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Access Fund's e-Vertical Times #22 (August)
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Access Fund's e-Vertical Times #22 (August)
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VIRTUAL TIMES #22
August 2002
www.accessfund.org/
If you are unable to view the images, please see the V-Times at:
http://www.accessfund.org/virtual_times/e-news22.html


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IN THIS ISSUE:
1. Letter from Sam Davidson
2. Access Fund Awards Over $16,000 in Climbing Preservation Grants
3. The Access Fund Survival Guide to Hueco Tanks, TX
4. Obed CMP Released, TN
5. First meeting of the Gunks Climbers Coalition, NY
6. Volunteer Wanted, CA
7. Adopt-a-Crag Day Photo Contest

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1. Letter from Sam Davidson

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Hueco Tanks is a national treasure. The historical and cultural values of this area in west Texas are rare and marvelous. So are the recreational values—there is no other climbing area like Hueco in the world. The Access Fund has been fighting to keep Hueco open to climbing for ten years. With the help of local climbers, we have succeeded.

Three years ago, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department tried to close the entire park to climbing. Thanks to our intensive advocacy, most of Hueco is now open for climbing. However, the threat of more severe restrictions, even full-blown closures, is very real. That's why the Access Fund will remain vigilant and "on the job" at Hueco.

Hueco Tanks is an excellent, if frustrating, case study in the importance of strong climber advocacy. A decade of effort and expense, at both the local and national levels, were required to preserve access. The lesson: there is no quick fix to many climbing access problems.

In this issue, we provide a "Survival Guide" to climbing at Hueco Tanks. Don't be put off by the bureaucracy—the bouldering at Hueco is as good as ever. Just remember when you're there that all of us have a role to play in preserving access. Keep a low profile, be respectful of rangers and other visitors, and make sure you educate yourself about the fabulous rock art of the area—it'll enhance your overall experience. Please don't forget to tell other climbers that Hueco is open thanks to the Access Fund.

"And thanks to Sam Davidson! After more than a decade of hard work and perseverance Sam is leaving the Access Fund. We will miss his strength, wisdom and passion for our ideals. Please join me in wishing him the best of luck and success in his future endeavors,” said Steve Matous, executive director.


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2. Access Fund Awards Over $16,000 in Climbing Preservation Grants

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The Access Fund has awarded more than $16,000 in its second round of grant funding for 2002. Climbing Preservation Grants provide financial assistance for local climber activism and protection of the climbing environment. A total of $16,300 will be distributed for trail improvements, education, and support for local climber activism. In the first round of grants funding earlier this year, the Access Fund awarded nearly $34,000 in grants.

• Castleton Tower Preservation Initiative/Acquisition project, Utah: $10,000 was awarded to Utah Open Lands/Castle Rock Collaboration, for the acquisition of 221 acres of open space below Castleton Tower, Utah. For decades, climbers have relied on this land for camping and parking on the approach to such famous formations as Castleton Tower, the Priest, the Nuns, and the Rectory. This land has been threatened by development. UOL will receive an additional $10,000 from the Access Fund for this project in 2003.

• Cathedral Ledge Trail Project, New Hampshire: $3,000 was awarded to the New Hampshire Division of Parks for trail improvements at Cathedral Ledge in North Conway, New Hampshire. Cathedral Ledge is one of the most popular climbing areas in the Eastern United States. Trail reconstruction and erosion control are required to protect natural resources and provide safe access to the area.

• Illinois Climbers Association Start-up Grant, Illinois: $1,800 was awarded to the grassroots climbers advocacy group, Illinois Climbers Association. The group will represent climbers in the region by working on statewide access issues, networking with other recreational interest groups, conserving climbing resources, and building good relations with land owners and managers.

• Volunteer Guide Training at Hueco Tanks, Texas: $1,500 was awarded to Hueco Tanks State Historical Park near El Paso, Texas, to pay for the participation of a renowned cultural resources specialist in the park's volunteer guide training. This grant supplements a previous $2500 grant made to Hueco Tanks for climber education. Hueco Tanks is one of the finest bouldering areas in the world.


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3. The Access Fund Survival Guide to Hueco Tanks, TX

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Thanks to years of strong advocacy by the Access Fund Hueco is open for climbing! Here are a few tips for making your climbing experience at Hueco more enjoyable. Hueco has a long, and somewhat troubled, climbing history. A few years ago, climbing was nearly banned throughout the park, due to concerns about impacts to rock art and natural resources. Climbers did not help themselves by breaking the rules from time to time. Please, obey all park rules, be respectful to park staff, and keep a low profile (i.e. no cursing, yelling, or boom boxes). This will help the Access Fund improve access to areas of the Park currently closed.
Directions: Hueco Tanks State Historic Park is located in west Texas, near the city of El Paso. Head 32 miles northeast of El Paso on US Highway 62/180, and turn north on Ranch Road 2775. Follow signs to the park entrance.

Hours of Operation: Hueco Tanks is open 7 days a week, year-round from 8 AM to 6 PM during winter, and 7 AM to 7 PM (Fri-Sun) and 8 AM to 6 PM (Mon-Thurs) in the summer. You must be out of the park by closing time or you may be issued a citation!
Park Entry Requirements: Once per year, before you can climb at Hueco you must watch an orientation video to get a Visitor Orientation Card.

Reservations & Fees: There is a $4/day entry fee for the Park. Those who visit Hueco more than 13 times per year may want to purchase the $50 Texas Conservation Passport.
Before visiting Hueco you should arrange for two things: (1) camping, and (2) access. Both require reservations obtained from one of these two numbers:

- Hueco Tanks State Historic Park: 915-857-1135
-Texas State Park’s Central Reservations in Austin: 512-389-8900

The Park is divided into two zones: the self-guided area (North Mountain) and the guide-only area (East and West Mountains). To go anywhere in the Park you’ll want a reservation (only 70 people are allowed on North Mountain at one time, although you may get lucky and obtain a park entry pass as a walk-in – don’t count on this during peak visitation periods such as winter and spring holidays). For East and/or West Mountain you must reserve a spot on a guided tour.

