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Southeast Arizona Land Exchange Bill Passes House, On its Way to Senate
11/10/2011

On October 26, 2011, the United States House of Representatives voted to pass the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2011 which would exchange approximately 2,400 acres of public land for 5,300 acres held by a multi-national mining company for the creation of a massive copper mine. The public land to be exchanged includes the Oak Flat campground, and a popular climbing area with hundreds of existing roped climbing routes and thousands of bouldering problems that for years was home of the historic Phoenix Bouldering Contest. Much of the Oak Flat area was protected from mining through an executive order made during the Eisenhower Administration, but now Resolution Copper Mining (RCM) seeks to take possession of the land through an act of Congress. A spirited debate on the bill in the House of Representatives may be viewed here. The Senate now must introduce and pass a “companion bill” before the exchange is signed into law.

Earlier this year, the Access Fund submitted comments on the bill, H.R. 1904. Because provisions favorable to climbers which were included in past versions of the bill have been removed, new environmental concerns have emerged (namely the omission of a pre-exchange NEPA process), and climbers have yet to complete an agreement with RCM to address the loss of climbing resources, the Access Fund opposes H.R. 1904 while these issues remain unresolved.

The Access Fund and Arizona climbing community have long worked to protect climbing in central Arizona, first through the Friends of Queen Creek, then the Queen Creek Coalition (QCC), and more recently the QCC and the Concerned Climbers of Arizona (CCA). Strategic disagreements in the climbing community split the QCC into two groups: one that retains the QCC name and works to “maximize rock climbing resources in the Queen Creek region of Arizona by maintaining productive relationships with involved companies, land managers and civic leaders” and the CCA who “advocate for continued recreational access to climbing areas that are threatened by development or other forms of encroachment.” Comments on H.R. 1904 from the QCC may be found here. The CCA position on H.R. 1904 is found here.

The Access Fund has not exclusively sided with either of central Arizona’s climbing advocacy groups, but continues to work with each organization, Congress, and RCM directly to advocate for climbing access and the conservation of climbing resources in Arizona.

There are many recent articles which cover the bill in greater detail. RCM has posted a video promoting the mine, which includes an overview of the block cave mining technique and a simulation of the damage that would occur through surface subsidence.

Although both Arizona Senators Kyl and McCain are in favor of the exchange, the controversial bill will face greater opposition in the Democratic-controlled Senate. The Access Fund will continue to monitor the situation, directly engage members of Congress, and send an action alert soliciting climber input when the companion bill is introduced in the U.S. Senate.



Conservation Team Reports Back from the Red
10/14/2011

Southern hospitality is alive and well in the Red! The feedback we received from the locals was great—everyone was very appreciative of our visit and our work. We completed a stone step project at the Solar Collector/Gold Coast approach. The project consisted of installing 15 stone steps and a stone retaining wall to replace the existing decaying wood structures. We were fortunate to find good building stone in abundance in the area, and the soils there lend themselves very well to trail work, being primarily composed of clay. We spent two long days completing the project, and overall were very pleased with the finished product. We were assisted by Matt Tackett of the RRGCC during a brief site visit in which we discussed the details of the project.

 
There are still a few tools that we need to acquire that would make our lives easier and our work better. I also need stronger forearms to climb in the Red. Dave's good, even without much of an index finger. So if you guys could get on that, that would be great ;).

In addition to our work at the Solar Collector/Gold Coast area we were fortunate to meet with Rick & Liz Weber, the owners of Muir Valley. Rick took us on a tour of the property, where we made an assessment of some trail work. There is an endless potential for future projects in the Red, both in the PMRP & Muir Valley. And RRGC and Rick and Liz are enthusiastic about us returning in the spring for a bigger project with more volunteer support.

We hit Rocktoberfest on Friday and Saturday nights and worked the Access Fund booth—great time. On Sunday night, we were invited to Dr. Bob Matheny's for a much appreciated post-event dinner/party.

Thanks to Bob, Matt, Rick and Liz for a memorable trip. Now on to Indian Creek!

