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Mar 22, 2002, 5:02 PM
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Access Fund's March eVertical Times
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Virtual Times #17
March 2002
http://www.accessfund.org/

Submissions/comments for the Virtual Times are welcome via email to john@accessfund.org
To view this e-news on our website click: http://www.accessfund.org/virtual_times/e-news17.html


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IN THIS ISSUE:
1. Access Fund Awards Over $30K in Climbing Preservation Grants
2. AF Launches the Access Fund Activists' Forum
3. Access Fund Meets with Congress and Federal Agencies in Washington, DC
4. Access Fund Attends Special Wilderness Training Conference in Arizona
5. Lumpy Ridge Trail and Parking Relocation Environmental Assessment Available for Public Comment
6. Proposed Power Plant Threatens Smith Rock, OR
7. Draft Climbing Management Plan for the Obed Wild and Scenic River
8. Horse Pens-40, AL
9. Visitor Plan for Flatirons to Be Released Soon
10. Changes Coming to Denali Climbing Program
11. Forest Service Reopens Climbing Areas in Colorado
12. The Access Fund is looking for volunteers!
13. Wanted: New Members
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1. Access Fund Awards Over $30K in Climbing Preservation Grants
Funding to Support Conservation, Land Acquisitions, Education

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The Access Fund has awarded more than $30K in its first Climbing Preservation Grants cycle of 2002. Presented three times annually, these grants provide financial assistance for local climber activism and protection of the climbing environment in the United States. Eight of nine applications were approved this cycle totaling $33,980 in funds for trail improvements, preservation of private lands from development, conservation easements and solutions to waste disposal problems in the mountains. "The Access Fund has budgeted $120K in grants this year," said Shawn Tierney, access and acquisitions director. "We're proud to fund these important initiatives on behalf of our members, corporate partners, volunteers and the entire climbing community."

The following grants were awarded this round:

Castleton Tower Preservation Initiative / Acquisition project, Utah
$20,000 was awarded to Utah Open Lands to help pay for the acquisition of 221 acres of open space adjacent to the famous Castleton Tower, near Moab, Utah. This land includes the traditional climbers' campground and parking area for Castleton, the Priest, the Nuns and the Rectory.

East Animas Climbing Access Project, Colorado
Up to $11,000 was awarded to the Durango Climbers Coalition for preserving access to East Animas, the premiere local climbing resource in the Durango Area. The grant will pay for the purchase of an easement for parking and trail access to this area. The project is a partnership between the BLM, La Plata County, private landowners and the local climbing community.

Boat Rock Acquisition Project, Georgia
$10,000 was awarded to the Southeastern Climbers Coalition (SCC) to assist in the purchase of Boat Rock. This seven-acre site offers good climbing on granite boulders in the Metro Atlanta area, but access is threatened since this property is a target for developers.

Denali Clean Mountain Can Project 2002, Alaska
$5,480 was awarded to Denali National Park to support an innovative project to reduce impacts and waste disposal problems at high altitude. The project will position 200 human waste containers known as "Clean Mountain Cans" at 14,000-feet on popular routes. Use of the cans above this height will reduce or eliminate the need for the current high altitude toilet.

Rocky Mountain Field Institute Trails and Education Projects, Utah
$4,000 was awarded to Rocky Mountain Field Institute for trail building and erosion control work in Indian Creek on the approach to Scarface Wall and Broken Tooth.

Pennsylvania Alliance of Climbers Inc. Start-up Grant, Pennsylvania
$1,500 was awarded to the new grassroots climbers group, Pennsylvania Alliance of Climbers (PAC). The group will focus on access, education and land acquisition issues. PAC's first project is the lease of a central PA bouldering area known as Governor Stable.

Lower West Bolton Trail and Erosion Control Project, Vermont
$1,000 was awarded to the climbers group, Crag Vermont, for erosion control and trail construction work at Lower West Bolton Cliffs. This crag is privately owned, but the initiative demonstrated by Crag Vermont in offering to help take care of the property has encouraged the landowner's support for continued climbing access.

