Access Fund works hard to ensure open and protected climbing areas. Here’s how you can help.

By Fern Morales and Stacy Morales

Last month, a group of Mesa Rim staff participated in an advocacy and stewardship summit hosted by Access Fund, Patagonia, and the Bay Area Climbers Coalition. The purpose of the event was to help increase awareness of the current threat to our public lands. The summit was formed to motivate community members from around the nation to spread that awareness and inspire others to work to counteract the threats. Following are five things Mesa Rim took away from the convention and what our community can do to promote conservation and preservation.

But first . . .

What Does Access Fund Do?

This national organization is focused on the preservation and integrity of our climbing landscapes. As the sport of climbing and its popularity continues to grow, overcrowding places a huge stressor on our outdoor destinations. It threatens access and degrades the land. Access Fund is on a mission to manage all of these factors in a sustainable way through conservation, stewardship, advocacy, education, land acquisition, and local support.

Here’s how you can help:

1. Agree to the “Climbers Pact”.

When you agree to the Climber’s Pact you promise to:

  • Be considerate of other users
  • Park and camp in designated areas
  • Dispose of human waste properly
  • Stay on trails whenever possible
  • Place gear and pads on durable surfaces
  • Respect wildlife, sensitive plants, soils, and cultural resources
  • Clean up chalk and tick marks
  • Minimize group size and noise
  • Pack out all trash, crash pads, and gear
  • Learn the local ethics for the places you climb
  • Respect regulations and closures
  • Use, install, and replace bolts and fixed anchors responsibly
  • Be an upstander, not a bystander

2. Get involved with local climbing organizations.

American Alpine Club is a national organization that has an amazing San Diego Chapter and Allied Climbers of San Diego is very involved. Both organizations host fundraisers, conservation events, outdoor excursions, cleanups, etc. Become a member!

3. Participate when Mesa Rim hosts “Go Out. Give Back” or any partnered events.

“Go Out. Give Back” is Mesa Rim’s advocacy/stewardship program that involves crag clean-ups, fundraising events, and community nights and we need all the help we can get! The more volunteers we have, the more we can spread the word and educate outside of the community. Mesa Rim will team up with several organizations to promote and recruit, so keep a lookout for special events.

4. Write to your local congressman or elected official.

We must stand out and stand up against the bigger forces that threaten to endanger our public lands. Sixty percent of our beloved climbing areas sit on federally managed public lands and currently all of those areas are at risk. We must unite and fight to keep these lands clean and free for adventuring.

5. Join the Access Fund team and become a member.

Aside from the knowledge that your participation helps to preserve and protect climbing areas, Access Fund membership comes with an array of great benefits:

Remember . . .

The better we conduct ourselves while enjoying our beautiful landscapes, the smaller the footprint we leave behind. Focus on the “Leave No Trace” ethics. Enjoy your right to roam appropriately, and help others follow that path.

Fern Morales contributed to this story.

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