Access Fund Climbing Preservation Grant

Posted on: May 5, 2011


Climbers of the Western Colorado Climbers Coalition improve trails to Mother's Buttress, in Unaweep Canyon. The WCCC is one of the recipients of the latest round of the Access Fund's Climbing Preservation Grant. [Photo] Jesse Zacher

The Access Fund recently released the first list of recipients for the 2011 Climbing Preservation Grant. Over $18,000 was given to seven different climbing and land management groups across the country. The grants are awarded twice a year to worthy individuals and grassroots organizations whose goals and mission reflect those of the Access Fund and the nearly 2.3 million climbers it represents.

Unaweep Canyon near Grand Junction, CO has seen a lot of positive change since local climbers and the Access Fund began working together in the early 90's to purchase and develop sections of the cliff line. In 2007 when the land that held the popular crag, Mother's Buttress, went up for sale the Access Fund was there to help. Through a joint effort, the Western Colorado Climbers Coalition was created and together they began the process of raising funds. By the end of last year the purchase of the cliff and access trail was complete.

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Since acquiring Mother's Buttress, there have been issues caused by a lack of parking and as a result climbers have seen over crowding on the road leading through the canyon. This year the Western Colorado Climbers Coalition received the Climbing Preservation Grant to build a parking lot and better access point to the crag. According to Jesse Zacher with the WCCC, "The awarded grant money will be the capstone to the Mother's Buttress project."

Without the help of the Access Fund, projects like this one would be almost impossible. Jesse Zacher explained how difficult it is to find enough money through local fund raising, saying that "a small climbing community in the Grand Valley struggles to get the support it needs without the assistance of the Access Fund and all of its members."

The partnership between the Access Fund and the WCCC is a perfect example of climbers' money and interests being put to good use. However, Brady Robinson, Executive Director with the Access Fund says that they have trouble every year finding enough suitable causes to award all their grant money. "We are looking to give funds to groups and individuals who are doing projects that are going to make a real impact in the climbing community." He continued by saying "I just want to encourage people to apply with worthy projects that are going to make a real difference."

Applications and guidelines are available on the Access Fund web page the deadline to apply for this year's second round of grants is July 1. Below is the complete list of recipients from the last round of awards.

Western Colorado Climbers Coalition was awarded grant money to help create and maintain parking and access in the Unaweep Canyon.

Climbers of Hueco Tanks Coalition will receive financial assistance to account for the cost of their 6th annual Helping Hands of Hueco Tanks Clean Up.

Idyllwild Climbers Alliance in association with the San Bernadino National Forest was given funds to help entice more volunteers to take part in their Annual Adopt a Crag event.

US Forest Service in the Mt. Hood National Forest along with the help of local climbers willing to volunteer their time and resources will be given funds to create a turnaround and parking lot at Bulo Point.

Rocky Mountain Field Institute will be given assistance with trail maintenance and improvement in heavily travelled areas of the Garden of the Gods.

Dishman Hills Natural Area Association will receive aid in purchasing land for a legal access point and parking area at Big Rock in eastern Washington state.

Central Oregon Rocks will be awarded funds to help promote their organization and become a bigger influence in establishing access and conservation through the local climbing community.

Sources: Brady Robinson, Executive Director of the Access Fund, Jesse Zacher, Western Colorado Climbers Coalition, Climbers of Hueco Tanks Coalition, Idyllwild Climbers Alliance, US Forest Service at Mt. Hood, Rocky Mountain Field Institute, Dishman Hills Natural Area Association, Central Oregon Rocks
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