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Access Fund Hires Arizona Policy Analyst to Advocate for Climbers on Oak Flat Land Exchange

Boulder, CO – April 25, 2012 – The Access Fund, the advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment, is pleased to announce that Curt Shannon has recently joined the organization as Arizona Policy Analyst. Curt will represent climbers and the Access Fund in their current opposition to HR 1904, the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act—more commonly known as the Oak Flat Land Exchange Bill.

Curt was a founding member of The Friends of Queen Creek, The Queen Creek Coalition and The Concerned Climbers of Arizona and has been working closely with The Access Fund since 2004 in their efforts to maintain recreational access to the Oak Flat area and to prevent the ultimate destruction of this unique area.

The Access Fund and Arizona climbing community have been working for nearly a decade to save climbing at Oak Flat, which is at risk under the proposed Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2011. The Act aims to 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, which for years was home to the historic Phoenix Bouldering Contest.

Curt will work to increase recognition of the recreational value of Oak Flat in the minds of decision makers and the general public. At this point the land exchange bill must still be passed by the US Senate and then be signed by the President in order to become law.

About the 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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