or more will effectively halt all access to the climbing and destroy a unique recreational area in the heart of the Bitterroot Mountains.

See Joe Josephson's website: www.firstascentpress.com for more information and to order advance copies of the Lost Horse Climbing guide, available in late September.

Write your letters to:
Attn: Kathleen Driscoll
Glenda Wiles, Administrative Assistant
Ravalli County Commissioners Office
215 S. 4th Street, Suite A
Hamilton, MT 59840

Consider the following points in your letter:
The climbing resources at Lost Horse are very valuable to climbers locally, regionally, and across the country. This is the best climbing area in the state.
Re-activation of the quarry will negatively impact the scenic nature of the area, produce noise, disrupt wildlife such as migrating herds, wolverine that migrate through canyon, and peregrine falcons (which nest on the cliff), create a bigger footprint scar in the area (2-3 times bigger and deeper) and basically make the area too dangerous or impossible for climbing.
The Forest Service proposal does not recognize or consider the unique recreational asset of Lost Horse, nor the hundreds of climbers, land owners, and other users in the area. They do not realize climbers and many other users enjoy Lost Horse every month of the year and grossly underestimate the safety and egress issues (access from an upper observation point).

See www.accessfund.org/pdf/losthorse.pdf to view the Access Funds opposition letter.

 



Virginia Land Management Plans Update: Shenandoah and Great Falls
9/13/2007

Shenandoah National Park is nearing completion of the final draft Rock Outcrop Management Plan (ROMP) and Environmental Assessment (EA). This plan includes a Climbing Management Plan and will affect climbing areas such as Old Rag, Little Stony Man, and others.

The EA is being prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to analyze potential issues and impacts to natural and cultural resources, values, and the human environment as well as identifying mitigation measures to lessen the degree or extent of those impacts. The final draft ROMP/Climbing Management Guidelines and EA will likely be available for 30 days starting in late September.

For additional information and to comment, see www.snpclimbersalliance.blogspot.com/ or https://cms.ner.nps.gov/shen/parknews/newsreleases.htm. Contact Thomson Ling thomsonling@gmail.com for more details.

Great Falls Park
In September 2005, the National Park Service (NPS) released a draft General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement for Great Falls Park, Virginia. The draft Plan contained proposals with potentially serious implications for climbing at Great Falls, including cliff closures and required permits for climbing and anchor installation. These proposed restrictions are excessive considering the current level of impact that climbers have on the park. Recently, the NPS has indicated that the revised General Management Plan for Great Falls has been approved for printing. It is likely this will be available in October/November 2007.

For more information, see www.friendsofgreatfalls.com/ or contact Friends of Great Falls Chairman Simon Carr at greatfallsaccess@gmail.com; (301) 320 5035.

 



Cave Rock
8/29/2007

On August 27, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a US Forest Service (USFS) ban on rock climbing at Lake Tahoe's Cave Rock in Nevada, rejecting arguments by the Access Fund that the ban enacted in early 2005 by the USFS is unconstitutional because it closes public lands for religious purposes. The Access Fund does not agree with the courts justification of this closure to climbing while all other usershikers, picnickers, site-seers, and highway usershave been permitted to continue to use Cave Rock. The Access Fund is carefully reviewing the courts opinion and options for short and long term action.



Cave Rock, NV
8/29/2007

On August 27, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a US Forest Service (USFS) ban on rock climbing at Lake Tahoe's Cave Rock in Nevada, rejecting arguments by the Access Fund that the ban enacted in early 2005 by the USFS is unconstitutional because it closes public lands for religious purposes. The Access Fund does not agree with the courts justification of this closure to climbing while all other usershikers, picnickers, site-seers, and highway usershave been permitted to continue to use Cave Rock. The Access Fund is carefully reviewing the courts opinion and options for short and long term action.



Cleveland National Forest Access Threat Update, CA
8/15/2007

By Jeff Brown, Executive Director Allied Climbers of San Diego

A proposal by the Cleveland National Forest (CNF) would deny well-established recreational climbing in order to create nesting habitat for non-threatened eagles and prairie falcons. These speculative preserves would be established where no golden eagles nest within close proximity or view of climbing activities, and where prairie falcons continue to nest successfully.

The Allied Climbers of San Diego (ACSD), in concert with the Access Fund, are working to preserve climbing access and work with the CNF on a reasonable solution. For more background on this issue see www.alliedclimbers.org/. ACSDs formal statement of complaint can be found here: www.alliedclimbers.org/pdf/FSoC.pdf and Access Fund comments here: www.accessfund.org/pdf/USFS_MBTA.pdf and www.alliedclimbers.org/pdf/AF_LETTER.pdf

The ACSD invites all climbers to follow this important access threat created by the CNFs climbing closure proposals by visiting ACSDs website to access a timeline of the CNFs proposals and to understand why these measures are being opposed by the Access Fund and ACSD in their current form. In early September the CNF will release an Environmental Assessment for public review and comment. This is a National Forest issue with national precedent-setting potential, so please stay tuned for the Access Fund's and ACSD's evaluation of this anxiously awaited document.

