OAC 2020 AGM Recap

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Thank you to everyone who tuned in for our AGM last Monday!  We had great turnout, with at least 71 members tuning in.  Congratulations to Randy Kielbasiewicz, Patrick Lam, and Mike Makischuk, who have all been re-elected to the Board for another two-year term.  Randy and Mike Penney will also continue to serve as Co-Chairs of the Board.

Our meeting minutes and a summary of our Access Sends for the 2019-2020 year can be found below:

A complete recording of the meeting is available below:

Thanks everyone, we’ll see you soon!

OAC Service Award: Tony Berlier

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We’d like to present Tony Berlier with the 2020 Ontario Alliance of Climbers Service Award. As you enjoy expanded access to Ontario crags, be sure to thank Tony for his essential contributions!

Tony has been the man holding together the OAC from before its inception, serving as co-chair from 2009 through 2019. He took on a ton of unglamourous behind-the-scenes administrative work to make sure the OAC continues to exist and to advocate for access for Ontario climbers. For a long time, he welcomed us to Board meetings in his backyard and organized the meetings (which is a ton of work). Tony chaired AGMs, maintained the membership database, and emailed all members with AGM notices. He did the day-to-day financial transactions to keep the OAC running — all of the boring, but necessary, tasks. 

The final test of one’s success at a task is being able to hand it off to one’s successors, and Tony has managed to pass on essentially all of his tasks to the next generation of OAC volunteers, while giving us occasional advice. Thanks for everything Tony!

Register for the OAC Virtual AGM, and Vote in the Board of Directors Election

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Our annual board election will take place during our Virtual AGM on Monday, August 17th! Register now, and be sure to attend in order to cast your votes.

Registration is required in advance in order to keep the event secure. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. Click Here to Register.

Up for election at this year’s AGM are the following candidates:

Patrick Lam
Patrick Lam – Patrick has supported the OAC since its inception, becoming a director in 2013. One of Patrick’s main goals is to improve the lines of communication between the OAC and the climbing community. Patrick has been climbing for 8 years, 4 in Ontario. He enjoys sport, trad, multi-pitch and mountaineering.
Randy Kielbasiewicz – Randy has been part of the OAC since 2012 and Co-Chair since 2014. He has been climbing for 35 years in all seasons, enjoying all forms of climbing. Randy’s focus has been working on specific projects with land managers in the Beaver Valley and Conservation Halton.
Mike Makischuk – Mike became involved with the OAC in 2017. Working to bring the local climbing community together and educate them about what the OAC means is strongly one of Mike’s goals. Climbing for over 20 years, he brings a strong passion for all aspects of climbing from bouldering, to sport and alpine.

2019 OAC Climber Survey Open Now

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It’s that time of year again — the 2019 OAC Climber Survey is now open! This year we’re surveying climber attitudes to help inform our advocacy initiatives. Information we gather will remain confidential and anonymous, and the survey takes only 15 minutes to complete.

We have two $50 MEC gift certificates and some OAC swag to raffle off, so fill out your response today! The last day for entry submission is Sunday, July 19th. Raffle winners will be announced on August 1st.

Complete the survey here:
https://survey.ontarioallianceofclimbers.ca/2019

The Current Status of Outdoor Climbing in Ontario

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With the recent announcement of Grey Sauble Conservation Authority properties reopening for public use on June 6th, climbing areas across the province are finding themselves under varying levels of restrictions.  We’ve created a table to help the community more easily understand what crags are open for climbing. You can access the table here.  This is a living document and will be updated as permissions change. 

Please keep in mind that some smaller communities, including Grey County, have issued official requests that non-residents or seasonal visitors avoid visiting.  We’ve listed resources for the Public Health Units and municipalities that correspond with the various crags in our document — please use these to determine if there are any regional restrictions.

Currently, climbing is permitted on crown land, where access is tolerated.

Old Baldy is re-opening to visitor access on June 6, but at the time of this posting, climbing will not be a permitted activity. We are in direct communication with Grey Sauble Conservation concerning this. Please stay tuned for updates.

Climbing is still not yet permitted on Conservation Halton properties, which include Rattlesnake Point and Mount Nemo — but we are working with them to determine when we can do so safely. 

Bouldering is also not yet permitted at the Niagara Glen, but the NPCA is actively working on a plan to reintroduce it.  We hope to be able to share news of progress here soon!

