|Update - Farley Ledge, MA|
By Rob Sullivan, Western Massachusetts Climbers Coalition
The Western Massachusetts Climbers Coalition (WMCC), an Access Fund Affiliate closed on a nine-acre parcel of land abutting Farley Ledge. Ownership of this parcel provides permanent public access while saving a precious natural resource from certain development.
Farley Ledge represents a unique and unspoiled natural outdoor recreation area in Erving, Massachusetts. Farley is a primary rock-climbing destination in New England, and includes one of the most impressive sections of the nationally recognized Metacomet-Monadnock Trail. Farley is home to five-star trad climbing, sport climbing, ice climbing, bouldering and top roping. Only 1.5 hours from downtown Boston, the crag features superb rock qualitycomparable to English grit in its best momentsand offers the only true multi-pitch experience in MA.
Farleyoften billed as the best crag between the Gunks and Rumneyis virtually unknown. Its mythical status can be attributed largely to its unstable access. While the crag itself is owned by a utility that must encourage recreation, current parking is located at a small, privately owned eight-car lot, and trail access lies across a patchwork of additional private land parcels. Access is constantly threatened by the disparate voices of land abutters. The WMCC have worked closely to soothe these neighbors. Even so, the trailhead has been moved several times and the crag itself has been closed four times in the last twenty years.
This purchase ends all that uncertainty. Construction of a new trailhead and parking lotthe easiest part of this whole processshould be finished in time for the fall season. Perhaps most encouraging of all is the fact that this success story represents the efforts of a large, organized and motivated community on the local, regional and national level. Locals sniffed out, carried and closed the deal; the Appalachian Mountain Club offered substantial funds at a critical juncture; the Access Fund provided a significant grant as well as invaluable guidance and support (the land purchase is a direct result of AFs Acquisition Summit held last year).
So we all deserve a pat on the back and tour come fall.