 



Fighting Climbing Ban at Massacre Rock and Castle Rocks
10/14/2011

As reported in August E-News, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Idaho is proposing a climbing ban on its property at Massacre Rocks and making its ban at Castle Rocks permanent due to fears that climbing could potentially have negative impacts on cultural resources at each location. The Access Fund is working with the Boise Climbers Association (BCA), the Eastern Idaho Climbers Coalition (EICC), members of Idaho’s Congressional Delegation, the local BLM, and other concerned stakeholders to find a reasonable compromise that allows climbing and protects valuable culture resources.

Recently, Jason Keith (AF Senior Policy Advisor) and R.D. Pascoe (AF Policy Director) travelled to Idaho for several meetings with the Working Group to find possible solutions. The AF, the BCA, and potentially the EICC are drafting a joint comment letter that provides site specific suggestions that accommodate climbing and protect sensitive cultural resources. Members of Idaho’s Congressional Delegation, Idaho State and County Officials, and local civic leaders are encouraging the BLM to consider an option that permits climbing. The AF is offering climbing management expertise, funding for research/monitoring, and volunteer stewardship support. Stay tuned for more to come.

 



National Access and Stewardship Summit
10/11/2011

The 2011 National Access and Stewardship Summit in Golden, CO was our largest to date and featured three concurrent tracks for attendees to choose from. The Access Fund provided travel scholarships to encourage regional diversity, and attracted nearly 75 climbers from across the States as well as Canada and Latin America. A total of 17 workshops covered important topics in stewardship, education, land conservation, policy, and local support and mobilization. Rocky Mountain Field Institute and Colorado Mountain Club hosted hands-on training in volunteer management and advanced rock work at the Access Fund-owned Golden Cliffs Preserve.

Clif Bar_Meet the Moment_Day of Action_Access Fund_Golden from Cedar Wright on Vimeo.

Thanks to all the presenters, volunteers, sponsors, and attendees. And a special thanks to Colorado Mountain Club, who provided the American Mountaineering Center to host the conference. And a special thanks to CLIF Bar for their incredible support as part of the Meet the Moment Campaign. CLIF Bar went above and beyond, and even hosted a taco truck for volunteers. If you missed out on the Summit, don’t fear—all the workshops were professionally filmed by Louder than 11. Stay tuned for online videos in the coming months. You can also contact joe@accessfund.org to access workshop materials.

 



Access Fund Conservation Team Ready to Hit the Road
9/21/2011

The Access Fund is excited to announce that the Access Fund’s new traveling Conservation Team, sponsored by Jeep® brand, is ready to hit the road—first stop the Rocktoberfest climbing festival in the Red River Gorge of Kentucky. After the festival, the crew will take on their first stewardship project in collaboration with the Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition.

After interviewing many great candidates, the Access Fund is pleased to welcome Dave Montgomery and Jeff Young as the Conservation Team crew. The duo met during their days working for Jefferson County Open Space in Colorado as trail technicians, and applied for the crew together. Both are avid climbers and come to the Access Fund with extensive trail building, stewardship, and conservation expertise.

Dave and Jeff check out the new 2011 Jeep Patriot as they prepare to hit the road. Shown with Stewardship Manager, Jenny Blackmore who will be managing Conservation Team logistics from the Boulder office

Dave, a native to Colorado, is a dedicated volunteer and has worked to coordinate numerous stewardship events at climbing areas in the South Platte. He has also worked extensively with kids, teaching Leave No Trace clinics and coaching a youth climbing team for a recreational center. Jeff, an Illinois native, is also an avid volunteer, lending his time and trail building skills to numerous Adopt a Crag events across the Colorado front range. The Access Fund is thrilled to have Dave and Jeff leading the Conservation Team.

The Conservation Team will be leaving the Access Fund office in a new 2011 Jeep Patriot on October 4 and will make their way to Kentucky by October 7. “We’re excited to work with the Red River Gorge climbers to help address their conservation needs,” says Dave. The team will work with locals to provide training on planning and stewardship best practices.

“We are honored and excited that the Access Fund-Jeep Conservation Team is kicking off their tour at the Red River Gorge,” says Rick Bost of the Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition. “This program is going to have a huge positive impact on the climbing areas throughout the US as well as promote more cooperation between the local climbing organizations and the Access Fund.”

The Access Fund-Jeep Conservation Team mission is to address conservation issues at climbing areas around the country before they become dire. To make a donation to support this critical work, visit www.accessfund.org/CTdonate.

