Access Fund Announces First Round Grant Recipients for 2018

We're pleased to announce that we have awarded $20,100 to support climbing advocacy and conservation projects in the first round of the 2018 Climbing Conservation Grant Program.

Each year the Access Fund awards up to $40,000 to local climbing communities with worthy projects that preserve or enhance climbing access in the United States. Since 1991, the Access Fund has awarded $1,191,600 for 351 local projects in forty-one states. The Access Fund Climbing Conservation Grant Program is an example of membership dollars at work supporting local climbing communities across the country. In each funding cycle, Access Fund supporters have the opportunity to review qualifying grant projects and share their thoughts with our grants selection committee through a public rating process. Public input from the climbing community provides valuable insight for the grant selection committee. We are pleased to announce funding for the following projects.

Boulder Climbing Community: Upper Dream Canyon Stewardship Project
The Boulder Climbing Community (BCC) was awarded grant funds to address camping and trail erosion issues in Upper Dream Canyon. As this area has increased in popularity, the west trail is eroding and lack of designated campsites has led to greater impacts. The BCC will use grant funds to restore the eroding west trail and designate dispersed camping sites with signs and tent pads. They also plan to install educational kiosks, reorganize the parking area, and install wag bag and trash bag dispensers.

CRAG-VT: Bolton Dome Conservation
CRAG-VT was awarded grant funds to help cover acquisition and long-term stewardship costs of the Bolton Dome property in Northern Vermont. CRAG-VT purchased the 48-acre property last month with an Access Fund Climbing Conservation Loan of $358,750. They are in the process of subdividing and selling a 2-acre residential site to pay back a portion of the loan. CRAG-VT is still actively fundraising to cover the remaining purchase price, transaction, subdivision, and improvement costs of permanently protecting and providing access to Bolton Dome.

Duluth Climbers Coalition: Quarry Park Loop Trail Building
The Duluth Climbers Coalition was awarded funds to create an important access link between Quarry Park’s main approach trail and climbs located throughout the amphitheater. Quarry Park is a regionally significant location for ice and mixed climbing in Northern Minnesota. This half-mile hiking trail will be built to ADA standards to increase climbing accessibility and help mitigate visitor impacts. This loop trail project includes a bisector leading to the park’s premier ice climbing formations and a spur trail to the site of future ice farming.

Mt Baker National Forest: Human Waste Management Plan
Mt. Baker - Snoqualmie National Forest of the U.S. Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, was awarded a grant from Access Fund to help support the Human Waste Pack-Out Initiative on Mt. Baker. A waste management solution is needed for visitors above 4,000’ elevation, where proper burial of human waste is often not an option and backcountry toilets are not feasible or sustainable. Grant money will be used to install blue bag dispensers, education signage, and wildlife-proof receptacles at heavily used climbing access points.

New Mexico Chapter - AAC: Mentmore Stewardship Project
The New Mexico Chapter of the American Alpine Club was awarded funds to clean up Mentmore, the only sport climbing area within 100 miles. The area was used as a town dump until the 90s when local climbers worked with the city to purchase the land. There is still an extensive amount of litter on the property, including furniture, car parts, and construction debris. Grant money would be used to rent equipment—including dumpsters, hauling services, and heavy machinery—to finish clearing the area of trash.

North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy: McDonald Park Trail Building
North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy was awarded grant funds to assist with trail building for The McDonald Park Project in Tennessee. This multi-partner conservation initiative will establish a public park for bouldering, mountain biking, hiking, and other recreational uses. The project will open a major new bouldering area, with more than 20 high quality boulders, minutes from downtown Chattanooga. Grant money would be used to build out a half-mile portion of access trail, a required step for the area to be open to public climbing.

Ouray Climbers Alliance: LCO Startup Costs
The Ouray Climbers Alliance was awarded grant funds to help with startup costs to formalize their new local climbing organization. The crags of Ouray County, Colorado have seen a significant increase in use by local and visiting climbers in the past 5 years—trails are deteriorating and hardware is aging—and the region is in need of a stable local climbing organization. Grant funds will cover state and IRS nonprofit registration, website maintenance, and supplies for community events.

South Central Pennsylvania Climbers: Shaffer Rocks Educational Kiosk
South Central Pennsylvania Climbers was awarded grant funds to create an educational kiosk at the trailhead of the Shaffer Rocks climbing area to minimize human impact and discourage graffiti. The kiosk will offer climbing beta and promote responsible ethics and safety. It will also target hikers with information on Leave No Trace and general trail ethics, as the area is located near the Appalachian Trail. The kiosk will let potential taggers know that the area is cared for and monitored, hopefully discouraging graffiti.

Teens, Inc: Eldorado Canyon Stewardship Project
Teens, Inc. was awarded grant funds to enhance trails to the incredible crags within Eldorado Canyon State Park in Colorado and establish climber impact information stations. Funding will be used to clean up trails, rebuild retaining walls, and install information stations to raise awareness around appropriate travel on access trails, scarcity of funding dedicated to trail crews, and ways to get involved. Youth will help run the booths, offering a connection between the trail crew and the climbing community.

Washington’s National Park Fund: North Cascades Climbing Intern
Washington’s National Park Fund was awarded a grant to support a three-month Student Conservation Association intern for Wilderness climbing patrols in North Cascades National Park. The Skagit Gorge and Boston Basin climbing areas are seeing a significant increase in climbing activity, and they need increased patrols to help visitors be better stewards of park resources. The intern will assist visitors with trip planning, safety information, route information, and provide park and climbing route stewardship guidelines.

Western Colorado Climbers’ Coalition: Unaweep Signage Project
The Western Colorado Climbers’ Coalition (WCCC) was awarded grant funds to install educational signage at parking areas, trailheads, and along trails in Unaweep Canyon. The climbing area is remote, and WCCC relies on posted signage to educate visitors about land ownership, codes of conduct, and contact information. Past signage has been vandalized and now requires replacement with updated ownership information and access concerns.