Access Fund Becomes Nationally Recognized Member of Land Trust Alliance

Date: 6/10/2010

The Access Fund announced today that it has become a nationally recognized member of the Land Trust Alliance, committing itself to meeting the same high standards as other leading land conservation organizations around the country.

Since 1991, the Access Fund has supported 39 acquisitions of climbing areas in the United States. Six of those projects have been direct acquisitions by the Access Fund Land Foundation, a separate entity set up two decades ago to hold title of land and easements, while offering the Access Fund liability protection.

Throughout the 1990s, the Access Fund Land Foundation was an important conservation tool, allowing the Access Fund to purchase and transfer climbing resources at Rumney in New Hampshire and Shelf Road in Colorado. The Access Fund Land Foundation has also been used to hold threatened properties in Colorado, including property in Unaweep Canyon, Golden Cliffs Preserve on North Table Mountain, and Society Turn Crag outside Telluride. It also held a conservation easement at Handley Rock outside San Francisco.

Earlier this year, members of the board of directors from both organizations made the unanimous decision to dissolve the Access Fund Land Foundation and transfer all holdings to the Access Fund. This simplified organizational model will reduce administrative burdens, speed up land transactions, and maximize the effectiveness of the Access Fund’s private land protection efforts.

The Access Fund will continue to support local climbing organizations with acquisitions under the Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign, which provides short-term financing, transactional expertise, and land management advice. However, for critical projects outside the reach of an existing local climbing organization, the Access Fund can now pursue temporary acquisitions when important climbing resources are imminently threatened.

This change will also enable the Access Fund to steward properties in compliance with Land Trust Standards and Practices. Since the dissolution of the Access Fund Land Foundation, the Access Fund has developed land management plans for its holdings in Unaweep Canyon, Golden Cliffs, and Society Turn Crag to ensure sustainable recreational use of these open space areas. Volunteer Land Stewards have been put into place in each area to help monitor and steward each of these properties.

“This is a change in the way we pursue conservation efforts and manage climbing areas,” says Access Director Joe Sambataro. “We have stepped up our commitment to stewarding the climbing areas we’ve helped secure, as well as positioned ourselves to better protect threatened resources.”