The Conservation Team is made possible by Title Sponsor, Jeep, and Supporting Sponsors, CLIF Bar, Outdoor Research and REI.




Gunks Climbers' Coalition Offers Joint Membership with Access Fund
9/15/2011

The Gunks Climbers' Coalition has joined forces with the Access Fund for the good of climbers and climbing access along the Shawangunk Ridge and surrounding areas. You can now join both organizations at the same time, and receive two sets of benefits for the cost of one! Joint membership starts at just $35!

Become a joint GCC/Access Fund member…



Park Officials Announce Denali Fee Increase
9/14/2011

Last fall word spread of a fee increase proposal at Denali that could go as high as $500. After a year of working with the American Alpine Club and American Mountain Guides Association to investigate the scope and associated budget of the mountaineering program, we are happy to report that the fee increase is lower than originally expected. Denali National Park announced last week a fee increase from $200 to $350 for climbing on Denali and Mt. Foraker, which will go into effect on January 1, 2012. The park also set a discounted $250 youth pass.

The Access Fund, American Alpine Club, and American Mountain Guides Association presented a united front in working with Denali National Park, National Park Service officials in Washington, DC, and members of Congress. Collectively, we worked together to investigate the mountaineering program and ensure that the public had an opportunity to provide input and suggestions on the Park's proposal and help them identify ways to make the mountaineering program more cost-effective.

The positive outcome from this effort is that we worked together to become better informed and find common ground related to the scope and associated budget of Denali’s $1 million annual Mountaineering Program. “It’s been a long road. We didn’t get everything we wanted, but we’re happy with how things worked out in the end," said the Access Fund’s Senior Policy Advisor Jason Keith. “We are especially appreciative of the discounted $250 youth fee. The park worked hard to get there." The fees may be adjusted periodically based on actual costs, but the Park has agreed not to exceed changes in the cumulative consumer price index based on inflation.

For more information, see Denali’s mountaineering page, or email Jason@accessfund.org.



Access Fund Announces Second Round Grant Recipients
9/12/2011
The Access Fund is pleased to announce the second round of the Climbing Preservation Grant Program for 2011. For the first time this year, Access Fund members were given the opportunity to rate grant projects, helping the Access Fund decide which projects they were most interested in funding. In this round of grants, the Access Fund awarded over $20,000 to support local climbing activism and conservation of the climbing environment. Presented two times annually, the Climbing Preservation Grant program provides financial assistance to the grassroots network and land managers across the United States. During this second round of grants, the Access Fund is supporting eight worthy projects.

Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition — Graining Fork Nature Preserve (Roadside) Restoration
A grant was awarded to Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition (RRGCC) to help private land owners restore and address climber impacts at Roadside Crag in the Graining Fork Nature Preserve near Torrent, Kentucky. The owners closed the highly popular climbing area due to climber impacts and disrespect for rules, and this project will help address these impacts before public access is re-considered. Pending a plan for re-opening, the Access Fund and the RRGCC will work together with the landowners, using volunteer labor to implement trail improvements, stabilize base areas to address severe erosion, and install both an informational kiosk at the trailhead and other signage along the trail.

CRAG-Vermont — Bolton Quarry Access Road Repair
CRAG-Vermont was awarded a grant to help cover the cost of repairing the access road on their Bolton Quarry property after an unprecedented flood washed out the road in April and blocked off climbing access to the area. This grant follows an emergency stewardship loan by the Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign to help raise $16,295 to cover the cost of repairs completed in June and re-establish their long-term stewardship funds. CRAG-Vermont has successfully protected climbing access to six different crags in the Bolton area and this road provides access to three of those crags.

Utah Open Lands — Castleton Tower Toilet Installation
Utah Open Lands (UOL) was awarded a grant to help address waste management issues at the Castleton Tower Preserve Area. This favorite climbing destination has seen increased use and thus greater impact in recent years. The Access Fund is pleased to support UOL in conjunction with Friends of Indian Creek and Planet Granite to protect and steward Castle Valley. Together we will help keep this area fee free and protected for future generations.

Friends of Muir Valley — Muir Valley Parking Improvements/Expansion
A grant was awarded to Friends of Muir Valley to improve and expand parking at Muir Valley, which hosts over 20,000 visitor days each year and growing. Lack of parking was beginning to cause serious access issues, with the current lot overflowing and many climbers (some of whom traveled a great distance) having to turn away. This project will help expand and improve the current parking lot and build an auxiliary parking lot for an additional 27 vehicles, accommodating oversized vehicles such as buses and RVs. Much of the design and labor will be donated.

