With over 60% of climbing areas on public land and millions of more climbers every year, for those of us who climb access is a huge issue. The Access Fund is one of the main organizations nationally that is working to preserve access to climbing areas and public lands.
Today, 1 in 5 climbing areas in the United States is threatened by an access issue—whether its private land lost to development, public land managers over-regulating climbing, or climber impacts degrading the environment, the list of threats is long and constantly evolving.
But they can be managed. At Access Fund, we are on a mission to protect climbing access and the integrity of America’s outdoor climbing areas.
How they do it
The Access Fund is a well rounded organization, from working with advocacy with state and national lawmakers, buying climbing areas on private land if that comes up, stewardship of climbing areas to minimize the impact of a growing number of climbers. Also, they work with private landowners, and help educate people on the impacts and benefits of climbing.
Bit of History
…in 1991, the Access Fund was formed as its own organization to represent climbers and work to keep climbing areas open. Born in the midst of the “bolt wars” era, one of the first decisions the Access Fund made was not to take sides in ethical debates, but to defend climbing in all its forms. If the climbing community, within itself wanted to say, as a matter of ethics, that people shouldn’t rap bolt in a certain area, that’s fine. But land managers and the government should not get involved in ethical debates. This is still the Access Fund’s policy today.
Current news from The Access Fund
- Climbers and Conservationists opposing a hotel on top of Mt. Washington
- Congress changing laws on BLM lands
- Our Public Lands are Under Attack
How can you get involved and why you should
First off, as you know, public lands are under attack by our public servants. Why? People with lots of money want to make more money out of it. I am not against mining, drilling, logging, ranching and other private uses of public lands – that is a huge part of land management in the US. I am against taking away review and responsibility from those who want to do it. I think public lands need to be managed with the public in mind, not just industry. Climbing areas are one part of that puzzle. These same lands that climbers use are also open to hiking, running and camping.
Get active. Join, lobby, follow, and support your fellow conservationists no matter what their specific constituency or focus. I have found the Access Fund to be ethical and thoughtful in their approach to conservation.