Rumney Climber’s Association (RCA) and Access Fund are excited to announce that we have completed the second phase of protecting Rumney’s Northwest Crags (aka the Final Frontier). In just under a year, the climbing community rallied to raise over $100,000, and RCA now owns the 85-acre property. Access Fund provided RCA with two loans to cover the gap in the purchase price, which RCA will pay back after they transfer the property to White Mountain National Forest.
The Final Frontier property extends half a mile along Buffalo Road and gains 600 feet up the forested slopes of Rattlesnake Mountain. It featured the final set of privately owned climbing resources at Rumney—including Northwest Territories, Buffalo Pit, Northwest Passage, Prudential, Asylum, and the western portion of the Black Jack Boulders. This latest acquisition extends Access Fund and RCA’s legacy of land protection at Rumney, which began in 1994 when Access Fund purchased Meadows, 5.8 Crag, Monsters, and the main parking area, which we later transferred to the US Forest Service (USFS) for long term protection.
“The Final Frontier is about preserving both climbing and natural wild spaces,” says RCA Co-President Dave Quinn. “If sold to a non-climbing friendly buyer for residential development, the resource could have been lost forever.”
In January of 2016, Access Fund lent RCA $10,000 to secure an Option Agreement on the property, giving them one year and the sole right to purchase the property. The two organizations worked together to launch a large-scale fundraising campaign to raise $300,000 to purchase the property and make stewardship improvements. The climbing community stepped up in a big way: the Appalachian Mountain Club’s (AMC) New Hampshire Chapter & Mountaineering Committee and Boston Chapter & Mountaineering Committee collectively donated over $40,000 to match and fuel additional donations. We extend our gratitude to each and every individual, group, climbing gym, and company that donated!
“The AMC is proud to support the Final Frontier,” says Tom Sintros of the AMC New Hampshire Mountaineering Committee. “The project contributes to recreation opportunities, access protection, and conservation goals—all consistent with AMC’s mission.”
Access Fund provided RCA with a second loan of $110,000 from its Climbing Conservation Loan Program to finalize the fundraising and allow RCA to apply more funds towards stewardship improvements.
Now that the purchase is complete, RCA will take advantage of its short-term ownership by constructing a new parking area, toilet, and trail system to the Northwest Crags. These improvements will help alleviate crowding at the main parking area and crags.
For the final phase of this project, Access Fund will help RCA transfer the property to the USFS within the next two years for permanent conservation. The USFS, with support from RCA and Access Fund, is seeking federal funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to complete the hold and transfer, match climbers’ donations, and return loan funds so that Access Fund can re-invest the Climbing Conservation Loan money to protect other important climbing areas around the country.
“Thanks to the remarkable support of the Rumney climbing community, we met the fundraising goals and secured the Final Frontier,” says Access Fund Executive Director Brady Robinson. “We are now set to initiate stewardship improvements and complete the process with RCA and the USFS.”
“The White Mountain National Forest is very excited about this acquisition. This property will provide new climbing opportunities,” says Jon Morrissey, District Ranger of the Pemigewasset Ranger District.” We look forward to working together with RCA on this final phase of land protection at Rumney Rocks.”
Thanks for the generous support and stay tuned for updates and volunteer opportunities.
Photo courtesy of © Lee Hansche