Yosemite Climbing Association — 2011 Yosemite Facelift
A grant was awarded to the Yosemite Climbing Association (YCA) to help fund outreach and volunteer appreciation at the annual Yosemite Facelift. The event will address impacts to trails, roadways, river corridors, campgrounds, lodging areas, and climbing areas. The 2011 Facelift will also feature special projects such as removal of abandoned infrastructure, non-native species removal, old dump site removal, and, new this year, climbing trail restoration.

New Mexico CRAG — Diablo Canyon Restoration and Recreational Enhancement
New Mexico CRAG (NM-CRAG) was awarded a grant to assist the BLM in an effort to enhance the recreational potential of the Buckman Area, including Diablo Canyon, a basalt climbing area outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. The grant money will help restore riparian and other important hydro-ecologic functions of the area, as well as assist the BLM with the development of parking, camping, trail infrastructure, and informative signage about climbing opportunities in Diablo Canyon.

Boulder Climbing Community — Startup and Structuring
A grant was awarded to the Boulder Climbing Community (BCC), which kicked off in 2010 to connect and support the many climbers and local climbing organizations in the Boulder, Colorado area. The grant will assist the BCC in the process of becoming a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization; establish a more formal structure that transcends any one individual and maximizes involvement from community members; and improve BCC’s branding through the development of visible materials such as banners and signs.

Friends of Indian Creek — Superbowl Toilet Installation
Earlier this year, Access Fund awarded an off-cycle grant to Friends of Indian Creek (FOIC) to install a toilet at the popular Superbowl Campground. This toilet installation is part of a larger conservation effort to manage waste and reduce human impacts in the fragile desert landscape of Indian Creek.


BLM Remains Determined to Close Massacre Rocks, ID
8/15/2011

Last month the Bureau of Land Management in Idaho announced their proposal to close up to 600 acres at Massacre Rocks near American Falls. The closure is intended to protect sensitive cultural resources within the Cedar Field Archaeological District and will likely restrict access to several hundred bolt-protected basalt sport climbs.

According to the BLM, while grazing and off highway vehicle (OHV) use has been restricted for several years (although not enforced according to locals), until now climbing has been allowed to proceed unmanaged. The BLM will soon issue a scoping notice to the federal register outlining a 1-2 year process to amend the BLM’s existing Resource Management Plan (RMP). This RMP amendment will propose climbing provisions for the recent 500-acre closure of BLM land at Castle Rocks near City of Rocks (note that Castle Rocks State Park remains open to climbing), and propose climbing restrictions for Massacre Rocks. Climbing on BLM lands outside the Archaeological District and on Bureau of Reclamation land adjacent to the Snake River at Massacre Rocks will remain unaffected by the new restrictions. The BLM intends to accept public comment and issue a decision later this summer.

The Access Fund has been working with Idaho climbers in Pocatello, Blackfoot, Idaho Falls, Boise, Ketchum and elsewhere to develop a plan for mobilizing climbers, requesting additional information from the BLM to justify the closure, and reaching out to Congress urging a more balanced management approach. Recently, local climbers have met at Massacre Rocks with the BLM manager and member of the Shoshone Bannock tribal council to propose alternative management to a closure, but the BLM is determined to ignore best management practices and close the entire 600 acres. Stay tuned to the Access Fund for an action alert with more information on the closure and directions for public comment. For more information, email jason@accessfund.org.



The New Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife
8/15/2011

On July 1st the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the Colorado Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation merged, becoming the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife (DPW). The merger was primarily a cost-saving measure introduced by Governor Hickenlooper. The new DPW Board is currently comprised of the eleven former Division of Wildlife Commissioners and the five former Board Members of the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation. Under the current DPW Board structure, the former Division of Wildlife Commissioners can dictate the direction of the new DPW Board.

The former Division of Wildlife Commissioners’ policies focused on wildlife preservation and prioritized “wildlife oriented recreation,” such as hunting and fishing, over all other forms of recreation. Examples of the former Division of Wildlife’s bias against “non-wildlife oriented recreation” are found at Dome Rock near Colorado Springs and Rifle Fishing Unit near Rifle Colorado. Rock climbing is, and has been, completely banned at both locations without justification.