Looking Glass Rock Trail and Education Project, North Carolina
$1,000 was awarded to Pisgah Climbers Association (PCA) for construction of a climbers' education kiosk at Looking Glass Rock, NC. The project is one of a series planned by PCA in partnership with Pisgah National Forest to improve the condition of trailheads, trails and the base of climbs at Looking Glass.
For more information on the Access Fund Climbing Preservation Grants click:
http://www.accessfund.org/programs/programs_prog.html



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2. AF Launches the Access Fund Activists' Forum

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We are pleased to announce that our new, "secure" online communication tool is up and running. The Activists’ Forum is for the exclusive use of Access Fund partners and field representatives, including Regional Coordinators, Local Climbing Organizations, and members of the board of directors.
The concept of developing a confidential discussion forum on the Access Fund’s web site was identified at last year's Activists' Summit (the AF’s bi-annual training for climber activists) as a highly desirable "service" the Access Fund could provide to support internal dialogue and more effective advocacy. Our Regional Coordinator Network currently consists of 40+ climbing activists around the country- activists with a diverse range of knowledge, skill and experience.

The purpose of the Activists’ Forum is to facilitate the exchange of information and expertise among people who are working closely with or for the Access Fund, and who must occasionally share privileged information about legal issues, land transactions, and other sensitive subjects. We expect to expand the capabilities of the Activists’ Forum in the near future to also provide an online communication tool for Access Fund members.


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3. The Access Fund Meets with Congress and Federal Agencies in Washington, DC

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In February, Jason Keith, Access Fund policy analyst, met in Washington DC with members of Congress and high-ranking officials from the land management agencies regarding recreational use fees and the management of fixed anchors in Wilderness. The Forest Service is developing a proposal for legislation that would make the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program ("Fee Demo") permanent, but which would include some critical improvements. Keith met with Representative Scott McInnis (R-CO), and other congressional members on the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee to advocate for an exemption for backcountry and wilderness area access.

Keith also met with agency officials in the US Forest Service and BLM to push for a final policy on the use and placement of fixed anchors in Wilderness. The Access Fund’s proposal would allow climbers to continue to use existing fixed anchors without restriction, but would require some form of authorization for placing new bolts in designated wilderness areas. We are hopeful the agencies will approve management guidance for this issue later this year. The AF will continue to work actively to ensure that climbers’ ability to enjoy wilderness is not compromised or curtailed. For more information, contact Jason Keith at mailto:jason@accessfund.org. [//../images/virtual_times/j-keith_capitol_2-02-crop.jpg]

Jason Keith, AF policy analyst, defending your climbing freedoms in Washington, DC.



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4. Access Fund Attends Special Wilderness Training Conference in Arizona

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[//../images/virtual_times/j-keith_conf-AZ_2-02-WEB.jpg]

Keith presents a slide show about the importance of Wilderness climibng to land managers and advocates at a recent conference in Arizona.
In early March, the Access Fund made a presentation to officials from the federal wilderness management agencies at the National Wilderness Stewardship Training Center. Jason Keith, AF policy analyst, joined a panel discussion providing perspectives from various advocacy groups. Jason’s PowerPoint presentation illustrated why Wilderness climbing is so important to climbers, how fixed anchors have been used in Wilderness, and the pros and cons of the Negotiated Rulemaking process, which failed to produce a unanimous policy recommendation to the Forest Service in 2002 (the Access Fund was one of the participants on this committee, which was stymied by two wilderness "purists").


