January 10, 2013

Introducing the 2013 Conservation Team Crew!

The Access Fund is thrilled to introduce our new Conservation Team crew for the 2013 tour—Claire Wagstaff and Eddie Wooldridge.

Eddie, a Minnesota native, and Claire, a Georgia native, most recently hail from Missoula, Montana where they worked for the Conservation Corps, leading crews across Montana and Idaho to create safe trails, maintain access to remote wilderness areas, and help to solve critical wildlife habitat challenges. Eddie&claire

Both avid climbers, Eddie and Claire are excited to begin their tour next month. “We’re both looking forward to touring the US,” says Eddie. “And we’re especially looking forward to meeting all the great folks in the climbing community who share our passion for climbing and conservation.”

The Access Fund is thrilled to bring on such an energetic couple, who are ready to expand on the legacy of sustainable stewardship projects that Jeff, Jason, and Dave started in 2011.  In addition to the standard heroic trail and rock work, Claire and Eddie will host training and education seminars at climbing gyms across the country. 

Before heading out on the road, Claire and Eddie will spend a couple of weeks at the Access Fund main office in Boulder, Colorado where they’ll work with staff and volunteers to familiarize themselves with Access Fund programs, get up to speed on current access issues across the US, and bone up on AF stewardship standards. 

Claire and Eddie’s 2013 tour will begin in February at the Hueco Rock Rodeo in Texas. From there they will move on to projects in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma, Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Arkansas, and several spots throughout the Southeast before heading to the Holy Boulders in Illinois. 

Please show Claire and Eddie some love if you see their Jeep roll into town to help improve your local climbing area!

CT Rig_compressed

January 12, 2012

Conservation Team: Life on the Road

In their first two months on the road, Dave and Jeff (aka the Conservation Team), completed eight stewardship projects from Kentucky to the California coast. Check out this short recap of their 2011 tour, and stay tuned for upcoming details on the start of their 2012 tour!

2011 Conservation Team Re-Cap from Access Fund on Vimeo.


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.

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.

November 18, 2011

Conservation Team in Bishop

Dave and Jeff hit Bishop to help the BLM restore some archeological sites damaged by campsites, then head over to do some trail restoration at the Sad Boulders approach.

Access Fund Conservation Team - Bishop from Access Fund on Vimeo.


October 19, 2011

Conservation Team Reports Back from the Red

Southern hospitality is alive and well in the Red! The feedback we received from the locals was great—everyone was very appreciative of our visit and our work. We completed a stone step project at the Solar Collector/Gold Coast approach. The project consisted of installing 15 stone steps and a stone retaining wall to replace the existing decaying wood structures. We were fortunate to find good building stone in abundance in the area, and the soils there lend themselves very well to trail work, being primarily composed of clay. We spent two long days completing the project, and overall were very pleased with the finished product. We were assisted by Matt Tackett of the RRGCC during a brief site visit in which we discussed the details of the project.

There are still a few tools that we need to acquire that would make our lives easier and our work better. I also need stronger forearms to climb in the Red. Dave's good, even without much of an index finger. So if you guys could get on that, that would be great ;).

In addition to our work at the Solar Collector/Gold Coast area we were fortunate to meet with Rick & Liz Weber, the owners of Muir Valley. Rick took us on a tour of the property, where we made an assessment of some trail work. There is an endless potential for future projects in the Red, both in the PMRP & Muir Valley. And RRGC and Rick and Liz are enthusiastic about us returning in the spring for a bigger project with more volunteer support.

We hit Rocktoberfest on Friday and Saturday nights and worked the Access Fund booth—great time. On Sunday night, we were invited to Dr. Bob Matheny's for a much appreciated post-event dinner/party.

Thanks to Bob, Matt, Rick and Liz for a memorable trip. Now on to Indian Creek!