The transition plan allows two more opportunities for public input before the DPW Board’s new mission and ultimate composition are officially declared. July 29, 2011 was the first deadline for the public to provide input regarding the new DPA. The Access Fund submitted a comment letter addressing climbers’ concerns and will continue to be involved throughout the entire process. To get more information, visit the Colorado Department of Natural Resources.



New Additions to the Access Fund Programs Team
8/9/2011

The Access Fund is pleased to announce new additions to the Programs Team to further assist the American climbing community with access issues and stewardship projects nationwide. After ten years as Policy Director, Jason Keith is transitioning to half time work for the Access Fund as Senior Policy Advisor and initiating his own LLC, Jason Keith Consulting. With additional support from major donors, the Access Fund is fortunate to retain Jason Keith for the next two years and welcome Robert Dennis (“R.D.”) Pascoe to the team as a full-time Policy Analyst. Two other changes also mark the past month for the Access Fund: Zachary Lesch-Huie starts this fall as Affiliate Director, and Jenny Blackmore, previously Office Manager, is heading up new and ongoing stewardship programs as Stewardship Manager.

From left to right: Zachary, Jenny, RD.

R.D. Pascoe graduated from Colorado State University in 1997 with a B.A. in Philosophy. He operated his own arboriculture business for several years before attending the University of Wyoming, College of Law, where he practiced criminal law as the Student Director of the Defender Aide Program. After law school, R.D. worked for a large civil litigation firm in Cheyenne, Wyoming. In 2010, R.D. started a general practice in Fort Collins, Colorado. As a founding member of the Northern Colorado Climbers Coalition, he helped re-start the Horsetooth Hang in Ft. Collins. As Jason Keith focuses his efforts on major federal land initiatives and climbing policy, RD will expand on the Access Fund’s capacity to tackle local, state, and regional access issues.

Zachary Lesch-Huie, who will start as Affiliate Director this August, is well-versed in outreach and communications due to his work at multiple land conservancies in North Carolina. Zachary will utilize his experience to strengthen the national affiliate network of local climbing organizations and volunteers. As Vice-President of the Carolina Climbers Association, his contributions to climbing access include spearheading the Rumbling Bald boulders acquisition and mobilizing support for greater climbing access in Chimney Rock State Park.

Within the office, Jenny Blackmore has taken on the position of Stewardship Manager. As the point-person for organizers and volunteers, Jenny coordinates all stewardship events and stewardship education programs, including Adopt a Crag and TeamWorks. In partnership with Jeep, Jenny will also oversee the newly launched Conservation Team as they host and attend stewardship and conservation events throughout the nation.

Joe Sambataro, Access Director, will continue to spearhead Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign projects and assist local communities with access issues on private lands. “As the Access Fund celebrates its 20th Anniversary, we are excited to build upon the organization’s long history of success while taking critical steps to expand and launch new programs,” says Executive Director Brady Robinson. “We are now even better positioned to assist local climbing communities with the challenges and opportunities facing local climbing areas.



REI, Outdoor Research, and CLIF® BAR to be Supporting Sponsors of the Access Fund - Jeep® Climbing Conservation Team
7/28/2011

The Access Fund, the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment, is excited to announce the Jeep® brand as the title sponsor of the Access Fund’s new traveling Conservation Team, with REI, Outdoor Research, and CLIF BAR as the supporting sponsors of the program.

The Access Fund-Jeep Conservation Team will employ two, full-time conservation/trail building experts who will travel the country in a new 2011 Jeep Patriot to help maintain climbing areas throughout the United States. The team will work with local climbers to address conservation needs and will provide training on planning and stewardship best practices. Look for the team to hit the road later this summer.

This new program will extend the success of the Access Fund’s existing Adopt a Crag and TeamWorks stewardship programs that help local climbers around the country take care of the places they play. The Access Fund-Jeep Conservation Team will provide climbing communities and volunteers with the training and resources they need to address conservation issues before they become dire.

The Access Fund is proud to have additional support from REI, Outdoor Research, and CLIF BAR on this important conservation initiative that will result in healthier climbing areas for everyone to enjoy. REI, Outdoor Research, and CLIF BAR are leaders in the outdoor industry dedicated to protecting the places we play outdoors through stewardship, volunteerism, and education.

