Monday, August 26, 2013

Protect our Climbing - Join the Access Fund

As we consider how to respond to this summer's anonymous acts committed against the trail system at Mill, there is one thing each and every one of us can do, and that's support the Access Fund. For those unfamiliar with it, the Access Fund is a national climbing advocacy organization that works on behalf of all climbers to maintain and obtain access to climbing areas. The Access Fund has been in existence since 1991. It is well-organized and has numerous resources to assist climbers whose local areas are at risk of closure, or otherwise threatened.  The Fund also supports conservation efforts, and joined with the Bitterroot Climbers Coalition and the Montana Conservation Corps for trail maintenance in Blodgette during August of last year as reported here.

As with any crisis it's easy to feel disconnected when it happens somewhere "out there." But now we are looking at a threat to our own resources and climbs in the Bitterroot. The Access Fund may very well play a significant role in our ability to keep climbing available at the North Rim in the years to come.

I just renewed my membership. I encourage everyone to consider joining, renewing, or offering some kind of support. In doing so, you well help preserve climbing both throughout the country, and here at home. A $35 annual membership, or whatever you can afford, is a step toward ensuring that the North Rim at Mill Creek continues to be a destination we can all enjoy.

Access Fund Web Site:

-Ken Turley

Friday, August 9, 2013

Big Trail Blockage

We just received word from friends hiking to the crag that a large effort has been made to obstruct the approach leading up the ridge.

For a couple of years there's been persistent removal of the cairn that marked the turn off the main hiking trail. Small branches and debris have routinely been placed across the first portion of the approach, sometimes farther up. These obstacles were easily cleared. Now the attempt or message or whatever it is has been stepped up by what seems to have been a crew of people who moved large trees and logs across the trail all the way up the ridge. From the sound of it (we've not yet seen it firsthand), it's a fairly impressive effort.

This escalation of attempts to block access to public land is unfortunate. How we'll proceed remains to be seen. For now, you should add in some extra time for the approach. Maybe some of the downfall can be cleared.

Remember also that level heads do prevail. Continue to be a good user of the area, the trails and the access roads. Keep your music down and drive slowly through the neighborhoods on the way to the trailhead. Thanks go out to all who support and enjoy the climbing at Mill.