Camping is available in the Park for $10 per night—call the Park for reservations. Camping in the Park includes sites with water and/or electricity ($2 more), and restrooms with showers. The disadvantage of staying in the Park is that it closes at either 6 PM or 7 PM (depending on the season) after which you can’t leave your site. There’s a 6 person and 2-vehicle limit per site—no fires or charcoal. Campers can only get reservations for 3 days in a row; otherwise campsites may be available on a walk-in basis.
Alternatives to the Hueco Campground include the nearby Hueco Rock Ranch, which offers camping and rooms. The HRR has a kitchen, slack lines, campfire pits, and a community room with a library and TV. Call 915-855-0142 for prices and availability. The venerable Pete’s Quonset Hut (915-857-6336) is still open, and for a $2.00 per night “donation” you can set up your tent there, with no amenities.
Access: To make sure you can get into the park, make a reservation in advance: 60 of the North Mountain slots can be reserved up to six months in advance, leaving 10 walk-in spots. If North Mountain is booked full, wait around at the entrance, as the Park will free up slots when people leave and when people who have reservations don’t show up. All reservations must be secured with a credit card to cover the $4 entry fee. During the peak winter bouldering season, it’s a good idea to camp at the Hueco Campground if you want to get one of the 10 unreserved passes. If you don’t stay at the Hueco Campground, you’ll need to call Austin (512-389-8900) for North Mountain reservations; if you do stay in the Park they can reserve you a North Mountain slot there.

East and West Mountain Reservations: Access to East and West Mountains is allowed if accompanied by a state-certified guide. Guided tours are led either by volunteer guides, commercial guides, or Park staff, and can be scheduled Wednesday thru Sunday depending on guide availability. Tours are filled up on a first come, first served basis and are limited to 10 people. The Park allows seven guided tours at any one time. Call the Park to reserve a volunteer guide (915-857-1135).

Commercial Guides can also get you into East and West Mountains, but you’ll have to pay a bit more. The advantage of a commercial guide is that these tours are tailored to your desires and you can stay out all day long. Call the Park for a list of current commercial guides and their contact information.

Park Staff occasionally lead bouldering tours when no other guides are available. These tours leave at 10 AM and only run for a couple of hours.



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4. Obed CMP Released, TN

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The Climbing Management Plan (CMP) for the Obed Wild and Scenic River, the result of a long effort by Park Service personnel with extensive input from local climbers as well as other user and interest groups, has been released. Climbers have a long tradition of involvement at the Obed, including Access Fund Adopt-A-Crag events. Resource-responsible climbing and constructive relationships with Park officials and private landowners have played a role in the climber friendly nature of the final document. The new CMP allows traditional climbing and bouldering throughout the Obed. Once required studies are completed, new sport route development should be permitted within established climbing zones through a permit process. Per the CMP, this permit process will include climber input and involvement, and appears to support new route development absent specific negative findings of resource impact. The environmental and social studies mandated by the CMP are already in the works, with significant climber assistance expected. For more information see www.nps.gov/obed/pphtml/facts.html


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5. First meeting of the Gunks Climbers Coalition, NY
(Report by Chris Cook)

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The first meeting of the Gunks Climbers Coalition was held at Rock and now on August 3rd. About 80 climbers turned out to hear Access Fund Regional Coordinator John Myers discuss his vision for an influential and constructive organization.

As a formative meeting, Myers facilitated a discussion about the following topics: the types of laws that may or may not be preventing access to different cliffs; acquiring cliff faces from private land owners; providing insurance for cliff owners who allow access; making coalitions with other regional outdoor organizations, and learning from their successes; attempts to discuss opening more climbing at Peterskill; and camping facilities. Basically the discussion swirled around how to make the climbing community's voice heard in the changing political and economic environment. Among the attendees were representatives of the Mohonk Preserve, the American Mountaineering Center, and various guide services.

Volunteers are needed for help with data entry, fundraising, trail work, and working with various agencies on their management plans.

This is a critical time for climbing in this area as the number of visitors increases each year. Land in the area is elevating in price and strong political groups (some with anti-climbing policies) are competing with each other and private developers for control and ownership of large parts of the Shawangunks Ridge.

For more information, see http://www.climbnyc.com/home/gcc.html [//../images/virtual_times/gunksmtg.gif]

About 80 climbers turned out for the first meeting of the Gunks Climbers’ Coalition at Rock and Snow.



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6. Volunteer Wanted

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Conservation coordinator for Northern California wanted to initiate and manage volunteer conservation projects at climbing areas including trails and cleanups, Adopt-a-Crag events, distributing seasonal wildlife closure information, educational signs and brochures, and parking/sanitation installations. Experience in construction, natural resources management, project administration or volunteer supervision a plus. Work with volunteers, climbing organizations, public land managers and private landowners. Develop a prototype model for use in other regions nationwide. Requires self-starter able to work independently, motivate others and follow through to completion. If interested, email Paul Minault at pminault@earthlink.net


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7. Adopt-a-Crag Day Photo Contest

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Hey Adopt-a-Crag Day event organizers and participants! Submit photos from your event to win a pair of 5.10 approach shoes. Judges will select the winning image that best illustrates volunteerism and stewardship—the spirit of Adopt-a-Crag Day. Email your images electronically to mailto:john@accessfund.org or mail slides/photos to: The Access Fund (Attn: Photo Contest), 2475 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80304.

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[ This Message was edited by: rrradam on 2002-08-30 22:27 ]


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