Access Fund Announces Second Round Grant Recipients for 2017

Access Fund is pleased to announce that we have awarded $16,900 in the second round of the 2017 Climbing Conservation Grant Program. In each funding cycle, Access Fund members have the opportunity to review qualifying grant projects and share their thoughts with our grants selection committee through a public rating process. Public input from the climbing community provides valuable insight for the grant selection committee. We are pleased to announce funding for the following worthy projects.

Carolina Climbers Coalition: Buckeye Knob Acquisition
The Carolina Climbers Coalition (CCC) was awarded grant funds to acquire Buckeye Knob, a 55-acre tract outside Boone, North Carolina. Currently under contract, the $145,000 purchase is the second largest purchase in CCC’s history. The acquisition is being leveraged by the donation of access and climbing easements on neighboring lands below Buckeye Knob, known as the Barn Boulders. Together, the project will secure permanent access and conservation of 500 boulder problems on 180 boulders. This historic area contains fantastic problems at all grades on high quality rock in a beautiful setting. An Access Fund grant will assist with final survey and closing costs.

The Cathedral Domain: Rock Domain Bath House
The Cathedral Domain was awarded a grant to construct a toilet and bath house for climbers accessing a new area in the Red River Gorge of Kentucky. The Rock Domain climbing area is on Episcopal Diocese lands, and it has been owned and managed as a camp and conference center for the last 100 years. The cliff line features over 100 routes with room for more, and will be open later this summer. The parking area and trails are complete, but facilities are needed to minimize human waste impacts and provide climbers a healthy and safe amenity while visiting and camping. The grant funds will cover a portion of the toilet construction costs.

Eastern Kentucky University: Economic Impact of the New River Gorge's Climbing Community
Eastern Kentucky University, and lead researcher Dr. James Maples, were awarded funds to complete an economic impact study for West Virginia’s New River Gorge, in partnership with the New River Alliance of Climbers. The study will help illustrate the positive economic impact that climbers bring to the local economy. The study will also help us understand climbers’ technology use while climbing, application of Leave No Trace principles, and economic spending patterns on local food.

Gunnison Valley Climbers: Educational Outreach Signage
Gunnison Valley Climbers (GVC) was awarded funding to design and install educational signs that share leave no trace-based principles specific to climbing in central Colorado. The initiative will bring local ethics, cultural resources, wildlife, and private property boundaries to the attention of climbers recreating at local crags like Taylor Canyon and Hartman Rocks. GVC believes in proactive stewardship and recognizes the opportunity to communicate effective messaging to climbers in the Gunnison Valley before access issues arise.

Illinois Climbers Association: Holy Boulders Acquisition
The Illinois Climbers Association (ICA) was granted funding to permanently protect the Holy Boulders, a world-class sandstone bouldering area nestled on a hillside in Southern Illinois. In 2016, ICA took permanent ownership of the property from Access Fund. With the support of the community, the ICA has raised over $50,000 for the Holy Boulders since 2012 and continues to fundraise through their annual Holy Boulders competition. Grant funds will go towards the remaining $74,000 of the loan.

Each year Access Fund awards up to $40,000 to local climbing communities with worthy projects that preserve or enhance climbing access in the United States. Since 1991, Access Fund has awarded $1,170,000 for 339 local projects in forty states.