What areas does the OAC provide access support for?
Currently the OAC works on access issues from Sault Ste Marie south to Niagara Falls. To the east the OAC covers crags up to Eastern Ontario past Kingston. The Thunder Bay area is served by the Alpine Club of Canada, Thunder Bay branch and the Ottawa area is covered by the Ottawa-Gatineau Climbers’ Access Coalition.
The OAC provides support to other Ontario access organizations in support of their access initiatives as needed. If you know of an access issue that needs attention please share it with us.
What kinds of events for climbers does the OAC host?
The OAC holds a lot of events for climbers each year in an effort to bring the climbing community together, have fun and educate climbers about access issues. In the past we have hosted film premiers, indoor climbing competitions, crag clean ups, invasive species elimination days, membership discount days at MEC and much more. Organizing events takes time. We do our best to balance the time we dedicate to event planning days versus the work we do with Land Managers to keep open and open new crags. If you are interested in helping organize events with the OAC we would love to hear from you.
Why doesn’t the OAC just buy cliffs/form a land trust organization?
We are setup to take advantage of any worthwhile land acquisition that may present itself. We have both legal and financial resources in place to assist with this action should the opportunity arise.
The majority of established climbing cliffs in Ontario are owned, operated and managed by parks, conservation authorities, or other forms of government. This is particularly true of the Niagara Escarpment due to its environmental importance. Many Ontario climbers feel that since a land trust option appears to be working in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge, that this model should be applied in Ontario. Unfortunately, cliffs owned by private land owners, that are significant enough for purchase consideration, are rare in the province.
I want to volunteer with the OAC. What kinds of volunteer opportunities are available.
The OAC is always looking for volunteers to help out. Volunteering with the OAC not only helps the climbing community but can look great on a resume. There are lots of ways you can contribute and they fall into four types: administration, event management, portfolio management and general volunteers.
In administration there is a need for qualified talent in the areas of marketing, event planning, web design, finance and legal.
For event management, we are looking for individuals to help us organize and run events such as clean-ups, social events, competitions and membership drives.
For portfolio management, we look for individuals who have account management or sales experience in long cycle opportunities that are able to manage multiple stakeholders and influencers effectively. Experience dealing with government is preferred but not required. For portfolio management we also look for the help of knowledgable locals, who understand the places, people and politics involved.
We are always appreciative of folks looking to volunteer in a general capacity. Do you have an idea for an access project that you want to tackle? Do you want to help spread the word about the OAC? Do you want to help with trail building? Do you want to help but you aren’t sure how? If you have any of these qualifications or answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions then we would love to hear from you. Please visit our volunteer page and add your name and qualifications to our volunteer list today.
What is the OAC doing to make climbing safer in Ontario?
The OAC helps make climbing safer by connecting land managers, volunteers, and the equipment needed to make climbing safe. Through OAC facilitation, nearly all of Rattlesnake Point and Buffalo Crag routes have new top rope anchors installed at the top of climbs. The OAC also facilitated a project to replace the aging hardware at Old Baldy. Between these two project hundreds of new, safe, anchors and bolts have been installed. The OAC believes that safe climbing minimizes not only risks, but also environmental impact of the climbing activity. Safe climbing opportunities are in everyone’s best interest.
How is the OAC connected to the Alpine Club of Canada?
The OAC and the ACC are both climbing organizations that accept memberships, however each organization’s goals are quite unique.
The mission of the OAC is to specifically focus on access issues in Ontario. The OAC accepts members and acts on behalf of the interests of the overall climbing community with the goal of maintaining or gaining climbing access to cliffs and boulders in Ontario.
The ACC has a broader mandate that “fosters alpine experiences, knowledge and culture; promotes responsible access; and supports excellence in alpine leadership and skills.”
The OAC began as the access committee portion of the ACC. The ACC and the OAC continue to maintain tight ties and work together closely on certain initiatives, but we are separate organizations. We strongly encourage members of each organization to consider joining the other.