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5. Lumpy Ridge Trail and Parking Relocation Environmental Assessment Available for Public Comment (report submitted by Larry Gamble, Chief of the Branch of Planning & Compliance, Rocky Mountain National Park)

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An Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Relocation of the Twin Owls & Gem Lake Trailheads is available for public review and comment. Copies of the EA are available in several formats: On the Internet at http://www.nps.gov/romo/ Once you've opened the Rocky Mountain National Park home page, click on FACTS/DOCS on the right side of the page. When the next page opens you can click on the Gem Lake - Twin Owls EA to open a PDF file.

If you would like to have a PDF file sent to you, or if you want a paper copy, contact Larry Gamble at
(970) 586-1320. In order to conserve paper (the EA is 155 pages), please do not request a paper copy unless you really need one. Comments must be in writing, but they can be e-mailed, faxed, mailed, or hand-delivered. Comments must be received by April 19, 2002.


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6. Proposed Power Plant Threatens Smith Rock, OR

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Cogentrix Energy Company recently announced a plan to build a gas-fired power plant very close to Smith Rock State Park. The proposed facility would be the largest power plant of its type in the Pacific Northwest and could adversely affect the climber's experience at Smith Rock. Construction could begin this Fall. If you are concerned about how this proposed power plant could impact climbing at Smith Rock, sign an online petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/Grizzly/petition.html. For more information about this issue click http://www.redheeler.net.


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7. Draft Climbing Management Plan for the Obed Wild and Scenic River

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The National Park Service has completed an Environmental Assessment and Draft Climbing Management Plan for the Obed Wild and Scenic River. The Obed has become a very popular climbing area with climbers from the Southeast and Midwest, offering high quality sport and trad routes on excellent sandstone. The Access Fund has been working with local climbers and the NPS to prepare this draft plan. You may obtain copies of this document on the web at www.nps.gov.obed, under the facts/doc link, or by calling the Obed Visitors Center at (423) 346-6294. The Preferred Alternative allows sport climbing within established climbing zones at Lilly Bridge Area and continues the moratorium on new sport routes until a comprehensive resource study can be completed. Climbers are encouraged to provide written comments to Kristin Stoehr, Unit Manager, Obed Wild and Scenic River, Box 429 Wartburg, TN 37887, or mailto:Kris_Stoehr@nps.gov. Comments must be received by April 8, 2002.


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8. Horse Pens-40, AL

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Horse Pens-40, near Birmingham, Alabama, was closed last fall when the company that owned the site encountered financial difficulties. Horse Pens-40 is one of the best bouldering areas in the southeast. Various parties claiming ownership of the 160-acre property have filed lawsuits. The Access Fund is actively working to restore and preserve access for climbers while ownership issues are resolved through the courts. Check our web site or http://www.seclimbers.org/ for regular updates as negotiations continue.

Photo courtesy of Brad McLeod
[//../images/virtual_times/horse-pens40-lance-SMALL.jpg]

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9. Visitor Plan for Flatirons to Be Released Soon

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The City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks Department in Colorado is preparing to release a Visitor Plan for public comment this Spring. Three years in the making, the Visitor Plan will establish new policies and guide management of recreational activities, trails, access, commercial operations and monitoring efforts. The plan will affect many significant climbing resources such as the Flatirons, the Maiden, Matron, Fern Canyon and bouldering areas (including the Ghetto, Terrain Boulders, Satellite Boulders, and Flagstaff Mountain).

Although it is not yet known what changes are proposed for climbing management, the Visitor Plan may impose use restrictions and closures in some areas. The plan probably will call for trail projects to preserve access while minimizing impacts to climbing areas. The Access Fund, along with the Flatirons Climbing Council and local climbers, has been working with Open Space staff to prevent unreasonable and unnecessary restrictions from being imposed. A public meeting will be held this spring in Boulder when the draft plan is ready. Check the Access Fund website for regular updates.

More information about the Visitor Plan can be found on the Open Space/Mountain Parks website at: http://www.ci.boulder.co.us/openspace or by calling the Department directly at 303-441-3440.