 



Gunks Climbers Sign MOU with Mohonk Preserve
8/15/2007

On August 13, following more than two years of presentations, meetings, and negotiations (with tons of assistance from the AF), the Gunks Climbers Coalition (GCC) and Mohonk Preserve signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Rosendale Waterworks bouldering parcel.

The signing marks a significant step though several remain before access to the parcel can be realized. Jeff Powell, one of two boulderers who discovered the site, has volunteered for the Waterworks liaison position outlined in the MOU.

The GCC is also pleased to announce that our Adopt-A-Crag date this year will take place on Saturday, September 15, with a litter clean-up at Skytop. The historic crag saw a partial reopening this year by the Mohonk Mountain House to guided climbing of hotel guests.

 



New Land Exchange Proposal Introduced Into Congress for Oak Flat, AZ
8/15/2007

In early August two bills were introduced into Congress that would transfer Oak FlatUS Forest Service land east of Superior, Arizonato Resolution Copper Company to develop a massive copper mine. The result of this land exchange would result in the loss of thousands of bouldering problems and roped sport climbs at the popular Oak Flat area. This issue is of longstanding importance to the Access Fund as it would result in the single largest loss of climbing resources ever. For more background, see the Friends of Queen Creeks website at www.friendsofqueencreek.com and www.accessfund.org/saveoakflat

The proposed law, introduced by US Senators Kyl and McCain in the Senate and US Representative Pastor in the House, now faces scrutiny by the relevant congressional committees that oversee public lands and federal land exchanges. At issue for climbers in the proposed Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2007 are the following provisions:

The permanent loss of bouldering and roped climbing at Oak Flat, although the Access Fund last year obtained a recreational use license to continue climbing at Queen Creek Canyon and Oak Flat up to five years following the land exchange if it passes. See www.accessfund.org/display/page/PR/40

If the bill does become law the climbing sites at Oak Flat known as the Mine Area and Euro Dog Valley will be closed to public use immediately; however, the bill provides for continued public access to most of the Oak Flat area for two years after enactment.

The establishment of a new state park for climbing to replace whats lost at Oak Flat. This area is, unlike Oak Flat, primarily roped climbing, further from Phoenix, and will cost climbers an entry fee. A state law http://law.justia.com/arizona/codes/title41/00511-16.html already authorizing the new state park, but the proposed 2-wheel drive access road remains a question mark in terms of construction and funding.

This land exchange must now overcome renewed opposition by local Apaches and citizens groups www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/93851 a new Congress generally more critical of land exchanges. The Access Fund will continue to work with Congress to ensure that the interests of climbers are represented in this proposed law.

For more information about the licensed climbing in Queen Creek Canyon and whats at stake for Oak Flat, contact jason@accessfund.org

 



Red River Gorge, KY Update
8/15/2007

By Bill Strachan, Executive Director Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition

With the 2007 mortgage payment for the Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve (PMRP) out of the way, the Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition has been preparing for two major events coming up this fall, the Mountain Gear UCLIMB being held the weekend of September 15 & 16 and the Petzl Roc Trip at Rocktoberfest being held the weekend of October 12-14.

In other news, the Military Wall Cliffline Protection and Restoration Project was removed from consideration for its 2008 budget due to the transfer of the staff person preparing the environmental assessment. Due to transfers and retirements the Daniel Boone National Forest, many Districts are severely understaffed, especially the Redbird District, this position may not be filled immediately, however the USFS has indicated that may pick the project back up once it has adequate staffing.

 



Dogs: A Continued Access Problem in Red River Gorge, KY
7/16/2007

By Bill Strachan, Executive Director, Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition

Muir Valley Nature Preserve is a 400-acre piece of private land with 7+ miles of cliff line near Red River Gorge, Kentucky that the owners, Rick and Liz Weber, have graciously opened for climbing development. Upon opening the area to climbing they institute the following rule with regards to dogs:

Dogs must be kept on leashes at all times everywhere in Muir Valley. They must be restrained at the base of climbs such that they cannot interfere with and/or distract belayers or damage plants in the area

Due to continuing problems with dogs at Muir Valley, Rick Weber posted the following announcement on the www.redriverclimbing.com website:

Effective January 1, 2008, dogs will no longer be permitted in Muir Valley. This date can and will be moved up if flagrant infractions and incidents continue. Until then, dog owners who disregard the leash rule will lose visitor privileges.

Rick

Climbers not following the dog rule at Torrent Falls were one of the primary reasons that public access to climbing there was closed. Again, we are reminded of why it is important know and follow all rules when climbing in the Red River Gorge area regardless of whether on public or private land. If these rules are ignored, more restrictions or even closure may follow.