We previously established a list of guidelines to help climbers decide whether to climb, and if they choose to climb, how to do so responsibly. You can access the complete list of guidelines here. A condensed version suitable for use as a poster is also available below.

If you do go out, this is an important time to make a good name for the climbing community!  Take the time to educate yourself on the best practices for climbing during this pandemic.  Remember to take care of the crag, yourselves, and others.

Please keep in mind that as our situation is constantly changing, it is important to be in the know before you go.  Stay up to date and do your research before you head out.  Please respect all government guidelines and be considerate of vulnerable communities.  Stay safe!

Guidelines for Climbing in a Pandemic Poster

An Update on Climbing in Ontario as We Move to Stage 1 of Reopening

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It’s been a week of hope and change as Ontario prepares to loosen certain COVID-19 restrictions.  Collectively we’ve worked hard to flatten the curve, enduring weeks of difficult social distancing measures and uncertainty about the future.  We’re now at a point where the province is ready to slowly begin the process of reopening, which is an exciting milestone.  What does this mean for Ontario climbers?

Crown Land may officially be accessed for recreational activity, including rock climbing where access is secure or tolerated. However, visitors must continue to respect all physical distancing recommendations.  Visitors must maintain a distance of 2 metres from other people, avoid gathering in groups of more than 5, and follow local restrictions.  Please keep in mind that some smaller communities, including Grey County, have issued official requests that non-residents or seasonal visitors avoid visiting.  Provincial enforcement officers continue to patrol Crown Land, which is managed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.  You may be questioned regarding non-essential travel.  Please strongly consider not traveling to access Crown Land if you are not a local resident.

Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves have opened for public access, but permitted activities in these spaces are still limited to walking, hiking, cycling, and birdwatching.  Climbing is not yet permitted.

Conservation Areas are independently managed by their respective Conservation Authorities.  Please check with the appropriate Conservation Authority to determine if they have opened to the public, and what their restrictions are.  Conservation Halton plans to open Mount Nemo and Rattlesnake Point in the coming week via a reservation system for all visitors, but climbing is not yet a permitted activity.  Climbing at the Niagara Glen is also not yet permitted.

We understand that things are moving quickly and it can be confusing to know where climbing is permitted.  Please adhere to all local guidelines.  Undertake research on the areas  you wish to climb at before planning your trip to ensure they are open for climbing.  Respect requests for visitors to stay away from vulnerable communities.  Be patient and wait for local crags to open up again.  If ever in doubt, please err on the side of caution and avoid putting access at risk.

We’re just as eager as you to be able to get out on real rock, but we must remember that COVID-19 poses a serious threat to health and well-being, and that the loosening of restrictions does not mean that the threat is gone.  Let’s do our best to continue preventing community transmission while enjoying the outdoors in order to maintain access!

With that in mind, we’ve established a list of guidelines to help you choose whether to climb, and if you climb, how to do so responsibly.  Please read them, and do your best to stay informed.  Be safe, be patient, and be considerate!

On Being Thoughtful During Times of Need

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A lot has happened over the course of the past week. Restaurants, bars, entertainment facilities, and climbing gyms have been closing in efforts to slow the transmission of COVID-19. It’s a time of uncertainty for everyone, and it can affect us all both physically and mentally.

Climbing, physical activity, and being outdoors are all ways to alleviate stress. With the inability to climb indoors, it’s easy to think that heading out to the crag is a safe and viable option right now.  But should we be climbing outside at this time?

We encourage everyone to be responsible and respectful of the population as a whole. Even if we feel well, we may be asymptomatic carriers and not know it. By traveling outside your hometown, you increase the risk of transmitting the disease to other communities, many of which are remote and have limited access to supplies and healthcare services. All provincial parks are now closed, as well as many other public services. Additionally, if we get injured climbing outside, we can increase the load on an already overburdened healthcare system.

Tommy Caldwell provided the Access Fund with the following quote: “I cancelled my upcoming climbing trip to the southwest, not because I think my family will get sick while we adventure in the desert, but because it’s the responsible thing to do to slow the spread and protect vulnerable people. It’s our responsibility to stay put. But it’s also a great opportunity to stay home with your family, practice low-impact living strategies, and get some fresh air.”  We’re in accordance with this line of thinking.

