Access Fund Awards Over $19,000 in Round 1 Grants

The Access Fund is pleased to announce that it has awarded $19,760 in the first round of the 2017 Climbing Conservation Grant 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.

Since inception, Access Fund has awarded over $1,150,000 to 332 projects across 40 states. The Access Fund Climbing Conservation Grant Program is an example of our members dollars at work in local climbing communities across the country. Again this round, Access Fund members 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.

The Arch Project Hawaii: Stewardship and Start Up
The Arch Project Hawaii was awarded funding to kick start its grassroots nonprofit and help clean up and maintain climbing areas on the island of Oahu. As tourism increases and climbing grows in popularity on the islands, there is an increasing need to care for these special places. The Arch Project is dedicated to combining love for the sport of rock climbing and the spirit of aloha. This group of dedicated volunteers aims to foster a thoughtful relationship between the sport, its enthusiasts, and the greater community through stewardship, service, and education. Grant funds will assist with clean-up supplies and start-up costs.

Bay Area Climbers Coalition: 2017 Adopt a Crag Program
Bay Area Climbers Coalition (BACC) was awarded grant funds for graffiti removal and cleanup supplies to support its 2017 Adopt a Crag program. Local crags like Indian Rock, Castle Rock, Mt. Tamalpais, Mt. Diablo, and Beaver Street are just a handful of the many climbing areas BACC looks to support with ongoing stewardship and maintenance. BACC will focus on three main objectives at each event: garbage cleanup, graffiti removal, and erosion control. Every event is volunteer-led and supported.

Carolina Climbers Coalition: Linville Gorge Kiosk
The Carolina Climbers Coalition (CCC), in partnership with the US Forest Service and Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards, was awarded funding to construct an information kiosk at a key trailhead along Wolf Pit Road in Linville Gorge. There is currently little to no signage in this part of the gorge and there is an increasing need to communicate with the rising number of visitors. The kiosk will provide important information for climbers and hikers about minimizing impacts in the Wilderness and other access considerations. Grant funds will go towards construction materials and printing.

East Tennessee Climbers’ Coalition: Clear Creek Parking Lot Acquisition
The East Tennessee Climbers’ Coalition (ETCC) was awarded funding to help cover acquisition and stewardship costs of the Clear Creek climbers’ parking lot and associated trail work. The 7-acre private property provides access to North and South Clear Creek at the Obed Wild and Scenic River and includes the largest remaining section of the access trail. While the current owner has welcomed climbers for years, he indicated his immediate intent to pass the land to his children due to his advancing age, which could have resulted in lost access. Access Fund is pleased to award a grant to help cover these expenses and help ETCC steward the area for generations to come.

Foothills Climbers Committee: Clear Creek Canyon Wag Bag Dispensers
The Foothills Climbers Committee was awarded funding to construct and install wag bag dispensers at four major climbing areas in Clear Creek Canyon, Colorado. In partnership with Boulder Climbing Community, Jefferson County Open Space, and Earth Treks Golden, the committee will work to reduce climber impact at high traffic areas, gain support from the local community for this effort, and expand the number of dispensers to cover more areas in the future. Grant funds will go towards dispenser construction and initial stocking of wag bags.

Gunks Climbers’ Coalition: Northeast Climbing Anchor Summit
The Gunks Climbers’ Coalition (GCC) was awarded funding to organize the Northeast Climbing Anchor Summit in 2017. Participants will be invited from local climbing organizations throughout the Northeast. Hosted at the Mohonk Preserve, workshops will include Best Practices in Bolt Installation presented by Petzl Technical Institute and Best Practices in Bolt Removal presented by Access Fund. The Summit will empower more volunteer anchor replacement and stewardship efforts, share methods for managing climber impacts, and foster partnerships with land managers. Grants funds will go towards event costs such as participant and instructor meals and lodging.

Northern Arizona University: Wilderness Rock Climbing Research
Northern Arizona University graduate student and climber Kate McHugh was awarded funding to evaluate Wilderness rock climbing in the National Park System (NPS). This research project is a collaboration among Joshua Tree National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, local climbers, and Access Fund. In 2013, the NPS adopted a Wilderness climbing policy (outlined in Director’s Order #41), but didn’t provide standard practices for evaluating climbing conditions. This project will address that gap by developing a simple and adaptable climbing impact assessment tool to effectively inform climbing management in National Park Wilderness areas. Research like this will help build a positive relationship between climbers and NPS land managers. McHugh requests matching funds for GIS work and field supplies.

Ohio Climbers Coalition: Mad River Gorge Stewardship
Ohio Climbers Coalition (OCC), in partnership with Clark County Parks Department, was awarded funding to establish the Mad River Gorge climbing area (formerly known as Springfield Gorge). While some history of climbing exists on the private property, the county is completing the acquisition and working with OCC to establish a sustainable network of trails, clean up the site, remove invasive species, and permit bolted climbs. This spring, OCC will host a stewardship day that will put hundreds of volunteers to work on improving the gorge and mark the official opening weekend of climbing. This effort will establish the Mad River Gorge as the largest climbing area in the state. Funds will match an AAC Cornerstone Grant and help cover costs for the clean-up, trail building materials, signage, and kiosk.