 



Re-Cap of Grand-Opening Event
7/16/2007

ACSDs official grand opening to the public was a huge success! Over 140 people showed up, joined as members, and helped us celebrate San Diegos first climbing non-profit organization dedicated to keeping San Diego climbing open for future generations. Support and donations from vendors and individuals, allowed us to generate over $5,000! These much needed funds will go toward purchasing tools for service projects, paying for costs associated with working with public land managers on access issues, maintaining our website, and of course organizing more projects, events and fun things for our members to participate in. Whether you contributed the minimum amount or a whole lot more, you are playing an important part in San Diegos climbing future. Thanks again to all our supporting vendors and for joining the ACSD. If you did join as a member, please plan on attending our first public meeting at REI San Diego (5556 Copley Dr. 92111) on Tuesday, July 24th. If you didnt make it to the Opening, and want to join as a member and find out more, either fill out your form on our website, or come by the public meeting. See you then! www.alliedclimbers.org

 



Support Hunterdon County Bouldering
7/16/2007

John Anderson, Access NJ

In response to Hunterdon County's anti-access stance, Access NJ is holding a one-day (unsanctioned) Vulgarian Music Fest here NJ.

Venue will take place in lieu of Access NJ's traditional Adopt A Crag events. Some music groups have made commitments to play. Others are welcome. Contact Access NJ. Free Music, Food and Drink. Pig roast, bouldering contest, strategy sessions, etc.....

Support access on NJ's public open space lands. Gig out!

 



BLMs Proposed Wilderness Plan Focuses on Red Rocks Bolting Proposal, NV
6/18/2007

The Bureau of Land Management in Las Vegas has just finished accepting scoping comments to their Preliminary Proposed Wilderness Management Plan for Red Rocks which includes the La Madre Mountain and Rainbow Mountain Wilderness areas. See www.blm.gov/style/medialib/blm/nv/field_offices/las_vegas_field_office/...

The BLM will now take these public comments and formulate management alternatives for Red Rocks including new policies to permit new fixed anchor. Look for a draft plan in late 2007 or early 2008. For more background on this issue, see the Access Funds comments www.accessfund.org/pdf/RedRocksScop.pdf and stay tuned to the Las Vegas Climbers Liaison Council www.lvclc.org for news of the local Vegas position on new Red Rocks climbing policies.

 



Help Save Lost Horse Crag from County Quarry Proposal, MT
6/18/2007

The Lost Horse Crag in Montanas Bitterroot National Forest could face demolition if the US Forest Service agrees to a countys proposed quarry. Last mined in the 60s or 70s, the Lost Horse Quarry has since turned into one of Montanas premier multi-pitch climbing areas. See www.ravallirepublic.com/articles/2007/06/07/.... The proposed plan would expand the old quarry at Lost Horse, install gates, restrict access, and impose season closures from October through April annually for 10 years.

Send your comments on the proposal by July 9, 2007
to Chuck Oliver, District Ranger at Darby Ranger District P.O. Box 388, Darby, MT 59829. For more information, contact the Bitterroot Climbers' Coalitions Steve Porcella at bitterrootclimbers@gmail.com, or Elizabeth Ballard, Stevensville Ranger District, Bitterroot National Forest, at (406) 777-7421.

 



Ragged Mountain Foundation Annual Meeting June 21, CT
6/18/2007

The RMF Annual meeting will be held Thursday June 21st 7:00 at The Connecticut Forest and Parks Association (CFPA) facility 16 Meriden Rd., Rockfall, CT 06481-2961 (AKA - Rt 66 Middlefield).

The meeting agenda includes: election results, special awards, presidents report, property report, 2007 Wilcox award, and a slideshow presentation by the 2006 Wilcox Award winner. (Al Carilli). Pizza and refreshments will be served.

 



Texas' Hueco Tanks and Enchanted Rock Receive Increased Funding
6/18/2007

By Jamie McNally, Central TX Mountaineers

Thanks to a concerted effort by a wide variety of organizations including the Access Fund, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (which manages Hueco Tanks State Park and Enchanted Rock State Natural Area) will now enjoy $180 million in new funding. These increased state-level appropriations will benefit climbers by improving the management of resource protection and recreational access at these parks which had been critically under funded for years.

Also significant for climbers, the recently enacted legislation provides for the transfer of 18 historic sites from Parks Department jurisdiction over to the Texas Historical Commission who could ultimately impose more restrictive policies on recreation such as climbing. Although Hueco Tanks was not included in the list of historic sites transferred, the legislation provides for an interim legislative committee to study issues surrounding historic site transfers and the study's conclusions could have implications for possible future transfers.

On June 14 a number of Texas conservation organizations, including the Trust for Public Land, The Texas Coalition for Conservation, the Nature Conservancy of Texas and others met in Austin to celebrate recent legislative accomplishments and to award the First Annual Land and People Award to George Bristol, Executive Director of the Texas Coalition for Conservation for his leadership efforts in helping to obtain additional funding for state parks.

 



Volunteer Raptor Closures a Success at Black Cliffs, ID
6/18/2007
By Brian Fedigan - Boise Climbers Alliance, Access Fund RC

Thanks to all Boise Climbers for helping with the raptor closures at the Black Cliffs. The voluntarily closures will be lifted and all areas will be open to climbing at the end of June. This year two pairs of Prairie Falcons, a Barn Owl, one pair of American Kestrels and a Red Tail Hawk successfully nested in sections of the Black Cliffs. Thanks for participating.

 



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