Access Fund Announces First Round Grant Recipients for 2015

The Access Fund is pleased to announce that it has awarded over $21,000 in the first round of the 2015 Climbing Preservation Grants Program. Each year, the Access Fund awards up to $40,000 in grant money to local climbing communities with worthy projects that preserve or enhance climbing access. The Access Fund Climbing Preservation Grants Program is an example of membership dollars at work in local climbing communities across the country. Access Fund supporters got the opportunity to review qualifying grant projects and rate them, providing valuable input to our grant selection committee as to which projects they want their contributions to support. We are pleased to announce funding for the following worthy projects.

Climbing Association of Southern Arizona (CASA): Start-up
The Climbing Association of Southern Arizona (CASA) was awarded a grant for organization start-up expenses, including filing for 501(c)(3) tax status. CASA strives to engage local climbers and the outdoor community through education, stewardship, and partnering with local land managers and user groups. Nonprofit status will greatly help CASA achieve its goals of providing southern Arizona climbers the opportunity to learn, give back, and collaborate.

Eastern Kentucky University: Red River Gorge Climbing Economic and Environmental Study
The Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition teamed up with Eastern Kentucky University and lead researcher Dr. James Maples for an economic and environmental impact study of climbing in the Red River Gorge area. Through online and field surveys, the study will shed light on the growing economic impact that climbers have on businesses in the region as well as climbers’ environmental behaviors while recreating in the area. Once complete, this report can help garner greater support for climbing access in the Red.

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: Rocky Mountain National Park Bouldering Study
The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics (LNT) was awarded a grant to expand the scope of a bouldering study being conducted in Rocky Mountain National Park during the summer of 2015. LNT is collaborating with the National Park Service to address the growing popularity of bouldering in the park, in an effort to maximize bouldering opportunities and minimize resource impacts. The National Park Service has funding to study boulderers’ perceptions of Leave No Trace principles at two areas in the Bear Lake Corridor. This grant will allow LNT to expand data collection to a third location, Wild Basin, thus creating a more robust and diverse sample.

Naturaland Trust: Big Rock Access Acquisition
Naturaland Trust was awarded a grant to secure public access to Big Rock Mountain, a popular granite dome and bouldering area in the Nine Times Forest of South Carolina. Naturaland Trust recently acquired the 1,648 acres that contain Big Rock Mountain, but there was no safe or easy way for climbers and hikers to access to the mountain. Recently a 6-acre parcel went on the market that gives direct access to the granite outcrop. Naturaland Trust secured an option agreement to purchase the adjacent parcel and now needs support from the climbing community to complete the transaction.

Prescott Climbers’ Coalition: Start-up
Prescott Climbers’ Coalition (PCC) of central Arizona was awarded a grant to formalize as a 501(c)(3) organization and establish a website to strengthen the Prescott climbing community, preserve climbing access, and provide education. PCC works to balance the freedom to climb rock with the desire to safeguard the environment, while preserving the experience. The grant will help PCC provide a platform for outreach with the community and its partners.

Truckee Donner Land Trust: Donner Summit Acquisition
Truckee Donner Land Trust (TDLT) was awarded a grant to assist with the Campaign to Save Donner Climbing, a collaborative effort to acquire and steward the Black Wall area of Donner Summit in northern California. The 10-acre property includes the popular and historic Black Wall, Peanut Gallery, and Road Cut trad and sport crags, as well as the access trail to the popular Space Wall. The project also includes a long-term plan to provide additional trailhead improvements. TDLT recently secured an option agreement to acquire the parcel and initiate fundraising. Access Fund will hold a lease agreement to address liability concerns raised by the private landowners and assist in stewardship and fundraising alongside local climbers of Truckee.