Midwest Climbing Advocacy Summit

On May 4 and 5, 2019, Access Fund met 90 local climbing advocates in Devil's Lake, Wisconsin. The topics focused on issues and successes specific to the Midwest region. There were 9 local climbing organizations represented as well as several other outdoor organizations. Access Fund would like to thank Wisconsin Climbers Association for their help in planning and hosting this summit.

Below is the agenda along with copies of each panel's presentations.

The Odd Couple: Maintaining Relationships With Public Land Managers
With much of the Midwest's climbing on public lands, our alliance with land managers is crucial. We heard from both sides of the conversation on this panel about how climbers can unite with public land managers to work together on climbing access issues.

Moderator: Ty Tyler/Access Fund Stewardship Director; Panelists: Doug Hemken/Wisconsin Climbers Association, Kevin McCarthy/Beta Fund, John Klein/Jones County

View Hemken's presentation here.
View McCarthy's presentation here.
View Klein's presentation here.

Strategies for Working With Other Users
We have all heard stories of turf wars between different user groups across the country, but we’ve also heard that united voices make a difference. Access Fund supports climbers, bikers, hikers, and other user groups working together for access success, and so do the land managers and local climbing advocates on this panel. These panelists provided tips on how they encourage harmonious coexistence at their crags.

Moderator: Zachary Lesch-Huie/Access Fund Affiliate Director & Southeast Regional Director; Panelists: Barry Johnson/Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, Jim Shoberg/City of Duluth, Eric Barnard/Minnesota Climbers Association

View Johnson's presentation here.
View Shoberg's presentation here.
View Barnard's presentation here.

Maximize Your LCO's Impact
This panel is for both new and well-established LCOs as we discussed the fundamentals of growing an organization. The seasoned LCO leaders on this panel walked us through board health, strategic planning, community engagement, and other practical topics and ideas for attendees to take back to their home LCOs.

Moderator: Zachary Lesch-Huie/Access Fund Affiliate Director & Southeast Regional Director; Panelists: Alan Grau/Iowa Climbers Coalition, Judith Brown/Arkansas Climbers Coalition, Andrea Fellenz/Wisconsin Climbers Association

View Grau's presentation here.
View Brown's presentation here.
View Fellenz's presentation here

The Basics on Bolts
We learned from experts on how to identify bad bolts, pull them, and replace them with sustainable options. This issue is becoming a larger conversation as we hear of more and more climbers relying on faulty metal. Our panelists talked about best practices and what they are doing in their communities to create more reliable sport routes.

Moderator: Mike Morin/Access Fund Northeast Regional Director; Panelists: Chase Webb/Arkansas Climbers Coalition & Wichita Mountains Climbers Coalition, Blake Bowling/badbolts.com

View Webb's presentation.
View Bowling's presentation.

From Obscure to Official

Ice climbing parks come with unique opportunities and challenges. Several groups in Minnesota have successfully created ice climbing areas and shared how they were able to start and manage those parks.

Moderator: Joe Sambataro/Access Fund National Access Director & Northwest Regional Director; Panelists: Dave Pagel/Duluth Climbers Coalition, James Loveridge/Minnesota Climbers Association, Eric Barnard/Minnesota Climbers Association

View presentation here.

Preparing for Private Land Success
Approaching a private landowner can seem daunting, but our panelists talked us through how they were able to achieve access onto private rock. They explained the toolbox of answers they used to address the questions that landowners often have such as liability and stewardship.

Moderator: Brian Tickle/Access Fund Texas Regional Director; Panelists: Phillip Carrier/Illinois Climbers Association, Phillip Watts/Upper Peninsula Climbers Coalition

View Carrier's presentation here.

View Watts's presentation here.

Stewardship Workshop
Attendees learned from Access Fund Stewardship Director Ty Tyler in Devil's Lake State Park to discover what it takes to create a sustainable climbing resource. Attendees can use these skills to plan their own stewardship initiatives at home crags.