12/14/2006

Boone Climbers Coalition Update NC

Date: 12/15/2006

By Anthony Love, President

The Boone Climbers Coalition (BCC) had another active fall and winter season. We have re-strengthened our relationship with the National Park Service, our Access Fund Board Members and officers, and most importantly our membership.

One of the BCC members, Zachary Lesch-Huie, offered us a unique opportunity to work with the American Chestnut Foundation and the Blue Ridge Parkway to help a project to restore chestnut tree populations. American Chestnut Foundation scientist, Paul Cisco worked with BCC members to collect burrs, which contain Chestnut seeds, from trees along the Blue Ridge Parkway and on Grandmother Mountain. The seeds collected during this project will be used to develop a hybrid strain on chestnut tree that resists the chestnut blight, a disease that is responsible for nearly wiping out this species. The American Chestnut Foundation will reintroduce these hybrids in areas throughout the US in an effort to restore chestnut tree populations.

This year the BCC hosted their annual Adopt-a-Crag event at Hawksbill within the Linville Gorge Wilderness. The trail to approach Hawksbill follows a steep grade that is constantly under attack from erosion. Twelve members helped build water bars on the existing trail and brush-in sections of spider trails up to the main cliffs at Hawksbill.

Shortly after the Adopt-a-Crag, the BCC had another record turn-out for their third annual Sudz and Slidez event at the Black Cat Burrito. The Sudz and Slidez events have been the most effective way to get members of our community together. These events have been great venues for our meetings and fundraisers. This fall, we were lucky enough to have Access Fund Ambassador Jason Kehl give a presentation. Jason entertained a crowd of 115 people with a slideshow from his most recent trip to Japan. Jason and our many sponsors made this another incredibly successful and fun event for everyone.

News from the Blue Ridge Parkway: The BCC provided comments to a newly proposed plan to develop a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway known as the Moses Cone Memorial Park. The Blowing Rock Boulders lie within the Moses Cone Memorial Park. This plan provides for the enhancement of cultural learning in the park, but also offered closure of this important climbing resource as one alternative they could consider. While some of the proposed alternatives do pose threats to the Blowing Rock Boulders, there are also other alternatives that offer the enhancement of trails into the boulderfield and continuation of bouldering activity.

The Park Service has sought public input to this plan and the BCC has been adamant about getting the local and regional climbing community to provide this necessary input. We look forward to seeing what the next round of planning produces and feel confident a balanced plan that includes climbing can be achieved.

In other news, members of the BCC were invited to attend the Annual Board Meeting of the Access Fund this fall in Lake Lure North Carolina. The experience proved once again to be valuable and educational for all involved. The opportunity to sit down and talk face to face with the board and staff is a great asset for both the BCC as well as the Carolina Climbers Coalition who were generous enough to host us.

For more info about the Boone Climbers Coalition and to join our email list, please visit www.ncbouldering.com/BCC.htm