Call for Volunteers! Access Fund Conservation Team coming to Pittsburgh 9/8-11

Call for Volunteers!

Access Fund’s Conservation Team is coming to Pittsburgh next week! Join in for multiple days of community, stewardship and climbing. Come lend a hand on Friday or Saturday for trail improvements and general crag cleanup in and around the Pittsburgh area. We need the help! Bring your gear for climbing afterwards, if you’d like! Thanks to Access Fund, ASCEND, Public Lands, and 3ROC for your support of SWPACC and help in making these events happen.
THURSDAY, SEPT. 8
ACCESS FUND + SWPACC CELEBRATION

  • 5:00-9:30 PM
  • Join us and the Access Fund Conservation Team at ASCEND South Side for an engaging night of fun, fundraising, and friends!
  • Get exciting new details about Climb Pittsburgh, hear from Access Fund and other special guests, and help support SWPACC and its mission! 

FRIDAY, SEPT. 9
STEWARDSHIP DAY 1 – TWO OPTIONS TO BE PART OF SOMETHING BIG!

  • Schoolhouse, Ohiopyle – Access trail improvements
    • 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM (Meet at 8:30 AM – Specific details will be shared via email)
    • Sign up here to volunteer so we can get a solid headcount.
  • Seldom Seen – Litter cleanup with Public Lands

SATURDAY, SEPT. 10
STEWARDSHIP DAY 2 – TWO OPTIONS TO BE PART OF SOMETHING BIG!

  • Frank Curto – Litter cleanup and other maintenance
  • Schenley – Light trail work
    • 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
    • Everyone to meet at Frank Curto at 8:30 AM
    • Some volunteers will stay at Curto; others will head over to Schenley Park, a short drive away.
    • Sign up here to volunteer.

SUNDAY, SEPT. 11
CLIMBER COFFEE AT THE ARENA

  • Join SWPACC and Access Fund for a morning meet-up of fellow climbers. Sip some coffee, learn about how to leave no trace while climbing, then test your endurance on the wall in Oakwood Park!
    • 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

MONDAY, SEPT. 12RESCHEDULED FOR SEPTEMBER 19 DUE TO WEATHER!!
EVENING MEET-UP AT THE ARENA

  • We love the Arena so much, we’re going there for a second day in a row! Keep up the good vibes from the weekend. Come hang out at Oakwood Park after work with our friends from 3ROC, and give the wall another go around.

 

 

 

3 Rivers Outdoor Company selects SWPACC as Impact Partner

We are thrilled to be 3 Rivers Outdoor Co‘s Community Impact Partner for the second half of 2022! This is a great opportunity for SWPACC to raise some much needed funding and better connect with our community members.

We were grateful to join members of the climbing community, along with 3ROC and Old Thunder Brewing for a kick-off on July 17 at the shop in Regent Square. Thank you to all who stopped by to support our work. It was great to both meet new people and see familiar faces. We are excited to begin this partnership for the next six months!

Next time you’re at 3ROC, check out the in-store tap of Old Thunder Brewing’s Stairs Ascending Pale Ale. A $5 donation to SWPACC gets you a cold one while you’re shopping.

Please join us for future events this year with 3ROC including:

  • August – Date TBA – a meetup at Seldom Seen
  • Sept. 16 –  5 Point Film Festival (raffle proceeds benefit First Waves; beer sales support SWPACC)

As details are finalized and more events are developed, we’ll add information to the SWPACC events calendar. Check back frequently to stay in the loop!

