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ACCESS SENDS 2013/2014

By August 11, 2014

CLIMBING AREAS

Old Baldy With support of MEC, the Alpine Club of Canada Toronto Section and numerous donors, the OAC has raised 185K towards ongoing efforts to purchase land at the base of Old Baldy Conservation Area. This purchase is vital to maintaining access to one of Ontario’s premiere climbing areas.
Devil’s Glen The OAC submitted a complete Climbing Management Proposal to the MNR and the Wasaga Beach Conservation Authority. The proposal included evacuation routes, trail maintenance, signage as well as planning for a new parking area. The report was received with positive reactions. The OAC will continue to work with the relevant parties towards finalized access to Devils Glen.
The Swamp OAC/MNR walkthroughs have begun at The Swamp within the Kolapore Uplands. Assessment of the area will include a complete Environmental Study which is being funded by the OAC. This action will ensure long-term sustainability and provide clarity towards a working access plan for The Swamp.
Niagara Glen Niagara Parks Commission has expressed that the permit system is working well and encourages boulderers to purchase their permits if they have not already done so for the 2014 season.

CLIMBING COMMUNITY

The Ontario Access Coalition hosted the second installment of our `Discussion Series’ on Saturday, November 23 at Grand River Rocks in Kitchener! Participants included the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority. The event opened positive discussions between climbers and land managers, with the goal of providing accurate, up-to-date information regarding climbing outdoors in Ontario.

Jennie Elmslie (Free Spirit Tours) and Leslie Timms (On The Rocks Climbing) organized Ontario’s first climbing festival in late August and raised $4500 for the Ontario Access Coalition! Thanks to Jennie and Leslie for their hard work and to all sponsors, particularly the major sponsors Joe Rockheads and Boulderz.

We continue to sell calendars highlighting Ontario climbing; proceeds go to the OAC to support access.

CONNECTING WITH OTHERS

Bruce Peninsula
On June 13, the OAC gave a presentation to the Bruce County Council’s Agriculture, Tourism, and Planning Committee, with the goal of educating and gaining support from the local community for climbing in the county. Bruce County contains all crags from Owen Sound to Tobermory including Lion’s Head, Cape Croker, Halfway Log Dump and others. The OAC presentation shared information about existing climbing tourism, environmental sustainability and the economic impact of climbing on local communities in the Bruce. As a result, the Bruce Peninsula now allows for the use of climbing in tourism promotion for the region, helping to ensure that climbing tourism, an important source of revenue for local communities is recognized and promoted.

Conferences
The OAC participated at this year’s Niagara Escarpment Leading Edge Conference. The Niagara Escarpment Commission hosted the conference in partnership with the Ontario Professional Planners Institute. The NEPDA (Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act) aims, in part, to provide for outdoor recreation. Stakeholders at the event included the Niagara Escarpment Commission, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario Parks, the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and Parks Canada. Presentations and panel discussions ranged from how to revitalize quarry sites to the intangible values of Escarpment lands.

“Rock climbing research and management in the 21st century: Where are we headed now?” Research roundtable discussion at the 2013 Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium, Cooperstown, New York. This was a roundtable research discussion led by OAC volunteer and Brock University Associate Professor, Garrett Hutson, to discuss best practices and challenges in climbing management. Other attendees included Dave Smaldone from West Virginia University, who is involved with cliff face research at the New River Gorge, and Aram Attarian from North Carolina State University, who is the author of climbing management literature for the Access Fund in the United States.

Public Events
The OAC had representation at the “Naturally in the Glen” public outreach day at the Niagara Glen Nature Reserve to join other recreation and naturalists groups to connect with the public and promote sustainable use of the Niagara Glen, the Reel Rock festival, and a workshop by the Ministry of Natural Resources for Boards of Directors of fundraising nonprofits.

Halton
Annual Crag Ambassador Day held in early May: OAC volunteers helped fight off the invasion of Garlic Mustard. This event, run by the OAC and Conservation Halton, improves climbers’ visibility at some of our most popular crags.

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