Over $18,000 in Grants Awarded for Climbing Conservation

Access Fund is pleased to announce that it has awarded $18,400 in the second round of the 2018 Climbing Conservation Grant Program. Each year the Access Fund awards up to $40,000 to local climbing communities with worthy projects that preserve or enhance climbing access in the United States.

Photo courtesy of James McGrew

Since 1991, the Access Fund has awarded $1,191,787 for 362 local projects in 41 states. The Access Fund Climbing Conservation Grant Program is an example of membership dollars at work supporting local climbing communities across the country. In each funding cycle, Access Fund supporters have the opportunity to review qualifying grant projects and share their thoughts with the grants selection committee through a public rating process. Public input from the climbing community provides valuable insight for the grant selection committee. We're pleased to announce funding for the following projects:

Boulder Climbing Community and Rocky Mountain Field Institute: Scarface Access Trail Improvement
Boulder Climbing Community (BCC) and Rocky Mountain Field Institute (RMFI) were both awarded grants to complete work on the approach trail to the Scarface climbing area in Indian Creek, Utah. This is a high traffic area with extensively eroded trails that depends on the collaboration of multiple partners. Grant funding will go toward two weeks of work from the Front Range Climbing Stewards and two college spring break programs to involve volunteers from local schools. The overall goal is to construct steps, build retaining walls and cairns, and close and restore social trails to protect the surrounding ecosystem.

Carolina Climbers Coalition: Fontana Quarry Stability Assessment
Carolina Climbers Coalition (CCC) was awarded a grant to complete a rock stability assessment of Fontana Quarry in North Carolina. This quarry has an impressive rock face that stretches several hundred feet wide and is 200-400 feet tall. The CCC, in collaboration with the Access Fund, sent a proposal to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to open the quarry to rock climbing. TVA received the initial proposal, acknowledging the recreational potential and local community support, while raising concerns about the site's rock stability from quarrying, and whether it is suitable for rock climbing. The CCC will contract a professional geology firm with experience reviewing rock formations for public usage, to assess the cliff before and after winter to monitor potential changes to the rock face. Several geologists with the firm are local climbers who can provide a relevant assessment.

New River Alliance of Climbers: Fayette County Climbing Trail Improvements
New River Alliance of Climbers was awarded funds for materials and labor to remediate extensive impacts at the Bridge Buttress Area in West Virginia caused by many years of heavy use by climbers and hikers. Funds will be used to crib staging areas with timber and rock to create a series of connected flats that will slow runoff and stop erosion and loss of vegetation. Grade improvements will connect the approach staircase to the stone staircase leading to the top of the crag, as well as to the Layback area. Grant funds will also be used for initial recreational infrastructure in the new Needleseye Park, a municipal climbing resource in the City of Oak Hill, West Virginia.

Southeastern Climbers Coalition: Denny Cove Sustainable Toilet Infrastructure
Southeastern Climbers Coalition (SCC) was awarded a grant to proactively mitigate human waste issues at Denny Cove in Tennessee, which is quickly becoming one of the Southeast’s premier climbing destinations. South Cumberland State Park has committed staff and personnel time to build a new bathroom facility, and grant funding will be used for lumber and other project materials, signage, and travel expenses for SCC's stewardship director.

Wild South: Climbers for Cliff Conservation
Wild South was awarded funding to educate visitors about the 40 plus rare species that live on cliffs and rock outcrops in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. These species are threatened by climate change, invasive species, and lack of knowledge in the recreational community. Wild South will use funding for educational materials that will encourage the climbing community to assist in gathering data, as well as for a conservation plan to remove invasive species and protect rare species. This partnership will help foster a productive and harmonious relationship between the climbing community and land managers.

Yosemite National Park: Peregrine Closure Management Plan
Yosemite National Park was awarded funding to help biologists monitor raptor nest sites in order to effectively time climbing closures. This project helps ensure that climbers can push physical human boundaries on the same cliffs where the peregrine falcon, a protected bird-of-prey, can have space to comfortably raise its young. With proper monitoring, this project will help ensure that less than 5 percent of climbing routes will ever be closed at one time. Grant funding will also be used to develop a management plan that can be shared with other parks and agencies across the country.

Credit Photo Courtesy of:
Jared Musgrave

Tell Land Managers: Let Climbers Tackle Stewardship

Land managers often lack the funding and expertise to fix growing impacts, and getting through the red tape to put a shovel in the ground is their biggest obstacle. There are several bills and initiatives being drafted now that will streamline approvals for public lands, and we need your help to show land managers a groundswell of support from climbers.
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