IMPORTANT: PA Game Commission announces closure of State Game Lands 51 and 138 to climbing

On April 5, 2022, the Pennsylvania Game Commission announced the closure to all rock climbing activities on State Game Lands 51 and 138 in Fayette County. The official statement indicates the reason for the closure is habitat preservation of “several rare, threatened or endangered plant and wildlife species.” Last week, upon notification of the impending announcement, the Southwestern PA Climbers Coalition (SWPACC), together with other PA Local Climbing Organizations and Access Fund, submitted a letter to the Game Commission, stressing our commitment to the conservation of wildlife, consistent with Access Fund’s Climbers Pact and “Leave No Trace” ethic, and requesting that we work together to address habitat management concerns while exploring options for maintaining climbing access. Representatives from the Game Commission received and read our letter, and we remain in communication. The Commission has nevertheless moved to implement the closure of Game Lands 51 and 138. You can read the Game Commission’s official press release here:  https://www.media.pa.gov/pages/Game-Commission-Details.aspx?newsid=537

SWPACC and other PA Local Climbing Organizations, including Eastern PA Alliance of Climbers and Southcentral PA Climbers, with the support of Access Fund, remain committed to the vision of balancing rock climbing activities with habitat conservation on State Game Lands, and will continue to work toward that goal. We ask that, in the meantime, all climbers abide by the closure and do not climb on areas located in SGL 51 and 138, the most well-known of which are Coll’s Cove, Lost Crag, The Vault, Casparis, Rob’s Knob, Fish Rocks, and Zebley Flats. We also ask that, rather than contacting the PA Game Commission or other state agencies directly at this time to express your concerns, instead please contact SWPACC at info@swpacc.org  or your local climbing organization and help us in our focused efforts to reopen our beloved climbing areas. As we have updates, we will share them on the SWPACC website and via social media. Thank you for your support and understanding.

Map of State Game Land 51

Map of State Game Land 138

Help secure access to stellar climbing areas in Maryland: write a letter!

[Okay, actually, send an email 🙂 ]


The Background

Climber at Locust Grove
Locust Grove

The area known as Locust Grove, just outside of Cumberland, Maryland has a 40-50 year history of rock climbing, albeit as a “secret crag.” Over 70 routes exist on impeccable rock, half of which are fully equipped sport routes, some reaching 100 feet high.  The majority of the routes are in the 5.9-5.10 range, but there are many excellent beginner routes also, and a handful of excellent 5.11s and 5.12s.  Less than one mile away, in an area called The Narrows, there are close to 200 additional routes (multi-pitch, trad). 

Recently, Locust Grove has been posted with “No Trespassing” signs and climbers have been told to leave the premises. 

Both locations are in close proximity to Wills Mountain State Park in Western Maryland. The park’s current boundary includes part of The Narrows but does not include Locust Grove. There is no legal access to either climbing area.

After 18 months of spearheading a campaign to find a solution to this situation, and pulling in support from the Access Fund and various regional LCOs as well as numerous levels of local and state government (most notably the the Maryland Department of Natural Resources – DNR), SWPACC has learned that the initiative is gaining great momentum. Currently, Maryland DNR is in negotiations with the owners of the rocks at Locust Grove as well as with the various owners of the access trails to The Narrows, with the hopes of extending the boundaries of Wills Mountain State Park to include all of the climbing at both areas as well as the properties necessary for access. Acquiring these lands will allow rock climbers to gain legal access to arguably the best roped climbing within 100 miles of southwestern Pennsylvania. SWPACC is also excited to share the news that as a result of all of this work, a new Local Climbing Organization called the Western Maryland Climbers Coalition (WMCC) has formed to take the lead on this campaign. 

We need your help!

In full solidarity with WMCC, SWPACC is encouraging all regional climbers to send emails to the Superintendent of the Maryland Park Service, Nita Settina, and DNR Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio sharing why these land acquisitions are important to you.  Please send one email addressed to both women: nita.settina@maryland.gov and jeannie.riccio@maryland.gov.

Given that these areas are within 100 miles of not only Pittsburgh, but also DC, Baltimore, Harrisburg and Morgantown, the opportunity for growth in tourism and a subsequent boost in the local economy is high. The proximity is fully within the reach of day trippers. Additionally, the camping accommodations at Rocky Gap State park are of such high quality, that many will begin choosing this area as a much closer option to weekend climbing getaways than Seneca and The New River Gorge that are twice the distance.

Thank you for helping SWPACC support the WMCC to re-open this incredible resource!