Access Fund Announces Second Round Grant Recipients for 2016

09/06/2016

The Access Fund is pleased to announce that it has awarded $17,170 in the second round of the 2016 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 $1,134,000 for 326 local projects in thirty-eight 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.

Carolina Climbers Coalition: Sauratown Trail Construction
Carolina Climbers Coalition (CCC) was awarded funding to construct a sustainable trail to the recently reopened Sauratown cliffs in North Carolina. The CCC partnered with the YMCA Camp in a recreational lease that reverses the previous blanket closure by allowing public climbing access for four months each year. The current trail is steep, prone to erosion, and not sustainable. The CCC will hire a professional trail design company to work with CCC volunteers to build a new trail system that will benefit both climbers and visitors to the YMCA camp. The development of a sustainable trail is an investment in continued access to this very popular area. Access Fund grant funds are matched with a 2015 American Alpine Club Cornerstone Conservation grant.

Flagstaff Ranger District: Sandys Canyon Trailhead Improvements
Flagstaff Ranger District of Coconino National Forest has been awarded funds to construct a new trailhead and access point to the Pit climbing area of Flagstaff, Arizona. A new parking area will provide safe access near a busy highway to one of the most popular sport crags in the area. Grant funding will help the Forest Service (1) construct a gravel all-weather parking area, (2) add fencing around the parking area to prevent off-road use, and (3) install a three panel kiosk to educate hikers and climbers about protecting the area’s natural resources and the importance of staying on existing trails. Local climbers, volunteers, the Flagstaff Climbing Center, and the Arizona Trail Association have all offered their support to the project and is providing in-kind labor as a match for the project.

Levitation 49: Valdez Climbing Signage and Trail Improvements
Levitation 49, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting recreation in Valdez, was awarded monies to design and install trail and trailhead signage. A new interpretive sign at the Glacier Campground access point and additional wayfinding trail markers will guide climbers to popular ice climbs and new rock climbing areas. Levitation 49 is partnering closely with the City of Valdez and is seeking matching funds to complete the project.

Monadnock Climbers Association: Marlow and Hewes Hill Signage and Trail Improvements
Monadnock Climbers Association (MCA), a new local climbing organization of Southwest New Hampshire, was awarded funding for stewardship activities at Marlow and Hewes Hill. These areas are seeing increased climbing use and erosion along their access trails. MCA is looking to improve and reroute existing trails, construct a new loop trail at Marlow, and add trail signage and kiosks at both sites to educate climbers about reducing their impacts and staying on sustainable trails. MCA has contributed matching funds to cover nonprofit start up costs. The project has strong local support from Monadnock Conservancy, businesses, landowners, and outdoor education and trail groups.

Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition: Reframe the Gallery Stewardship Improvements
The Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition (RRGCC) was awarded grant funding to rehabilitate the staging area of the Gallery, one of the most popular climbing areas in the Pendergrass-Murray Recreation Preserve. The area sees considerable climber traffic and has experienced significant erosion and deforestation in the last decade. Rock terracing and reforestation are necessary to restore the natural environment. This restoration work will serve as an educational opportunity to re-enforce local crag etiquette and the importance of minimizing human impact. To help match the costs of the project, RRGCC is also seeks funding from an American Alpine Club Cornerstone Conservation grant. Grant funds will assist RRGCC with trail building materials, signage, and a professional trail crew to oversee volunteer efforts.

Rumney Climbers Association: Final Frontier Acquisition
Rumney Climber's Association (RCA) was awarded monies toward the acquisition of Rumney's Northwest Crags for permanent conservation and climbing access. The Northwest Crags represent the final addition of privately owned property to the Rumney sport climbing area in central New Hampshire. The grant funds will be applied to cover the costs of the purchase, new parking area, and trail system. RCA secured an option agreement with a loan from the Access Fund Climbing Conservation Loan Program and now needs to raise $300,000 to cover the purchase and stewardship costs. The Forest Service is seeking Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars to match the generous donations of the climbing community, Appalachian Mountain Club chapters, and other supporters.