Apply for a Climbing Conservation Grant

Credit Photo Courtesy of:
R. Tyler Gross | Joshua Tree, CA

Climbing Conservation Grant Program

The Access Fund’s Climbing Conservation Grant Program funds projects that preserve or enhance climbing access and opportunities and conserve the climbing environment throughout the US. Since our inception in 1991, Access Fund has funded over $1.2 million to local organizations, climbers, and public agencies (see our Grant History).

Because we are a member supported non-profit organization, we fund projects that demonstrate local climber support, collaboration with land managers, and a commitment to long-term change. If you are interested in applying for a grant, your group's efforts should be quantifiable, with specific objectives, a detailed budget, and measures for evaluating success. Most grant requests range from $1,000 to $4,000. The Access Fund considers requests for over $10,000, but these projects should have national significance and utilize a high degree of matching funds.

Grant Guidelines and Application Process

Climbing Conservation Grant Application

Who can apply:

We welcome applications from local climbing organizations, land management agencies, conservation organizations, land trusts, and individuals. Tax exempt 501(c)(3) status is not a prerequisite. Individuals are required to report grant money as income. Only one proposal from an organization will be considered per year. Applications from organizations that have never received Access Fund funding will be given priority over applications from past grant recipients.

We fund work that:

  • is action-oriented.
  • builds local climber involvement and support.
  • is strategic in its targeting and goals.
  • accomplishes specific goals and objectives that can be effectively measured.
  • takes place in the United States.
  • encourages access or enhances opportunities for climbing.
  • develops knowledge about natural and cultural resource values where the information is used to open climbing areas or mitigate climbing impacts.
  • reduces climber impacts on natural and cultural resources within the climbing environment.
  • raises awareness about climber responsibility toward conserving the climbing environment.
  • is supported by the climbing community.
  • utilizes matching agency or local funds (ideally this will be at least 50%).
  • incorporates a degree of volunteer labor and/or pro bono services.
  • supports research projects that increase our scientific understanding of climbing impacts, climber behavior, and economic impacts, and further improves best practices for climbing management. All projects must have a clear plan for distributing and communicating the results.

We do not fund:

  • fixed anchors, bolts, bolt installation, etc. (see Anchor Replacement Fund for replacement projects).
  • outdoor programs (e.g. taking groups climbing, at-risk programs, youth groups).
  • climbing equipment.
  • marketing or membership recruitment.
  • facility construction (e.g. indoor climbing walls, artificial climbing facilities, ice parks).
  • political campaigns.

Additional considerations:

  • Projects must benefit a technical climbing area, such as rock, ice, and alpine routes where climbers commonly rope up or bouldering areas.
  • Any proposal for facilities, trail work, or installation of signage on public lands requires land owner/manager permission and support.
  • Funds for paid professional services and travel stipends are limited and at the discretion of the grant committee (e.g. professional trail crews).
  • If requesting funds for a land acquisition or for grant requests over $10,000, please call Access Fund at 303-545-6772 before submitting your application for additional considerations.

Applicants must review the detailed Grant Guidelines and Application Process to ensure the project qualifies and follows the application process. Read through the projects that were awarded during 2019's Summer Round to see examples of proposals that were vetted and awarded by Access Fund's grant committee. Submit a Grant Application by the following deadlines:

Winter Deadline: March 1

Summer Deadline: August 1

Access Fund is also proud to work closely with the American Alpine Club's Cornerstone Conservation Grant Program. For larger projects, consider matching a Climbing Conservation Grant with a Cornerstone Conservation Grant. 

Please direct any questions and e-mail grant applications to grantapplications@accessfund.org. Access Fund strongly encourages applicants to inquire about project ideas prior to applying to ensure appropriate projects are submitted.

Photos courtesy of Lee Powell