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Save Eagle Bluff!

The Access Fund and Clifton Climbers Alliance are excited to announce that we have secured an Option Agreement on Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine, giving us the exclusive right to purchase the property for permanent conservation and climbing access. Now we need the climbing community’s help to raise $150,000 for the purchase and stewardship of Eagle Bluff.

Climbers have been enjoying the granite cracks of Eagle Bluff since the late 1960s. Today, the crag features over 130 cracks and sport climbs as well as bouldering below the bluff. In the mid-1990s, climbing access was threatened when the property was listed for sale. The Access Fund started working with the local climbing community to fundraise, but the previous owner was unwilling to wait. Fortunately, local climber Donald Nelligan stepped up to purchase the property with help from John Barker and Ward Smith, who also contributed time and resources to install fixed anchors and clean the cliff. Eagle Bluff is what it is today due to the dedication of Donald and his climbing partners.

Donald Nelligan passed away in the Summer of 2013, with no will to outline the future of Eagle Bluff. The Nelligan family closed public access due to liability concerns and immediately sought to sell the property.

With support from the Access Fund, representatives from the local climbing community, Town of Clifton, and Maine Coast Heritage Trust met with the family to determine a plan for permanent conservation. To continue Donald’s legacy, the Nelligan family agreed to sell the property for $125,000 once the community could raise the appropriate funds and complete its due diligence.

“The people of Clifton see Eagle Bluff as a priority for both conservation and recreation,” says Eric Johns, Planning Board Chair for the Town. “The Planning Board believes this unique parcel is critical to the development of outdoor recreational assets in the community.”

The Access Fund currently holds the Option Agreement, and has until August 1, 2014 to exercise the option to buy this 160-acre property. The Access Fund plans to assign the Option to either the Town of Clifton, the newly formed Clifton Climbers Alliance, or a local land trust for long-term management and stewardship.

“Eagle Bluff is a key climbing resource for climbers of Bangor and central Maine,” says Jayson Nissen of Clifton Climbers Alliance. “We reformed Clifton Climbers Alliance to help protect, fundraise, and steward the property.”

“Eagle Bluff is a unique feature, important to climbers, hikers and people who enjoy being out in nature. A broad group of people who truly care about this place have come together to create this opportunity to conserve it. Now, we all hope that everyone who cares about this place and about having access to special places like Eagle Bluff will contribute to help this project succeed.” says Ciona Ulbrich of Maine Coast Heritage Trust.

The Access Fund is excited to join this partnership with the Town, local climbers, and conservation community to preserve Eagle Bluff for future generations of climbers. Please make a donation today at www.accessfund.org/eaglebluff to protect this special New England climbing area!

Date: 2/11/2014