Access Fund Announces 2009 Sharp End Awards

Date: 2/4/2010

The Access Fund announced today the winners of its 2009 Sharp End Awards. Each year the Access Fund recognizes individuals and businesses that go above and beyond to volunteer their time and efforts to preserving climbing access and the climbing environment. These recipients stand out in their commitment to the American climbing community, and the Access Fund is honored to present this year's awards to a worthy group of volunteers and activists. Please join us in congratulating them!

Bebie Leadership Award – Anthony Love
We are proud to recognize Anthony Love as America’s outstanding activist for the cause of preserving climbing access and the climbing environment. Anthony has illustrated his leadership with the recent acquisition of the Rumbling Bald West Side Boulders in North Carolina and has been instrumental in climbing management planning for Laurel Knob and continued access to the privately owned Asheboro Boulders. Anthony leads the Carolina Climbers Coalition with perseverance and passion, helping to build partnerships and a strong community of climbers dedicated to protecting and stewarding the places we cherish.

Reese Martin Coordinator of the Year Award – Thomson Ling
We honor Thomson Ling for his outstanding leadership as an Access Fund Regional Coordinator in Virginia. Thomson founded the Mid-Atlantic Climbers Coalition in 2002 and became a regional coordinator in 2003. With his support, Mid Atlantic Climbers has organized dozens of Adopt a Crag events over the past seven years with hundreds of volunteers in attendance in areas including Shenandoah National Park, Carderock Recreation Area, and Great Falls National Park. Thomson is now a Regional Coordinator in New Jersey.

Sharp End Award – Clif Bar & Company
The Access Fund is proud to award Clif Bar & Company a Sharp End Award for their dedication and support of local volunteerism and long-term stewardship of climbing areas. Since 2004, Clif Bar has been a Contributing Sponsor of the Adopt a Crag program and in 2008 became a Contributing Sponsor of the TeamWorks youth program, helping to turn young gym climbers into responsible conservation-minded outdoor climbers. Clif Bar strives to bring local communities together to take care of the beautiful places we play, and for that we are very grateful.

Sharp End Award – Brian Sabourin
We are pleased to present a Sharp End Award to Brian Sabourin, our first regional coordinator in the state of Ohio. Brian has illustrated his leadership in climbing activism by forming a new local climbing organization (the Northeast Ohio Climbers Coalition), spearheading an effort to open climbing access at the Brecksville Reservation, and volunteering countless hours to building relationships and collaborating with the Cleveland Metro Parks. He also organized the first Adopt a Crag at Whipp’s Ledge. Brian is just getting started, and we look forward to many more successes in the years to come.

Sharp End Award – Paul Morley
We are honored to present a Sharp End Award to Paul Morley, who shows the climbing community that activism and protection of our climbing areas may be hard work, but the rewards are worth the effort. Paul worked tirelessly over four years to acquire Yellow Bluff in Alabama, and has been an instrumental player in building a network of supporters among the Southeastern Climbers Coalition and Access Fund. Paul’s contagious enthusiasm for climbing access spreads to everyone he meets, and we are proud to have him in our corner.

Sharp End Award – Aaron Gibson
We honor Aaron Gibson, co-owner of the Rocktown Climbing Gym and coach to the Oklahoma Climbing Team, for his leadership in climbing management planning and trail projects throughout his home state of Oklahoma. Aaron has been an Access Fund regional coordinator since 2004 and has played an integral role in helping to preserve climbing access at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge by working with local climbers and Refuge managers on climbing policies. Aaron also provided lobbying support for the Access Fund’s meetings with Oklahoma’s congressional delegation in Washington, DC. Thanks to Aaron, climber interests are well-represented in Oklahoma.