|Southeastern Climbers Coalition Partners with the Access Fund to Acquire Hospital Boulders|
November 6, 2012. Gadsden, AL –The Southeastern Climbers Coalition (SCC) is pleased to announce that it is under contract to acquire the Hospital Boulders in northeastern Alabama. The Access Fund is providing a bridge loan of $75,000 from the Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign (AFLCC) to finance the acquisition. The SCC is now asking the climbing community to show their support and help fundraise $80,000 to complete the purchase.
Climbing access has historically been “low profile” at Hospital Boulders, with limited access and details distributed only by word of mouth. The SCC was outbid at an auction to purchase the boulder field five years ago with negotiations for access ongoing ever since. The current landowner, a private developer, recently put the property up for sale again, with plans to auction it to the highest bidder. “The threat of losing the area to another private landowner or developer was very real,” says Josh Reyes, SCC board member. “We did not want to be sent back to square one with access negotiations, facing the very real possibility of having access permanently revoked.”
“We had to move fast to get the land under contract before it went to auction,” says Access Fund southeast regional director Zachary Lesch-Huie. “Our close working relationship with the SCC was key to getting the AFLCC funds released quickly to save this bouldering area.”
Just north of Gadsden and less than 30 minutes from Horse Pens 40, the Hospital Boulders boasts 150-200 high quality sandstone boulder problems, and even some short traditional, sport and top rope climbs on the west brow of Lookout Mountain. The area, with its spectacular scenic views, still has potential for many more first ascents.
The SCC and the Access Fund are working together to finalize the purchase of this local bouldering area from the private developer. The sale is expected to close in mid-November, placing Hospital Boulders in climber-friendly hands forever. The SCC will own and manage the property in perpetuity.
The Hospital Boulders acquisition marks the twelfth successful AFLCC project since the inception of the revolving loan program in 2009. It will make the seventh successful acquisition by the Southeastern Climbers Coalition.
The 39-acre tract sits conveniently off I-59, just past Mountain View Hospital at the end of Scenic Highway in Gadsden, AL. Access is optimal with an SCC-owned road that leads to a parking area less than a minute from the boulder field. There are additional boulders located just outside the SCC property, and the SCC will be working with the landowner of this adjacent property to open up the entire boulder field in the future. Visit www.seclimbers.org to donate now and learn more about access.
About the Southeastern Climbers Coalition
The SCC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation dedicated to preserving climbing areas for present and future generations to enjoy. The SCC started in 1993 when a group of climber banded together to mediate ongoing access issues at Sunset Rock, atop Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The group had positive results from the start and grew to sponsor trail days, buy land, and generally ensure access to climbing all over the Southeast. The SCC owns and maintains 6 climbing areas (Boat Rock (GA), Kings Bluff (TN), Jamestown (AL), Yellow Bluff (AL), Steele (AL), and the Deep Creek trailhead (TN)) and leases 2 areas (Castle Rock (TN) and the Woods Hill bouldering area (GA)). For more information, visit www.seclimbers.org.
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.