Advocate Beta - April 2021

Categories: LCO 101

I've been both humbled and inspired by the way LCOs around the country responded to a year full of major challenges: an ongoing global pandemic, a social justice movement, and a sudden increase in user impacts as more people sought relief in outdoor climbing. Here at Access Fund, we are working on new models for advocacy collaboration, so keep an eye out for upcoming webinars, regional Zoom calls, and more. As you reflect on 2020, I encourage you to share your story with your community in an annual report. See the tips below on how to put together this annual benchmark for nonprofit transparency and accountability. And congratulations for hanging on, growing, and becoming stronger. If there's one thing that's clear after 2020, it’s that your LCO's work to protect climbing is more important than ever.

Zachary Lesch-Huie
National Affiliate Director & Southeast Regional Director

It’s Annual Report Season!

Before you plow into 2021, make time to look back at last year, compile your accomplishments and work, and report your impact to your board and community. In a nutshell, do an annual report! As nonprofit organizations, it’s critical that we reflect and report on our work annually to show our members and community what we’ve done, that we’ve used their donations responsibly, and that we’re transparent about financials and the ways we achieve our mission. Don’t reinvent the wheel—many LCOs are rolling out impressive, professional annual reports, and they’re great models to emulate. Here are some tips on creating an annual report, with examples from fellow LCOs.
~Zachary Lesch-Huie, National Affiliate Director and Southeast Regional Director

© Brian Tickle

LCOs Across the Country Are Diving Into JEDI Work

The surge of interest in justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) within the climbing world has led many LCOs to invest in promoting greater equity in their communities. In this piece, we take a brief look at some of the ways that grassroots organizations from across the country are engaging with JEDI, as well as efforts to bring the LCO community together on a shared vision for what JEDI work in climbing might look like in the future. If you’re interested in these topics, stay tuned for an upcoming Access Fund webinar on JEDI for LCOs.
~Taimur Ahmad, JEDI and Policy Associate

© Timothy Behuniak

The First Paid Rebolting Team

Fixed anchor replacement is a hot topic for LCOs around the country. While volunteer labor continues to be the primary way that LCOs are replacing bolts, Salt Lake Climbers Alliance (SLCA) has cracked the code on paying for this labor-intensive work. As they set out to develop a paid rebolting team, SLCA quickly found that two key challenges were developing work-at-height protocols that would fit into OSHA work classifications and finding reasonably priced insurance. But SLCA persevered and, with help from an Access Fund Anchor Replacement Fund Grant and a generous match from a local donor, they cleared these hurdles and deployed their first-ever paid anchor replacement team to notable crags in Maple Canyon and Little Cottonwood Canyon. This year, SLCA aims to fine tune this new program and is eager to provide resources to other LCOs that are interested in exploring ways to integrate paid bolt replacement into their fixed anchor replacement programs.
~Mike Morin, Northeast Regional Director

LCO Pro: Working with Board, Community, and Access Fund

The four-part LCO Pro series was created to give you an inside look at the reality of paid LCO staff. In this final installment, we cover how these paid leaders find the help they need from their board, their community, and Access Fund. Preserving access to local climbing areas truly is a group effort, and these leaders show us how they’ve surrounded themselves with the resources they need for success. If your LCO is considering taking the next step toward paid staff, we recommend reading through all four parts in the series. Feel free to reach out for advice or to get connected to one of the LCO leaders in the series.
~Zachary Lesch-Huie, Affiliate Director and Southeast Regional Director

Movers & Shakers

CRAG-Vermont (CRAG-VT)
CRAG-VT has joined the growing group of LCOs with paid staff. Lauren Greco has taken the helm as the organization’s first Executive Director to carry out the mission of protecting access to Vermont’s climbing resources.
Learn more.

Western Massachusetts Climbers’ Coalition (WMCC)
WMCC has been hosting “listening sessions” to hear from the community on JEDI topics and give space for underrepresented members to voice their experiences at the crag.
Learn more.

Bishop Area Climbers Coalition (BACC)
BACC is celebrating the second year of their Climber Ranger Program. This idea was created in partnership with the BLM and USFS, putting two rangers in the field to care for climbing resources through stewardship days and community events.
Learn more.

    Resource Center

    • Check out the Outdoor Roundtable Recreation Toolkit for resources to help LCOs foster and grow their outdoor recreation economies.
    • Looking for something fun to do with your fellow climbers? Grab a ticket to Banff Mountain Film Festival, which is all virtual and on-demand, and watch award-winning adventure films while supporting Access Fund! Buy tickets here.
    • Has your LCO run into board conflict? You’re not alone. When you rally a group of passionate members with diverse skills and backgrounds, it’s bound to happen. Check out these tips for resolving board conflict.