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Access Fund Announces Second Round of Climbing Preservation Grants


by Editor

May 01, 2001

Camp4 - Climbing News Archive

The Access Fund recently announced the recipients of its second Climbing Preservation Grants cycle for 2001. Awarded four times each year, Climbing Preservation Grants provide financial assistance for projects that preserve or enhance climbing opportunities and conserve the climbing environment in the United States. Grants approved for this cycle totaled $19,000 and were distributed to support four separate projects by local climbing organizations, public agencies, and conservation groups. Support of important land acquisition campaigns featured prominently in this grants cycle.

"Support of these important projects will have a direct impact upon climbing access and protecting the natural environment at popular climbing and wilderness areas," said Access Fund Conservation Director Kath Pyke. "This program continues to grow thanks to the generosity of our members and corporate partners, and the valuable work completed by past grant recipients."

The following grants were awarded:

$5,000 was awarded to the Ouray Ice Park to replace the original, aging pipe system that supplies water to make the Park's unique and world-renowned ice climbs. This grant covers nearly 25% of the total project budget and will support the local climbing organization headed by Mike Gibbs and the Ouray City Council in their efforts to keep the park open to host over 5,000 climber-days each winter. It will also allow an extension of the ice park to create additional routes.

Intermittent water supply over the past two years has threatened the viability of the facility and threatened it from opening at all for the winter 2001/02 season. The increased efficiency of the new system is estimated to reduce the total volume of water used to create the climbs by 75%.

The Ice Park serves as a major winter tourism attraction and draws traveling climbers and sightseeing tourists from around the world. Ouray City Councilwoman Barbara Uhles elaborated upon its importance recently, "The Ice Park contributes significantly to Ouray's winter economy, and the City has worked closely with the board of the park to increase its attractiveness. "

$5,000 to the Eagle Valley Land Trust towards their campaign to acquire two lots beneath the East Vail waterfall known to climbers as "Pitkin Falls." The area is located 1/2 mile from the East Vail Interchange and supports a 100-foot, grade IV icefall. Although featured in the Colorado Ice Climbers Guide, access to the falls has been problematic since parking and gaining access to the falls crossed private land. Acquisition of this area will ensure public access to the waterfall, and a conservation easement through the Town of Vail, a large contributor to the campaign, will allow for a small parking area.

According to the Eagle Valley Land Trust, "The two lots we will purchase are a valuable scenic and recreational amenity for nearby homeowners, the Town of Vail, and more than a few ice climbers. The ice climbing in Vail is some of the best in the state. Our purchase will ensure public access to the waterfall and keep a unique and scenic property undeveloped."

$5,000 to Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation towards their fund-raising efforts to acquire Black Mountain, a 528-acre parcel threatened by development located at the southern end of the Cumberland Mountains. This popular area hosts good bouldering and 100-foot sandstone cliffs with spectacular views of the Tennessee Valley and Smoky Mountains. The campaign has received support from local climbing and recreation groups such as the Southeastern Climbers Coalition and the Cumberland Trail Conference, a partner in the acquisition. If successful, it will allow the transfer of the land to Tennessee State Parks, which will be managed in perpetuity for recreation and conservation.

$4,000 to the University of Arizona towards a two-year post-graduate study through the Department of Renewable Natural Resources. The study, carried out by Erik Murdock, will model and inventory rock climber use in Wilderness areas. Data collected will allow researchers to create a model that can be adjusted to predict the implications of changes in Wilderness policy. Although the study will be carried out in California and Arizona wilderness areas, the data set and model will have application at other areas. This project supports the Access Fund's work in climbing management and resource protection.

News courtesy of The Access Fund.

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