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Access Fund Announces 2011 Adopt a Crag and TeamWorks Awards

It was another good year for the Adopt a Crag program, with over 5,700 volunteers who amassed over 27,500 hours of work to improve and steward crags around the country. Since its inception in 1999, Adopt a Crag has been the largest climbing community volunteer initiative in the nation. Adopt a Crag events show land managers and the public that climbers take care of the places where they climb. These stewardship efforts not only conserve our climbing areas, but also strengthen the reputation of the entire climbing community.

Each year, the Access Fund and its sponsors honor those organizers who went above and beyond. We are excited to present the 2011 Adopt a Crag awards to a deserving group of volunteers. We want to thank everyone who hosted or participated in an Adopt a Crag this year—it starts on the ground with your commitment and dedication to make this program a success. Whether you or your local climbing organization have hosted an Adopt a Crag in years past or hope to organize your first event, we are here to help. Register your Adopt a Crag for 2012 at www.accessfund.org/events and share this call to action for an Adopt a Crag at your local crag.

Stewardship Award – Tyler Hoffart
REI, CLIF Bar, and the Access Fund are proud to present the 2011 Stewardship Award to Tyler Hoffart, team coach of the St. Paul, MN Vertical Endeavors Mountain Goats. Tyler’s enthusiasm and leadership have created a “culture of stewardship” among the members of the VE youth teams. The Mountain Goats hosted or participated in every Minnesota Adopt a Crag that took place in 2011, plus one in Wisconsin – 8 events in all. Activities ranged from massive garbage cleanups to tree and brush removal, trail maintenance, trail building, graffiti removal, dirt work for foundation of a shed, and assisting with setting up an ice-farming system. Tyler himself worked on bolt replacement at some of the events, setting an example for the future leaders on his team. The Access Fund is happy to give this award to someone whose leadership teaches youth team members that climbing and stewardship go hand in hand, and whose enthusiasm makes working hard and taking care of crags fun.

Adopt a Crag of the Year Award – Eldorado Canyon Adopt a Crag hosted by Mike McHugh
REI and the Access Fund are proud to present the 2011 Adopt a Crag of the Year Award to Eldorado State Park Resource Technician Mike McHugh who, despite a recent injury, hosted the Eldorado Canyon Adopt a Crag on October 1 in Boulder, CO with organizational support from the REI Boulder store. Mike organized volunteers on multiple projects, including: the decommissioning of an unsustainable social trail; rebuilding steps and re-opening a trail from streamside to the main lot; building water bars on the Redgarden Wall/roof route trails; placing posts for climbing access signage; and building a gabion on upper Redgarden Wall. The initial expectation was for 30 or so volunteers, but the event grew to over 75 volunteers, including the Spot Climbing Gym’s climbing team. Congratulations to Mike, and special thanks to REI Boulder store and The Spot Climbing Gym Team for their support!

Conservation Team Partner of the Year
The Access Fund-Jeep Conservation Team is pleased to award the very first Conservation Team Partner of the Year Award to the BLM’s Bishop Field Office for their ongoing conservation work in the volcanic Tablelands in Bishop, CA, and for their continued partnership with the climbing community. When our Conservation Team arrived in Bishop, the BLM provided them with all of the tools, equipment, man power, and educational resources needed to successfully preserve historic artifacts in the Tablelands by directing campers to the Pleasant Valley Pit Campground and closing down a new, illegally developed camping area within a cultural resource site. The BLM then turned the Conservation Team loose on the Sad Boulders lower approach, giving them the freedom to utilize their expertise and coordinate their own volunteer project. The Bishop Office also hosts monthly “Climber’s Coffee” gatherings, where BLM officials and climbers can discuss conservation and climbing issues in an informal setting. We are proud to present this award to the Bishop BLM Office for their ongoing efforts and cooperation to provide sustainable recreation opportunities in the volcanic Tablelands.

League of Their Own Award – Ken Yager and the Yosemite Facelift
Once again, the League of Their Own Award goes to Ken Yager and Yosemite Climbing Association (YCA) for the Yosemite Facelift. Ken and YCA have been setting the standard for climbing land stewardship for several years now. At this year’s Facelift event, 1,350 volunteers amassed an astounding 8,680 hours of work on a host of projects around the Valley, including the cleaning of roadways, river corridors, campgrounds, lodging and commercial areas, trails, climbing areas, and a variety of restoration and trail projects with the help of National Park Service. Yager reports that the Valley is getting cleaner and cleaner every year, and that over 95% of the debris gathered was recycled—way to go YCA! We would also like to recognize the NPS for their continued assistance and partnership with climbers in Yosemite. This landmark event is truly setting a benchmark for others from around the country to follow!

TeamWorks Golden Toothbrush – Urban Core Climbing Team
We are pleased to announce that this year’s TeamWorks Golden Toothbrush award goes to Urban Core Climbing Team of Atlanta, Georgia. The Urban Core kids “cleaned up” the competition—and many of the Southeast’s prominent climbing areas. Under the leadership of Coach Emily Taylor (and with the assistance of other local organizations like the Southeastern Climber’s Coalition, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Georgia Tech Outdoor Club), the Urban Core team cleaned up trash, did trail maintenance work, and had a hand in the removal of some invasive species at some of the premier climbing destinations in the Southeast, including: the Red River Gorge in Kentucky; Little River Canyon and Foster Falls in Tennessee; and Boat Rock and Rock Town in Urban Core’s home state of Georgia. Congratulations Urban Core! Honorable mentions for the 2011 competition include 2nd place finisher the Vertical Endeavor Mountain Goats (last year’s winner) and 3rd place team the Tennessee Bouldering Authority Ballers. The Access Fund would like to thank each and every one of the TeamWorks members who participated in the 2011 program. We are immensely proud to be involved with such a great group of kids from across the country, and we’re all excited to see what the next year has in store.

About Access Fund
Having just celebrated its 20th anniversary, the Access Fund is the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment. The Access Fund supports and represents over 2.3 million climbers nationwide in all forms of climbing: rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, and bouldering. Five core programs support the mission on national and local levels: climbing management policy, stewardship and conservation, local support and mobilization, land acquisition and protection, and education. For more information, visit www.accessfund.org.

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