A Study on the Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Outdoor Recreation Participation

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Brock University has teamed up with ALIVE Outdoors to study the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on Canadian outdoor recreation participation patterns. Study participants are asked to complete a survey which takes about 15-20 minutes to complete and focuses on how outdoor recreation affects their physical, emotional and overall health. It’s an opportunity to provide land managers and outdoor recreation service providers with information about the impacts of the recent recreation area closures. It will also provide insight into how outdoor enthusiasts feel about the reopening (or not) of these spaces.

The survey is only open until the 15th of May. If you have the time, please fill it out to ensure all outdoor recreationists are represented. This is your opportunity to tell land managers how much you value the outdoors!

Participate in the study here: https://brock.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_2nP3retfFIYnuWp

Ontario Parks begin to open for walk-through access

By | Uncategorized | One Comment

With cautious optimism, Ontario is set to open Provincial Parks and conservation reserves starting this week. This is exciting news, as the ability to enjoy the outdoors is vital to both physical and mental health!

It is important to remember that recreational activities will be limited to walking, hiking, biking and birdwatching. Climbing is currently not a permitted activity. Park usage will be monitored to ensure proper physical distancing protocols are being followed, and we need to respect the situation to prevent these spaces from closing to visitors again.

For more information and to determine if parks near you are open, see http://www.ontarioparks.com/covid19

Conservation Areas on the other hand, such as Rattlesnake Point and Mount Nemo, are individually owned or protected by Conservation Authorities. They are not operated by the provincial government, and will not be opening with the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves.

Each individual Conservation Authority will determine when, and under what circumstances, their Conservation Areas will open to the public. So far, climbing is not permitted at any Conservation Area. The full list of Ontario Conservation Authorities can be found here https://conservationontario.ca/conservation-authorities/find-a-conservation-authority/.

We are working directly with land managers at the various crags, and will update the community whenever there are changes. For now, we must respect our relationships with the land managers in order to not create long lasting access issues.

Thank you for your patience and continued support!

Virtual Town Hall Recap – April 28, 2020

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

We want to give a sincere thank you to everyone who joined us for the meeting! We had 139 people tune in, and enjoyed a very thoughtful discussion about how the current pandemic is affecting the province. We are grateful to have such an invested and supportive community from all over Ontario.

Some key takeaways:

Please do not climb outdoors.

Climbing outside in Ontario is subject to restrictions by multiple levels of government. Any green spaces which are not explicitly closed to the public are open for walkthrough access only. This applies to all green spaces, including crown land and crags which normally do not have open access. Climbing is not considered walkthrough access, as it involves staying in one place for an extended period of time and touching shared surfaces. Please see here for more details.

Choosing to climb when it is not permitted by your local government may result in climbing being banned.

Green spaces are being patrolled, and you are liable to be ticketed for not following the rules. If the climbing community develops a bad reputation now, we may lose access permanently to some of our favourite crags.

We have a responsibility to keep each other informed about best practices.

The OAC is not a governing body. We are not here to enforce restrictions, but to educate. We believe that if a climber is informed about the impacts of their actions, they will make safe and responsible decisions. If you are aware of climbers who are not adhering to current restrictions and regulations, we recommend having an open and respectful discussion. Some people may not be aware of how the rules apply to smaller communities or certain lands. As provincial restrictions exist in addition to federal ones, it can be confusing to understand why Ontario is under a different set of sanctions than other provinces or territories. Approaching the topic with empathy will go a long way.

We will follow federal, provincial, and local legislation as things change.

The best thing we can do right now is to stay informed. As provincial guidelines are updated, we will do our best to communicate changes with the climbing community. The ways in which we are able to enjoy the outdoors will most likely change, and we will have to adapt our best practices to local regulations. We’re watching the situation closely and will let you know the second you can get out there!

Please feel free to reach out to us at any time if you have questions about climbing access, at info@ontarioallianceofclimbers.ca.

A complete recording of the meeting is available below:

Update on Summer 2020 Events

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

We hope everyone is staying safe, healthy, and sane these days! Unfortunately, with the extensions of the state of emergency due to the spread of COVID-19, it has become clear that we will not be able to safely host any group events this summer. This means that both the Rattlesnake Spring Fling and the Beaver Valley Climbing Festival are canceled for the 2020 season. As the Bruce Peninsula National Park is closed, our Halfway Log Dump volunteering opportunities are also on hold. We’re just as bummed as you are, and deeply missing connecting out on real rock. But we’re looking forward to more meaningful celebrations next summer!

To discuss this news and other ways in which climbing is being affected in Ontario at this moment, please join our Virtual Town Hall this Tuesday at 7PM! Click here to register ahead of time — registered attendees will receive the link to the meeting by email.

Virtual Town Hall Announcement

By | Uncategorized | No Comments
Photo courtesy of William Tam

Mark your calendar for the OAC’s first ever Virtual Town Hall!

Next Tuesday, we’ll be discussing how the ongoing pandemic is affecting climbing in Ontario, and what we as climbers can do. If you have any questions about the safety of climbing during this time, or how our actions will affect the future of access at our local crags, this is your chance to speak face to face with us.

Can’t make the meeting, but want a certain topic addressed? Send questions ahead of time to info@ontarioallianceofclimbers.ca. We’ll post a summary of the event afterwards.

—————————————————-

Meeting Details for the Zoom Webinar:
When: Apr 28, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: OAC Town Hall: Covid-19 & Climbing Access

Register in advance for this webinar:
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_xixLz5VlSNWzaGp66GMRlw

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Real Talk

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Hey guys, time for some serious talk. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic, which is putting our community at risk. The provincial and federal governments have asked everyone to stay home, avoid non-essential travel, and practice social distancing. Provincial parks are closed to ALL visitors. The COVID-19 regulations mean that activities such as climbing outdoors are *not* permitted, anywhere.

