Mount Nemo Access Update

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Conservation Halton (CH) manages climbing policy for Rattlesnake point, Mt. Nemo, Kelso, among others. These crags are home to hundreds of routes that have been enjoyed by climbers for decades.  The OAC has just received the following email from Conservation Halton regarding the installation and recent removal of fixed hardware at Mount Nemo:

“Hi guys,

This was just brought to my attention. I thought I would forward to you as there are two points here that are bothersome. One is that bolts are removed by someone and the second is the call to replace the anchors without consultation with Conservation Halton. I would really like to try and get a handle on this so that bolts are not replaced until we see Nigel’s report and discuss the recommendations that he might have. 

I am hoping that the OAC may take this matter over and bring some calming affect to this situation. Would you mind seeing what can be done from your end. 

Ron Kindt

Conservation Halton”

The OAC would like to request that the individuals involved in this matter respect the wishes of the Land Manager who is, and has been for many years, a leading supporter of climbing at some of the province’s most popular cliffs.  The OAC is meeting with CH in January and we are hopeful that a mutually agreed upon plan can be approved for the Spring.

Mount Nemo Update

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A number of members of the climbing community have contacted the OAC regarding concern over the removal of fixed protection at Mount Nemo.

Through 2011 and 2012, the OAC has worked with Conservation Halton (CH) in conducting an environmental assessment to determine a climbing anchor strategy at Mount Nemo. The strategy aims to eliminate cliff-top impact, manage mid-face impact caused by climbing, and maximize climber safety.

An ecologist from CH documented the condition of the entire cliff line managed by CH, with the help of an OAC representative. The report from this assessment, which is currently pending, will guide the development of the strategy by CH and OAC.

The OAC continues to collaborate with CH in the official process to develop a detailed anchor strategy for Mount Nemo. Once the strategy is approved, we anticipate inviting volunteer work teams to implement the strategy, and hope to enter into potential funding agreements for the cost of hardware. Modification of the cliff-top, mid-cliff or cliff-bottom environments jeopardizes the process.

The OAC remains committed to maximizing climbing opportunities while collaborating with CH to help them effectively manage their properties. CH is a leader in incorporating climbing management into the operational models that they manage.

Saturday October 27th – Kelso Cleanup!!

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On Saturday Oct 27th the McMaster Climbing Club will be helping Conservation Halton clean up the cliffs at Mt Kelso. McMaster Climbing Club would like to thank the OAC and Conservation Halton for their support in organizing this event and extend an invitation to any OAC members to join them either in the morning at Mt Kelso to help clean up or in the afternoon at Rattlesnake Point for some climbing.
Timing for the day will be as follows:
9:00 am Volunteer arrivals/registration/signing of release forms
9:30 am Clean up cliff edge and base at Kelso
12:00 pm Transport over to Rattlesnake (by personal autos)
12:30 pm Snacks/prizes/speeches
1:30 pm Climbing

Kelso re-opening delayed until October 15th, 2012

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Unfortunately Kelso will not be re-opening this weekend. The revised target date is now October 15th. Stay tuned for the latest updates.

The Kelso area manager just sent us an official update this morning. Here is what he said:

“Unfortunately we will not be able to re-open Rock Climbing this weekend. We have some work to do on the grading which is the reason for the delay. Contractors have assured me they will be able to take the fencing down on October 15th.

I apologize for the delay.

Thanks for your understanding”

NPC offers explanation of fee and waiver management plan structure at Niagara Glen

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Through the coordinated efforts of the OAC and the Niagara Parks Commission (NPC), the Niagara Glen now formally permits bouldering.  With the new establishment of a formal management plan for bouldering many in the bouldering community are questioning why they would pay for access to something that has been free for so long.  In response to these questions the OAC has reached out to the NPC and asked for clarification on the fee. The Niagara Parks Commission has provided a statement that explains the need for the fee, why boulderers and not other users pay, and how the funds collected from the fee are used:

“Bouldering Activities in the Niagara Glen

During the 1980’s, The Niagara Parks Commission moved to limit the recreational pursuit of cliff-face climbing within the Park, by restricting it to emergency and maintenance purposes only.  At the same time, the Commission continued to allow the recreational activity known as bouldering to take place.  Over the years, bouldering has increased in popularity and the Niagara Glen has become a noted world-wide bouldering site.  The need for a more formal program to oversee this activity was therefore needed to protect the physical, cultural and ecological integrity of the Parks and Niagara Glen.

