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The Access Fund kicks off its fifteenth year of supporting grassroots climbing advocacy and conservation projects by awarding more than $22,000 in its first Climbing Preservation Grants cycle of 2006 for trail improvements, preservation of private lands from development, organizational startup and solutions to belay area erosion. Presented three times annually, these grants provide financial assistance for local climber activism and protection of the climbing environment in the United States.
The following grants were awarded this round:
Friends of Williamson Rock Start-up, California
A grant was awarded to the Friends of Williamson Rock (FoWR) for start-up and organizational expenses. The newly formed group represents climbers’ interests at Williamson Rock in Southern California. FoWR’s first project is to work closely with United States Forest Service to address access, stewardship and climbing management issues as they relate to the Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog in order to reopen Williamson Rock to rock climbing.
Ragged Mountain Parking Feasibility Assessment, Connecticut
A grant was awarded the Ragged Mountain Foundation (RMF) to conduct a comprehensive analysis toward the construction of a parking area. The RMF property contains wetlands and a conservation easement. Therefore it must first be determined if an ecologically sensitive parking area can be developed. Long-term access has always been uncertain due to the limited nature of parking. The project is a partnership between the Berlin Land Trust, private landowners and the local climbing community.
Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve Land Acquisition Project, Kentucky
The Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition (RRGCC) was awarded a grant to assist with the acquisition of the Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve climbing area. The Pendergrass-Murray area is a regionally and nationally significant rock climbing area containing almost 75% of the existing open climbing in the Southern Region of the Red River Gorge, Kentucky. RRGCC purchased the 700 acre parcel for recreational use and protection in 2004. Climbing will be allowed and access to the crag will be guaranteed in perpetuity. This grant supplements a grant awarded by the AF in 2004 for the acquisition
Laurel Knob Acquisition Project, North Carolina
The Carolina Climbers Coalition received a grant, made possible by Petzl and Scarpa, to assist with the purchase of a 50-acre tract near Cashiers, North Carolina containing what is arguably the tallest cliff in the eastern United States â€“ a granite wall over 1,000 feet tall known as Laurel Knob. The purchase opens up a previously closed climbing area. This grant supplements a grant awarded by the AF in 2005 for the acquisition
Frenches Dome Slope Stabilization and Belay Platform Construction, Oregon
The Forest Service was awarded a grant to help pay for a slope stabilization and belay platform construction project at a popular climbing destination near Mt. Hood. Heavy use at this site has resulted in erosion and vegetation loss at the base of the rock and outlying areas. The project will involve the construction of rock retaining walls, a trail on the northeast side of the formation that will direct use, and revegetation in areas that are no longer in the travel zone.
White Rocks Acquisition Project, Pennsylvania
The Explorer’s Club of Pittsburgh (ECP) was awarded a grant to help pay for the acquisition of 800+ acres of open space and crags in southwestern Pennsylvania. This land is of local and regional significance and includes some of the best climbing in the area. Unfortunately is has been closed to climbing for over 10 years, and is a target for real estate developers. Long-term access and preservation of the area will be secured through the acquisition.
Reimers Ranch Bridge Construction Project, Texas
A grant was awarded to the climbers group, Central Texas Mountaineers, for erosion control and bridge construction work at Reimers Ranch in outside of Austin, Texas. In November 2005, Reimers Ranch was purchased by Travis County to be used as a public park with the passage of a bond initiative. Since the acquisition of Reimers by Travis County, visitation to the area has increased substantially. The construction of two bridges will proved safer access to climbing areas, reduces impact to the stream, and protects vegetation and life contained in the stream.
Maple Canyon Bridge and Kiosk Construction Project, Utah
The USDA Forest Service, Manti-La Sal National Forest was awarded a grant to construct a bridge and an educational kiosk. The Middle Fork Trail in Maple Canyon receives heavy use and impacts the stream that must be crossed to access the climbing trails. The bridge help minimize the impacts of use by re-vegetating the river’s banks and kiosks will and provide education to all users on camping, minimum impact techniques and cultural resources.
Since 1990, the Access Fund has been the only national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment. The Access Fund supports and represents over 1.6 million climbers nationwide in ALL forms of climbing; rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, and bouldering. Five core programs support the mission on national and local levels: public policy, stewardship & conservation (including grants), grassroots activism, climber education, and land acquisition. For more information visit www.accessfund.org/ or www.boulderproject.org/