December 08, 2011

Jailhouse gets a makeover

~Joe Sambataro, Access Director

November 12, 2011 marked a special day in the history of Jailhouse Rock. Although I haven't logged countless hours and years underneath the impressive amphitheater, this Adopt a Crag was a special moment shared with great people. The numbers are impressive: 50 fence posts, 300 tons of gravel, 3 gates, 1/4 mile of trail work, 1/2 mile of decommissioned trail, 1 waste bag dispenser, 32 parking spaces, and 1 trailhead kiosk—all in one weekend!
Jailhouse Trail
But, those numbers are just part of the story...

In 2010, Access Fund worked with the landowners, Marta and Steve Weinstein, and a team of volunteers to secure conservation and access easements in the wake of new plans for a subdivision on part of the 1000-acre property. Over the course of last fall, after a site visit in September, I sat behind my computer drafting conservation easement language, e-mailing attorneys to request legal counsel, and mapping new parking areas on Google Earth. Twenty, fourty, eighty—the hours were adding up, but this wasn't your average Jailhouse 13b project. When all of those hours finally paid off, this time last year, the perpetual easements were recorded and we had completed the most complex land conservation project in Access Fund's 20 year history. And then the Jailhouse climbing community came together (beyond any and all expectations) to fundraise for a new access point and trailhead.

This November those dollars were put into action as 45 climbers spent the day with shovels in hand to start a new era at Jailhouse, ensuring that climbers can safely park their cars at a trailhead half the distance to the crag. The new Access Fund Conservation Team organized dozens of volunteers in its most extensive project to date. Thanks to great sponsors and Tom Addison's shwag wrangling skills, everyone walked away with a small token of appreciation.

Fence in the rain
Of special note, ranchers from Kennedy Meadows worked in concert with climbers to establish new access. With the proper gates and fences installed, hundreds of pack horses will continue to graze during the winter months while climbers kneebar their way up basalt roofs above Tulloch Lake.

Ranchers
Local climbers are largely responsible for maintaining a positive relationship with the landowners over the last two decades, and it was this foundation that made the project possible. Our collective success at Jailhouse shows that it pays to be stewards of the land and not just users.

We owe a big thank you to everyone that made it happen. I hope you enjoy the video.

Looking to log a trip to Jailhouse this season? Visit www.accessfund.org/jailhouse to learn more.