Bouldering Reopened at Hawkins Preserve. Cortez, CO

Date: 11/19/2008

By Paul Morey, Four Corners Climbing Coalition

After a 16 month closure, bouldering in Hawkins Preserve in Cortez, Colorado reopened on November 8th. The preserve, located within the city limits of Cortez, contains as many as 100 boulder problems on quality sandstone and is an important climbing resource for local climbers. The private preserve, open to the public, was closed due to liability concerns and impacts to the natural and cultural resources within the 122 acre preserve.

As a result of the closure, the Four Corners Climbing Coalition (4CCC) was formed to work with the preserve's management, the Cortez Cultural Center, to reopen the preserve to climbing. After 16 months of negotiations, legal wrangling, trail building, climbing management plan creation, a memorandum of understanding between 4CCC and the Cortez Cultural Center, and too many field trips and meetings to count, bouldering has returned to the preserve.

To address the liability concerns of climbing in the preserve and the need to educate climbers about the sensitive resources within the preserve, climbers must obtain a permit before climbing or bouldering. To obtain a climbing permit, climbers must fill out a liability release form and attend a climbing orientation within the preserve. Information on how to obtain the permit can be found on the 4CCC website at www.4-ccc.org. Although 4CCC did much of the ground work to return climbing to the preserve, the Access Fund provided important legal advice and help with the climbing management plan that proved crucial to the reopening of climbing within the preserve.