Many climbing destination communities are urging visitors to stay away. We ask that you consider how your actions can impact the lives of others at this time. We all want to climb, and getting some fresh air is crucial to staying both healthy and sane. But the crags aren’t going anywhere, and staying local is only a temporary sacrifice that will protect our community.

There are many resources coming out that will help us stay in top climbing shape while at home, and we’ll be sharing some tips and inspiration to keep you motivated! But for the time being, we’re willing to put the health and safety of our community before our own desires.  We hope you’ll join us.

OAC Annual General Meeting: June 26, 2017

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The OAC invites all members to partake in our 2017 annual general meeting on June 26, 2017. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions about the organization and our on-going projects in addition to sharing your input on the future direction of the OAC.

The meeting will be held at True North Climbing (75 Carl Hall Road Unit 14, Downsview Park, Toronto, ON) on Monday June 26th at 7:30 PM. Discounted climbing daypasses ($17) are available for all attendees (but not required to attend!)

To be eligible to vote at the AGM, one is required to be a member of the Ontario Access Coalition. To allow for the processing of new members, please ensure applications are submitted prior to June 9th. Please visit our membership page at https://www.ontarioallianceofclimbers.ca/join/ for further details.

The OAC is very interested in increasing its capacity by attracting new ideas, leadership, and energy. At this meeting, we will elect three members to the Board of Directors (all for a two-year term). As always, we are also looking for portfolio managers and general volunteers. While members can be nominated to the Board at the AGM, any nominations submitted by June 9th will have their profiles distributed to the membership in advance. This will facilitate a structured voting process. Interested members are encouraged to contact the OAC in advance.

Potential board members should have:
– An interest in (learning about) outdoor climbing access issues in Ontario
– A varied skill set with a self-starter attitude
– A positive, proactive team-based approach to problem solving

As a board member the individual will:
– Attend bi-monthly board meetings
– Lead projects and/or access portfolios
– Participate in developing and executing the OAC’s strategic plan

Further details will be provided to members 14 days prior to the AGM. If you do not receive notification by email, please send us a note (info@ontarioaccesscoalition.com).

OAC Annual General Meeting: June 27, 2016

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The OAC invites all members to partake in our 2016 annual general meeting on June 27, 2016. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions about the organization and our on-going projects in addition to sharing your input on the future direction of the OAC.

The meeting will be held at The Rock Oasis – Toronto (388 Carlaw Ave Suite 204, Toronto, ON) on Monday June 27th at 7:30 PM. Half price climbing for all attendees!

To be eligible to vote at the AGM, one is required to be a member of the Ontario Access Coalition. To allow for the processing of new members, please ensure applications are submitted prior to June 10th. Please visit our membership page at https://www.ontarioallianceofclimbers.ca/join/ for further details.

The OAC is very interested in increasing its capacity by attracting new ideas, leadership, and energy. At this meeting, we will elect three members to the Board of Directors (all for a two-year term). As always, we are also looking for portfolio managers and general volunteers. While members can be nominated to the Board at the AGM, any nominations submitted by June 10th will have their profiles distributed to the membership in advance. This will facilitate a structured voting process. Interested members are encouraged to contact the OAC in advance.

Potential board members should have:
– An interest in (learning about) outdoor climbing access issues in Ontario
– A varied skill set with a self-starter attitude
– A positive, proactive team-based approach to problem solving

As a board member the individual will:
– Attend bi-monthly board meetings
– Lead projects and/or access portfolios
– Participate in developing and executing the OAC’s strategic goals

Further details will be provided to members 14 days prior to the AGM. If you do not receive notification by email, please send us a note ( info@ontarioaccesscoalition.com ).

Get Your 2015 ‘Ontario Crags’ Calendar Today!

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Peter on Naked Soul The OAC’s ‘Ontario Crags’ calendar for 2015 is now available at Mountain Equipment Coop in Toronto, Barrie, Burlington, aaaaand Ottawa! Highlighting the amazing beauty and variety of climbing in Ontario throughout the seasons, the calendar makes a great gift for any climber on your list or for yourself, and helps support the OAC in the process! Thanks to all the talented and generous photographers & climbers who donated to this annual project, and to you for your purchase!

Above: January photo of Peter Hoang on ‘Naked Soul’ at Papineau Lake, by Bojan Uzicanin