Community Committee Meeting: Monday 12/6/21 7-8pm EST

The next community committee meeting will be open to the general public; please feel free to drop in and invite some friends!

Meeting link: meet.jit.si/swpacc-community-committee

Meeting topics:

  • Setting committee goals for 2022
    • Sketching out a committee budget
    • Identifying a chair/co-chair for 2022
  • Ongoing project updates
    • Merchandise
    • Spring climbing comp
  • New projects
    • Used gear redistribution

–Vincent, interim committee chair

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!

 

Fall 2021 Access + Stewardship Committee Updates

Many hands…


On August 28 seven members of the SWPACC Access and Stewardship Committee installed 16 mechanical and 14 glue-in bolts, using all stainless steel bolts to replace rusted bolts across 10 different routes in the main climbing area of Breakneck. The Committee also recommended and the board approved purchasing a drill for SWPACC which enabled to replacement at breakneck and will facilitate future projects.

SWPACC has formally agreed to a lease with the owner of the parking lot for Breakneck which included repairing the parking area. In addition to the Breakneck parking area we are also working on other low cost leases related to securing access to climbing areas.

The last area of focus for access is publishing information about areas where access is already secured but there is no public awareness. Multiple other areas have been initially added to Mountain Project and we’re working to continue to flesh out those pages. In addition we’re finalizing a map similar to Lost Crag for a top rope and trad area and also evaluating other climbing areas for bolts that need to be replaced.

rusty bolts

 

Group of rebolting volunteers at Breakneck

Fall 2021 Governance Committee Updates

Building the foundation

Over the past several months, the SWPACC Governance Committee has been hard at work with the behind-the-scenes functioning of our growing local climbing organization. With the new committees being formed in the past year, the Governance Committee has facilitated the smooth transition from a club that was primarily governed by a board of directors to a member-led organization with shared roles and responsibilities at the committee level. Most recently, we put together SWPACC’s second annual election meeting and successfully had SWPACC members elect three new board members, as well as re-elect some experienced members. Being on the Governance Committee is a great way to get involved with big-picture climbing issues and a great way to get experience leading a community organization! We’re always looking for more dedicated volunteers so check us out at our next committee meeting!

Fall 2021 Update from the Community Committee

Bringing the climbing community together


The community committee has been tabling at a couple of events around the city, ordered new blaze orange merch to be stocked in our shop later this season, and met with cross-state LCOs to discuss JEDI issues at large.

Some upcoming projects we’re looking to take on include hosting a bouldering competition in the spring, a used shoe collection and redistribution  program to help lower the financial barriers to access for new climbers, and generally building more connections across present and future climbers in the region.

The community committee is still looking for a chair; please contact Vincent (interim chair) if you’re interested in chairing this committee, or helping out with any of our projects!