Look for the Access Fund-Jeep Conservation Team at a climbing area or climbing event near you. Stay tuned to www.accessfund.org for upcoming details about this new program, or to schedule a visit in your area.

 



REI, Outdoor Research, and CLIF® BAR to be Supporting Sponsors of the Access Fund - Jeep® Climbing Conservation Team
7/28/2011
The Access Fund, the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment, is excited to announce the Jeep® brand as the title sponsor of the Access Fund’s new traveling Conservation Team, with REI, Outdoor Research, and CLIF BAR as the supporting sponsors of the program.

The Access Fund-Jeep Conservation Team will employ two, full-time conservation/trail building experts who will travel the country in a new 2011 Jeep Patriot to help maintain climbing areas throughout the United States. The team will work with local climbers to address conservation needs and will provide training on planning and stewardship best practices. Look for the team to hit the road later this summer.

This new program will extend the success of the Access Fund’s existing Adopt a Crag and TeamWorks stewardship programs that help local climbers around the country take care of the places they play. The Access Fund-Jeep Conservation Team will provide climbing communities and volunteers with the training and resources they need to address conservation issues before they become dire.

The Access Fund is proud to have additional support from REI, Outdoor Research, and CLIF BAR on this important conservation initiative that will result in healthier climbing areas for everyone to enjoy. REI, Outdoor Research, and CLIF BAR are leaders in the outdoor industry dedicated to protecting the places we play outdoors through stewardship, volunteerism, and education.

Look for the Access Fund-Jeep Conservation Team at a climbing area or climbing event near you. Stay tuned to www.accessfund.org for upcoming details about this new program, or to schedule a visit in your area.


Access Fund Partners with the Jeep Brand to Mobilize Climbing Conservation Team
7/25/2011

The Access Fund, the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment, is thrilled to announce the Jeep® brand, as the title sponsor of the Access Fund’s new traveling Conservation Team.
 
The Access Fund-Jeep Conservation Team will employ two full-time conservation and trail building experts who will travel the country in a new 2011 Jeep Patriot to help maintain climbing areas throughout the United States. The team will work with local climbers to address conservation needs and will provide training on planning and stewardship best practices. Look for the team to hit the road later this summer.

This new program will extend the success of the Access Fund’s existing Adopt a Crag and TeamWorks stewardship programs that help local climbers around the country take care of the places they play. The Access Fund-Jeep Conservation Team will provide climbing communities and volunteers with the training and resources they need to address conservation issues before they become dire.

The Access Fund is proud to partner with Jeep on this important conservation initiative that will result in healthier climbing areas for everyone to enjoy.

The Jeep brand is committed to supporting groups such as the Access Fund and other organizations that strive to educate the public and promote conservation. The Jeep brand also supports Tread Lightly!, a national non-profit organization whose mission is to promote responsible outdoor recreation through ethics education and stewardship.

Look for the Access Fund-Jeep Conservation Team at a climbing area or climbing event near you. Stay tuned to 
www.accessfund.org for upcoming details about this new program, or to schedule a visit in your area. For more information on becoming a member of the Conservation Team, visit www.accessfund.org/employment.



Access Fund Releases Free Climbing News Application for Smart Phone Users
7/19/2011

July 19, 2011. Boulder, CO –The Access Fund, the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment, is excited to announce the release of its new smart phone application.

The free application serves up breaking news in the climbing world—including the latest access news—in one convenient location for smart phone users. The application is available on both the iPhone® and Android® platforms and allows users to browse news feeds from their favorite climbing media outlets, including Alpinist Magazine, Climbing Magazine, Rock & Ice Magazine, Dead Point Magazine, Urban Climber Magazine, the American Alpine Club, and other sources so users are always plugged in to the freshest content in the climbing world.

The applications also allow users to browse the latest in local and national climbing access news from the Access Fund. Optional push notifications allow the Access Fund to notify users when there is a critical access issue that they could help influence through one of the organization’s advocacy programs.

The applications are available through the Apple Store and the Android Market. For more information, visit accessfund.org/apps. Comments and feedback may be sent to appfeedback@accessfund.org.