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10. Changes Coming to Denali Climbing Program

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In recent months decision regarding climbing issues at Denali National Park (DNP) have been issued. DNP has agreed to decrease the 60-day pre-registration requirement to seven days for climbers who registered to climb Foraker and Denali since 1995. Climbers who previously registered with DNP need only seven days prior to their departure date to register and pay a $25 deposit. The remaining $125 of the $150 mountaineering fee is due upon check-in at the Talkeetna Ranger Station. The shorter pre-registration period will simplify planning for new routes and climbs dependent on weather conditions.

The Final General Management Plan (FGMP) removed the proposal to prohibit backpackers and climbers from parking at trailheads and major parking lots. In additions, users will not be required to use/pay for a shuttle system during peak seasons. The Plan includes developing a shuttle system for peak season. All Park visitors will have access to trailhead parking lots on a first-come, first-served basis until full. The shuttle system will serve climbers when the lots fill.

Thanks to the American Alpine Club for their work to support climbing at Denali and Ranier.


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11. Forest Service Reopens Climbing Areas in Colorado; Access Fund Position
on Wildlife Closures

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The Forest Service has reopened popular climbing areas near Boulder, Colorado that were closed recently to protect birds of prey during the nesting season. In Boulder Canyon, Blob Rock, Bitty Buttress, and the Security Risk Area (including the Bihedral and Happy Hour Crag), are open as of March 22. Eagle Rock remains closed to all recreational activities, probably through July 31, 2002.

Volunteers from the Colorado Division of Wildlife and Boulder County Nature Association helped to monitor these nesting areas, and when it was determined that no birds had nested, the Forest Service lifted the climbing restrictions.

"This is a good example of the importance of monitoring raptor nesting," said Shawn Tierney, Access Fund access and acquisitions director, "Climbers will cooperate with reasonable and flexible restrictions to give birds of prey a good chance of nesting. We appreciate the Forest Service’s commitment to reopening climbing areas where nesting does not take place."

The Access Fund recognizes that a progressive approach to managing recreation such as climbing requires a balance of priorities, among them protection of wildlife. Therefore we only support limited, seasonal closures to promote successful raptor nesting, as long as two conditions are met: the oversight agency relies on regular monitoring of nesting progress, and restrictions are lifted as soon as it is determined that no nest has been or is likely to be established.

In general, the Access Fund does not support mandatory closures of climbing resources, unless there are compelling legal or scientific reasons for such restrictions. In the absence of such reasons, we have endorsed voluntary restrictions in climbing areas such as Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming and Pinnacles National Monument.


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12. The Access Fund is looking for volunteers!

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If you have some spare time and are interested in helping the Access Fund keep climbing areas open and protect the climbing environment, please contact Events Coordinator Kate Cavicchio and add your name to our volunteer list. Call 1-888-863-6237 x112 or email mailto:kate@accessfund.org.


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13. Wanted: New Members

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The Access Fund is the largest climbers advocacy group in America, and the only organization dedicated solely to preserving access and protecting the climbing environment. We currently have over 10,000 members, but if we had twice that many we could be twice as effective! Our influence in Washington DC, and our ability to buy threatened lands, represent climbers in resource management planning and policy-making, and support local climber activism, is directly proportional to the number of members we have. We encourage all the recipients of this e-mail to join us if you have not already. If you cannot or will not become a member, we would appreciate knowing why – send us a quick email to mailto:info@accessfund.org.


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Virtual Times Policies:
1. The Access Fund office in Boulder is the only source of
outgoing messages to the lists.
2. The AF will not sell or give away email addresses for the V-Times.
3. V-Times is an announcement-only e-mail list; therefore, you cannot reply to any of the list members.
4. All e-mail addresses will remain confidential with every mail sent.







[ This Message was edited by: rrradam on 2002-03-22 17:02 ]


Partner rrrADAM


Mar 26, 2002, 6:58 AM
Post #2 of 2 (1584 views)
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Registered: Dec 19, 1999
Posts: 17553

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