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NRAC and Access Fund Secure Access to the Bubba City in the New River Gorge

Fayetteville, WV, April 27, 2012 – The New River Alliance of Climbers (NRAC) and the Access Fund are pleased to announce an access easement has secured the public parking area and approach trails to the extensive cliff line of Bubba City in the New River Gorge. In partnership with the Wild Rock West Virginia community, NRAC and the Access Fund co-hold the easement to protect climbing access for the next five years, with the option to later renew or make it permanent.

Located off Chestnutburg Road, the 15-car parking lot serves as the trailhead for access to more than 340 sport and traditional climbing routes of high quality Nuttall Sandstone. Bubba City is one of the most popular crags in the expansive New River Gorge region, and the trail network sees high and growing use.

The easement agreement provides legitimate access for the climbing community across Wild Rock—a growing 150-homesite community perched atop the New River Gorge. The existing parking area and trailhead will be maintained by NRAC and its committed group of local volunteers. "Climbers here are psyched,” says NRAC President Gene Kistler. “Wild Rock has delivered on a promise to help preserve public, recreational access through their land and into the gorge. This is a big first step toward securing long-term access to the climbing at Bubba City and sets a great example for park-adjacent development. Thanks to everyone that helped bring this together."

For Carl Frischkorn, founder of Wild Rock West Virginia, the easement represents an important aspect of the mountaintop community’s sustainability outlook. “We view sustainability not only in terms of light touch building and living practices, but also in how we are partnering with our neighbors to promote access to the outdoors,” Frischkorn said. “We are proud to partner with NRAC and Access Fund to help ensure that visiting and local climbers have unfettered paths to Bubba City.”

Access Fund offered its transactional expertise, provides an additional layer of risk management, and strengthens the commitment of all partners involved. “As the Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign’s ninth project since its 2009 inception, the Bubba City Access Easement serves as a great template for how climbers and private landowners can partner to protect public access,” says Access Fund Access Director Joe Sambataro.

The National Park Service is committed to providing legitimate public access points to the New River Gorge National River. "In a park like New River Gorge, having partners willing to collaborate on access is a critical piece of the puzzle. We're delighted to work with NRAC, the Access Fund, and Wildrock on this important public access,” says Superintendent Don Striker. In addition, all the parties would like to thank Nathan Fetty, managing attorney at the West Virginia University College of Law’s Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic, for donating his time and legal expertise to facilitate the project.

NRAC and the Access Fund ask the climbing community to follow the simple set of rules and requirements, which are outlined at the trailhead, and include limiting use to daytime hours and keeping your canine friends leashed on the trail. Compliance and education of others will help make this five-year agreement extend into a long-term partnership that provides climber access for generations to come.

About the New River Alliance of Climbers
The New River Alliance of Climbers (NRAC) was formed in 1997 to preserve and promote climber access and to conserve the climbing resources in the New River Gorge and surrounding areas. NRAC’s history as a community of climbers giving back to the area began in the 80s and expanded into climber-organized service projects in the 90s. NRAC serves a critical role in outreach with the National Park Service, landowners, and climbers as well as anchor replacement, trail work, climbing management, and community gathering. For more information, visit www.newriverclimbing.net.

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.

About Wild Rock West Virginia
Founded in 2008, Wild Rock is a sustainable, family community perched atop the 900-foot New River Gorge in southern West Virginia. Designed to blend with natural landforms, the 150-homesite community offers residents the serenity and adventure of an outdoor lifestyle. Adjacent to the 70,000-acre New River Gorge National River, the 725-acre community has 10 miles of trails for walking and mountain biking. Nearby Fayetteville, W.Va. is a destination for world-class outdoor adventures, including everything from whitewater rafting to zip line tours of the wilderness canopy. For more information, visit www.wildrockwv.com.