Final Master Plan for Chimney Rock State Park Contains Significant Improvements for Climbers
7/18/2011

The final Master Plan for Chimney Rock State Park in North Carolina, which includes the Rumbling Bald area, was released earlier this month, containing revisions to the 2010 draft that better reflect the popularity of climbing in the Park and may allow access to more climbing areas in the future. Take a look at the new Master Plan here. The Carolina Climbers Coalition (CCC) played an important role in the development of the revisions, working with the Division of Parks and Recreation to make sure climbers’ needs were met.

North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) released the draft master plan for Chimney Rock State Park in late 2010. The park contains the highly popular Rumbling Bald area, site of an Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign project, as well as numerous other historic and potential climbing resources. The Master Plan, presented by the DENR as “a 100-year vision, 25-year master plan and 5-year action,” acts as the blueprint for long-term park management and development, and guides future policy decisions.

The draft Master Plan contained misguided statements about climbing impacts and failed to adequately acknowledge climbers’ previous park planning input. There was no discussion of creating a climbing management plan, an effective way to manage climbing and build cooperation between climbers and land managers. In addition, no mention was made of the possibility for future access to many of the desired climbing and bouldering areas.

CCC and the Access Fund immediately co-wrote a letter to N.C. State Parks and members of the N.C. legislature, outlining climbers’ criticisms and suggesting specific revisions to the plan. Because of the mutual respect and desire to cooperate that both parties showed, the subsequent in-person meeting between the CCC and state park personnel proved very beneficial. Not only was the need for climber-specific revisions to the park’s Master Plan well-received, the long history of cooperation and partnership between climbers and N.C. State Parks was reaffirmed.

Recently released, the final Master Plan is significantly improved, outlining an ongoing cooperative partnership between climbers and the state park, and the possibility of evaluating additional new climbing areas that meet park guidelines. According to the Master Plan, “N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation will work with the climbing community to consider opening additional climbing areas through the development of a comprehensive climbing and bouldering management plan.”

To learn more about the Carolina Climbers’ Coalition, please visit their website.

You can find more information on Chimney Rock State Park, as well as their Master Plan, here.



Access Fund Helps CRAG-VT Take Emergency Stewardship Action to Repair Access Road to Major Local Crags
7/11/2011

The Climbing Resource Access Group of Vermont (CRAG-VT) and the Access Fund are pleased to announce that road repairs are now complete at the Bolton Quarry after an unprecedented flood washed out the road on April 26, 2011. A small loan through the Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign (AFLCC) will assist with the cost and jumpstart CRAG-VT fundraising efforts to rebuild their financial reserves for ongoing land management and stewardship.

The damaged road is the main access point to three major crags in the Bolton, Vermont area, including Bolton Quarry, 82 Crag, and the recently acquired Carcass Crag. The severe rainstorm completely destroyed the road and blocked off climbing access to the area. To prevent further damage to neighboring lands, CRAG-VT took immediate action in June to restore the road. The cost of repairs nearly exhausted the climbing organization’s endowment, leaving them with very little buffer for upcoming taxes and other expenses throughout the year.

CRAG-VT has a strong track record of success in land conservation: in the past eight years, the local climbing organization has successfully protected or assisted in efforts to protect climbing access to six different crags in the Bolton area. Their history of good stewardship and strong local support led the Access Fund to amend AFLCC loan guidelines to allow for “emergency stewardship action,” such as flooding, fire, or legal disputes.

The Access Fund realizes that unanticipated events and opportunities may require quick and efficient responses. The amendment to the loan policy will allow the Access Fund to better assist local climbing organizations with time-sensitive projects, especially small loans under $10,000. The emergency loan helps CRAG-VT regain public access and add improvements to reduce the likelihood of future damage, and it puts the organization in a more secure position to cover anticipated and unanticipated expenses. As outlined in national Land Trust Standards and Practices, the Access Fund encourages local climbing organizations to fundraise additional stewardship funds with land conservation projects. CRAG-VT has already initiated online fundraising and plans to repay the loan within one year through fundraising events, some of which will be jointly hosted by the group and the local climbing gym, Petra Cliffs.

