Access Fund announced that it has awarded $25,000 in the first round of the 2016 Climbing Preservation Grants Program. Each year, the Access Fund awards up to $40,000 in grant money to local climbing communities with worthy projects that preserve or enhance climbing access in the United States. The Access Fund Climbing Preservation Grants Program is an example of membership dollars at work in local climbing communities across the country. Access Fund supporters got the opportunity to review qualifying grant projects and rate them, providing valuable input to our grant selection committee as to which projects they want their contributions to support. We are pleased to announce funding for the following worthy projects.
Acadia National Park: Climbing Exhibits
Acadia National Park in Maine was awarded funding to design, construct, and install exhibits that outline park regulations, Leave No Trace guidelines, and safety information to help educate the climbing community. The park will install these exhibits at the two most popular climbing areas in the park: Otter Cliffs and the South Wall Champlain (Precipice). This effort is a collaboration between the National Park Service and a volunteer climbing advisory group.
BETA Fund: Jackson Falls Parking Improvements
BETA Fund, a climbing advocacy group, was awarded funding to improve parking and access at Jackson Falls in Southern Illinois. As recreational use increases at this popular site, erosion and limited parking are impacting both natural resources and the visitor experience. Working in partnership with Shawnee National Forest, this project will include new graveling of the existing parking lot and grading of additional areas where parking occurs already. BETA Fund will match grant funding to initiate and conduct these improvements.
Climbing Association of Southern Arizona: Windy Point Stewardship
The Climbing Association of Southern Arizona (CASA) was awarded funding to further its education efforts and graffiti removal at the Windy Point area on Mt. Lemmon. CASA aims to steward and deter vandalism at this popular Forest Service site on the 27-mile Catalina Highway. CASA strives to engage local climbers and the outdoor community through its efforts in education, stewardship, and by partnering with local land managers and user groups. Grant funds will be used to match an AAC Cornerstone grant awarded last year.
High Mountain Institute: Mill Creek Collaborative Stewardship Project
High Mountain Institute (HMI) was awarded funding to conduct trail work at the popular Mill Creek climbing area in the La Sal Mountains near Moab, Utah. For 10 days in the fall of 2016, twelve young outdoor enthusiasts with HMI will work under the mentorship of the Front Range Climbing Stewards and Access Fund-Jeep Conservation Team at this Forest Service site. The work will focus on constructing a sustainable access trail to the most heavily impacted climbing sites. This collaborative project aims to protect a special sport climbing resource for the Utah climbing community and to engage young climbers in a real-world, climbing conservation project.
Madrone Wall Preservation Committee: Vault Toilet at Madrone Wall Park
Madrone Wall Preservation Committee (MWPC) was awarded funding to match funds raised for the construction of a vault toilet at Madrone Wall Park in Clackamas County, Oregon. Madrone Wall is a civic treasure that features climbing on the edge of the Portland metropolitan area. The area was closed in 1997 when the County pursued an effort to quarry and log the site. After nearly two decades of closure, the County owned park will re-open once the necessary improvements of the access road, parking area, vault toilet, and trailhead kiosk are completed in the next year.
Salt Lake Climbers Alliance (SLCA): Grit Mill & Climbing Master Plan Project
Salt Lake Climbers Alliance (SLCA) was awarded funding to kick off a large-scale stewardship project in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Just minutes from Salt Lake City, Utah, the canyon’s superb granite routes have been an invaluable resource to rock climbers for over fifty years. The area is being negatively impacted by high use. Numerous social trails are hindering search and rescue efforts and impacting the Salt Lake City watershed. Grant monies will be used to hire professional trail crews and give them the materials needed to protect the watershed and access to this invaluable climbing resource.
Southeastern Climbers Coalition: Denny Cove Acquisition
Southeastern Climbers Coalition was awarded funding to acquire Denny Cove in Tennessee. The Denny Cove project is a landscape-scale conservation project that involves multiple public and private organizations working together to protect the South Cumberland region for its scenic beauty, ecological services, and recreational benefits. At 671 acres and a purchase price of $1.2M, Denny Cove represents the largest potential acquisition that the SCC has ever made, with 200+ high quality sport climbing routes similar to Foster Falls and the Red River Gorge. This funding is crucial to moving the Denny Cove acquisition forward.
About Access Fund
Access Fund is the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment. Founded in 1991, the Access Fund supports and represents millions of climbers nationwide in all forms of climbing: rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, and bouldering. Six core programs support the mission on national and local levels: climbing policy and advocacy, stewardship and conservation, local support and mobilization, land acquisition and protection, risk management and landowner support, and education. For more information, visit www.accessfund.org.