We are very fortunate to have many climbing crags throughout Ontario which welcome our sport — but our continued access is a privilege, not a right. Our relationships with landowners are built upon trust and respect. If we fail to respect the current pleas to stay home, our access may be taken away, and certain crags may ban climbing altogether. Please stay local to get your exercise — go for a walk or a run around the block. Help ensure that once sanctions are lifted, climbing outdoors is something that we’re able to return to. Keep climbing open, and encourage your friends to do the same.

Stay Focused and Fit With the Ontario Climbing Community

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

We may not be able to enjoy climbing outdoors or even in gyms at the moment, but there are many resources for staying fit at home available at your fingertips!  Keeping active is vital not only for your sanity, but also to ensure your body stays healthy so your immune system is ready to respond.  We’d like to take this opportunity to share what gyms all across Ontario are doing to help the climbing community at this time.  We might be stuck at home and physically distanced, but we’re all in this together.

Check out these resources and see what fits into your schedule.  Stay healthy, stay strong, stay happy!

On Being Thoughtful During Times of Need

By | News, Uncategorized | No Comments

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.

Fall 2019 Newsletter

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Ontario’s Healthy Parks, Healthy People SurveyNov. 25th Deadline
The Province of Ontario is collecting public feedback on how they can improve access to and raise awareness of nature’s health benefits. Part of Ontario’s Healthy Parks, Healthy People initiative, the deadline for submitting feedback is Nov. 25th, 2019. As someone who visits our provincial parks, the province wants your feedback. Let them know what rock and ice climbing means to you, in your own words. Let them know if you’d like to see more Ontario Parks opened up for climbing activities. 

Submit Your Feedback

Access Updates: Campden & Halton
On November 8th, OAC volunteers hosted the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) for a chilly but sunny day of climbing at Rattlesnake. It was a great chance for the NPCA to learn about climbing and the potential for sustainable climbing in areas like Cave Springs (aka Campden).On November 15th, Halton Conservation hosted a meeting attended by Randy Kielbasiewicz and Mike Makischuk of the OAC, Burlington Fire and the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.  Topics included an updated evacuation plan for Mount Nemo created by the Burlington Fire representative, climbing access to the currently closed Campden Crag, and discussions regarding climbing at Conservation Halton Properties. 

OAC 2020 Calendar
The 2020 OAC Calendar has been printed & will be available in a MEC near you in just a few weeks. The calendar makes a great gift and all funds go towards projects like the Rattlesnake bolting project. Stay tuned for more details soon!

A special thank you to Dennis Barnes, Jessica Best and Bonnie De Bruijn for coordinating the calendar creation & to all of the photographers that submitted their beautiful photos!

There’s more to outdoor climbing than just roping up. 
We all have a role to play in keeping climbing access open to all of our favourite crags in Ontario.

If you’re already a lifetime member, thank you for your support! We’d like to ask you to consider a donation to further our work with the community and on the frontlines of climbing access.Make a donation to support Ontario crags and climbing

If you aren’t a member, please join us! We work hard to advocate for climbing and are on the ground keeping access open to over 1500 routes and boulders in Ontario. A lifetime membership is only $5, but getting in our good books is priceless.
Become a lifetime member

Member Exclusive: Giveaway Alert!
Win tickets to see National Geographic Live Mark Synnott: Life on the Vertical at Roy Thomson Hall on Sunday, Nov. 24th at 7pm. See the big wall rock-climber of the highest order. He’s made legendary first ascents of some of the world’s tallest, most forbidding walls, from Baffin Island to Pakistan. Today, he uses his skills to break scientific ground, reaching incredibly inaccessible environments in search of rare species. It’s all in the spirit of adventure and exploration to educate about these sites of strange, remote beauty.

The first 5 OAC members to email info@ontarioallianceofclimbers.ca by 1:30pm on Friday. Nov. 22nd. will each get a pair of tickets for this weekend’s show! Use “NGL Tickets” in your email subject line! 

Join Us at Reel Rock 14Dec. 3rd
Join the OAC for Reel Rock 14, hosted by True North Climbing. You can catch this exciting lineup of films at the Ted Rogers Hot Docs Cinema on December 3rd. The first showing is at 7pm and, by popular demand, a second show has been added at 9:45pm.Want to get in touch with us? Maybe you have a question about something you read here. Or maybe you’re at the crag and need a little extra support on how to minimize your impact. Email us at info@ontarioallianceofclimbers.ca; we’re here to help!

Submit your photos for the 2020 Ontario Crags Calendar!

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Dear amateur and professional photographers, have you ever wanted to see your work published and hung on walls? We are putting together our annual Ontario Crags calendar and we need your help! Please consider donating a photo to help raise awareness and funds in support of the Ontario Access Coalition.

Mark Masley at Lions Head by Jessica Best

The Ontario Crags calendar aims to celebrate and highlight the wide variety of climbing that Ontario has to offer. We want to showcase everything from as many different crags and seasons as possible — ICE, SPORT, TRAD and BOULDERING are all honoured here. Valid photo submissions must have LANDSCAPE orientation (i.e. horizontal), and be of climbers at Ontario crags only (of course!).

Andriy Kolos on Triple S by Pete Hoang

Please send your best shots to submissions@ontarioaccesscoalition.com by SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6th for a chance to have your photo featured and credited in the calendar! Chosen entrants will get a free copy of the 2020 calendar as well as a credit complete with your name and website.

Please see additional rules of submission here:

Thanks in advance for your efforts to support the OAC!