About CRAG-VT

Since 1999, CRAG-VT is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving access and conservation of Vermont’s climbing resources. We serve the climbing community of Vermont through a variety of mechanisms: preserving and aiding in the protection of climbing opportunities in Vermont by building and maintaining long-term relationships with landowners; serving climbers, land managers, landowners, and the general public as an educational resource for responsible climbing, access status, historical information, species and habitat protection, and legal matters; and promoting responsible stewardship and reducing environmental impacts by conducting trail maintenance, volunteer clean-ups, and producing educational materials. For more information, visit www.cragvt.org.



Xcel Energy Awards The Access Fund $5000 to Conserve Colorado Climbing Areas
7/5/2011


We are pleased to announce that Xcel Energy has awarded the Access Fund $5000 as part of its Environmental Foundation Grants Program. The funds will be used to protect and improve climbing areas at Golden Cliffs Preserve in Golden, CO and Unaweep Canyon, near Grand Junction, CO. 

In addition to the on-going maintenance for protecting these areas such as trash removal, toilet upkeep and insurance compliance, Access Fund will apply these funds to organize Adopt a Crag events in collaboration with the Western Colorado Climbers Coalition and the Colorado Mountain Club. Stay tuned for information on these upcoming events as we’ll need help from our wonderful volunteers to make the most of these work days where we’ll be removing invasive species, reseeding native plants, and removing graffiti at Golden Cliffs. And thanks again to Xcel for their generous support!



ACTION ALERT: Your Input Needed on Recreation Management Plan for Vulture Peak in Arizona
06/22/2011

Your input needed on Recreation Management Plan for Vulture Peak in Arizona

The Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department and the Bureau of Land Management are working together to develop a Recreation Management Plan for the Vulture Mountains. The proposed park includes Vulture Peak, a large rock formation near Wickenberg that has some historical climbing routes, dating back to 1967, with Bill Sewrey and Larry Treiber’s ascent up the middle of the East Face. Vulture Peak has several long multi-pitch and aid routes, climbing types that are in short supply in Central Arizona.

The Parks and Recreation Department is requesting input from the public on the Management Plan. Currently, there are four proposed levels of development. None of these options, however, include rock climbing as an approved activity in the park. Maricopa County is getting close to finalizing the park plan: four stakeholder meetings and three public meetings have already been held to collect feedback, and the final public meeting to review the proposed options will take place Tuesday, June 28, in Wickenburg, Maricopa County, Arizona. We need your help to urge the County and BLM to allow climbing access to Vulture Peak.

For those unable to attend the local meetings, there is an online survey where potential park users can voice their opinions on the direction development should take, as well as what recreational activities should be allowed.

Vulture Peak is a raptor nesting site, which may present a potential roadblock to approval of climbing in the park. A possible solution is to restrict climbing during prime nesting months. Let the Parks and Recreation Department know that you would fully respect and abide by any seasonal closures. Demonstrating good stewardship increases the likelihood of incorporating climbing into the Management Plan.

Act now by taking the online survey, and voice your desire to allow climbing access to Vulture Peak!



Roadside in the Red River Gorge closed to public access
6/15/2011

On May 24th, Roadside, a popular crag in the Red River Gorge, was closed to public access until further notice. Landowners are concerned about climber impacts and activities at the well-travelled climbing area. The Access Fund is actively working with the Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition to address these concerns and help make Roadside a sustainable climbing area for years to come. It is a privilege to climb on private land; please respect the closure and stay tuned for future updates.

The 80-acre Graining Fork Nature Preserve, commonly known as Roadside, was purchased in 2004 by two climbers, Grant Stephens and John Haight, to protect the property from an impending development. The private landowners extended their gracious act of land conservation by keeping the property open to climbing. Yet, with our increasing numbers, climbers have an impact on the places we climb. Social trails, human waste, litter, and eroded staging areas are not just the landowner’s problem; they are our responsibilities too.

In addition to impacts on the ground, our behavior plays a critical role in keeping climbing areas open. We all love the freedom of hiking an unknown trail, ascending a new line, and spending a day crag-side with our closest friends. Yet, we share the crag with dozens of fellow climbers on any given day, as well as those climbers that came before us and the future generations to come. Staying on established trails, keeping a low profile, and packing it out are just a few ways to protect access. Climbing access is everybody’s responsibility. We ask you to educate others kindly if their actions may be negatively impacting the environment or access to the area. To learn more about how to tread lightly to protect climbing access, visit: http://www.accessfund.org/treadlightly



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