Access Fund Awards Round One of Climbing Preservation Grants

Date: 4/13/2012

The Access Fund is pleased to announce the awardees of round one of the 2012 Climbing Preservation Grants Program. Once again, Access Fund members were given the opportunity to rate grant projects, helping the Access Fund decide which projects they were most interested in funding. In this round of grants, the Access Fund awarded over $26,000 to support local climbing activism and conservation of the climbing environment. Presented two times annually, the Climbing Preservation Grant program provides financial assistance to the grassroots network and land managers across the United States. During this first round of grants, the Access Fund is supporting nine worthy projects.

BLM Bishop Field Office - Bishop Educational Climbing Kiosks
The Access Fund is pleased to award a grant to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Bishop Field Office, which manages the world-famous Bishop climbing destination. As the area grows in popularity, climbers have unintended impacts on the sensitive landscape of natural and cultural resources. The Bishop Field Office will use the grant money to mitigate these impacts through climber education by installing kiosks at the trailheads of the Happy and Sad bouldering areas on the Volcanic Tableland. The trailhead kiosks would be built and maintained with volunteer hours and will address issues such as social trails, damage to cultural resources (rock art), improper fires, natural history of the area, and climbing ethics.

Climbers of Hueco Tanks Coalition - Hueco Educational Brochures
A grant was awarded to the Climbers of Hueco Tanks Coalition (CHTC), who have been working closely with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to ensure that access to this climber’s paradise remains open for years to come. The grant will fund educational brochures to be distributed by Park staff to visitors of this sensitive area. The brochure will educate climbers and additional user groups about the rich history and significance of rock climbing and bouldering in Hueco Tanks State Historical Park, including a code of climbing ethics. Further education of all visitors will help protect park resources and ensure future climbing access.

Climbing Resource Advocates for Greater Sacramento - Re-Establish Climbing in Auburn Quarry
The Access Fund is pleased to present a grant to Climbing Resource Advocates for Greater Sacramento (CRAGS), who are working to reverse the current climbing ban in the Auburn State Recreation Area (ASRA). After 10 years of closure, the State and Federal agencies that operate ASRA have agreed to lift the ban on climbing as long as CRAGS can assist with climber education and site improvements. The grant will help fund toilet facilities, a kiosk with educational signage, and animal-resistant garbage disposal containers. Future phases in 2013 will install permanent improvements at the crag to service climbers in the long term. After 4 years of advocacy by CRAGS, this is the first opportunity to re-open a great low-elevation, moderate crag in Northern California.

Portola and Castle Rock Foundation - Keep Castle Rock State Park Open
A grant was awarded to Portola and Castle Rock Foundation to assist with keeping Castle Rock State Park open. In May 2011, the State of California announced that 70 of its State Parks, including Castle Rock State Park, were slated for permanent closure as a budget saving measure. The Park has long served as an important crag for Bay Area climbers, with its numerous sandstone boulders. The Foundation is entering into an operating agreement with State Parks to keep Castle Rock State Park open for all visitors, climbers included.

Rocky Mountain Field Institute - Blue Grama Trail Construction Project
The Access Fund is pleased to award a grant to Rocky Mountain Field Institute (RMFI) to help construct a new trail to the Blue Grama area in Indian Creek. Indian Creek has become a world renowned crack climbing destination, and needs trail work to withstand its growing use and preserve climbing access. The lack of established, sustainable trails in certain areas has caused widespread undesignated social trails, vegetation loss, and erosive gullies. RMFI will build the new Blue Grama trail with help from an estimated 75 volunteers. Its expert trail design will require minimal future maintenance and ensure long-term access to the Blue Grama area.

Safe Harbor Climbers Coalition - Safe Harbor Trailhead Improvements
A grant was awarded to Safe Harbor Climbers Coalition (SHCC) to assist with trailhead facilities at this newly resurrected Pennsylvania crag. After being closed for almost twenty years, Safe Harbor “South” was reopened to climbing in November 2011. With no facilities within walking distance, and limited space between the cliff line and railroad bed, the area is in dire need of a restroom facility. The SHCC will use the grant money to help install a portable toilet, information kiosk, and signage at the trailhead. SHCC is working with Conestoga Township to install permanent parking and facilities as a second phase of this project. With climbing popularity on the rise at the newly reopened crag, improvements and education are critical to reduce user impacts and build positive community relations that may lead to opening Safe Harbor “North” in the future. This grant only covers a portion of the funds needed to make these trailhead improvements, and the Access Fund and Safe Harbor Climbers Coalition are actively fundraising for this project. To contribute, visit www.accessfund.org/safeharbor.

Salt Lake Climbers Alliance - Lower Parley’s Access Trail
The Access Fund is pleased to award a grant to the Salt Lake Climbers Alliance (SLCA) to help construct a new sustainable climbing access trail at the base of Parley’s Canyon. The popular and highly visible crag at the base of Parley’s Canyon is heavily used and impacted by the population of Salt Lake County. With help from volunteers and trail building experts, SLCA will construct a new access trail and close the old, unsafe approach. Staging areas will also be improved to reduce impacts at the base of the cliff. Lastly, SLCA will construct two kiosks and add signage to illustrate the new trail and communicate LNT ethics to the climbing community.

Southeastern Climbers Coalition - Boat Rock Toilet Construction
A grant was awarded to the Southeastern Climbers Coalition (SCC) to help with a permanent vault toilet at Boat Rock. The current portable toilet in the parking lot has been ineffective at managing human waste and, due to Boat Rock’s rising popularity, the boulder field has recently been plagued with “land mines” and littered with toilet paper. This grant will match American Alpine Club funds for a new, permanent, vandal-proof vault toilet to meet the needs of the Georgia climbing community.

Yosemite Climbing Management Team - Yosemite Climbing Stewardship Program
The Access Fund is pleased to award a grant to the Yosemite Climbing Management Team, which will help fund a new program that will provide weekly stewardship of climbing areas in the valley during the climbing season. Four climbers will serve 32 hours a week performing trail work, trash removal, and education of visitors and climbers. These projects will help foster a positive relationship between the Park and the thousands of climbers that travel there every year. We hope that this program will serve as a great example for other major climbing destinations around the country.