Following consultations with the public, the Ontario Access Coalition (OAC) and other interested groups, new rules were developed to permit the continuation of this sport in the Niagara Glen. Annual Bouldering Permits will now be issued to encourage safe access by users, while protecting the greatest concentration of Species at Risk, which are found in Ontario within the Niagara Glen.  However, there are costs in doing so in terms of staffing, insurance, legal, monitoring, mapping and maintenance, which Niagara Parks would not otherwise experience, if it did not allow this sanctioned activity to occur.

As a self-funded agency of the Province of Ontario, The Niagara Parks Commission operates in a commercial manner with revenues raised reinvested back into the Park to support its much needed stewardship and preservation activities.  The bouldering community, by way of this new permit fee, will also be contributing to the responsible continuation of the sport and protection of the most sensitive aspects and nature of the Niagara Glen.”

Climbing in the Niagara Glen was first recorded in 1922.  After nearly 100 years of free access to Niagara Glen the recent growth of the sport has resulted in the need for change to allow bouldering to continue to grow.  In Ontario and around the world the climbing community and land managers are challenged with how to incorporate environmentally responsible activities on their land.  The OAC continues to believe climbing to be a low-impact self powered recreation opportunity.  We encourage climbers and boulderers to follow our code of ethics in promotion of Leave No Trace practices.  Please support this partnership by purchasing your annual bouldering permit at the Butterfly Conservatory this Fall/Winter; hours of operation here: http://www.niagaraparksnature.com/things-to-do/butterfly-conservatory.html

Niagara Glen official new rules announced

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Check out  http://www.niagaraparksnature.com/things-to-do/bouldering.html for the latest information on the new bouldering program at the Niagara Glen!

Details from the Niagara Parks Nature website:  Bouldering Permits will be available for purchase ($20 fee and signed waiver required) at the Niagara Glen Nature Centre (previously known as The Feather in the Glen), located at 3050 Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls, Ontario.  Permits can also be purchased at the Butterfly Conservatroy, located at 2565 Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Completed waiver forms must be signed and returned to either the Nature Centre or the Butterfly Conservatory for verification. 

Please have photo ID with you when submitting your form.

The following is a list of resources you can download relating to bouldering in the Niagara Glen:

NPC to unveil new Niagara Glen Bouldering Policy on Oct 1st

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The long awaited announcement of the Niagara Parks Commission’s (NPC) bouldering policy will be made at 10am on October 1st at the Niagara Glen Nature Centre (the building containing the new nature centre and store that is above the Glen). The OAC has provided recommendations and suggestions to the NPC over the last couple of years. Our understanding is that this will be a one year trial launch of the bouldering policy. Due to the timing of this announcement a more formal launch will also be made in the Spring when the Nature Centre reopens.

There will be a permit required to boulder in the Glen, which includes a signed liability waiver and an annual permit fee of $20. Initially waivers and permits will only be available at the Nature Centre (which will be closing for the season) and the Butterfly Conservatory (year round). The NPC is working to downloadable waiver forms on their website. The OAC still has some concerns about the specific details and implementation of the policy but the OAC is encouraged by the NPC’s willingness to both listen to our concerns and continue to work with the OAC.  The OAC is very optimistic that a mutually agreeable final plan will emerge over the next year.
We will be posting the new policy as soon as it is made public.
Please show your support for the NPC and OAC by being one of the first boulderers to purchase you permit!
Official annoucement here: http://ontarioaccesscoalition.com/downloads/Niagara-Glen-Bouldering-Advisory.doc

Updated announcement: http://ontarioaccesscoalition.com/downloads/Niagara-Glen-Bouldering-Announcement.doc

More info here: http://www.niagaraparks.com/

Additionally, the Friends of the Glen are organizing a Glen hike and clean up, for anyone interested, to coincide with this announcement.