PHOTO CONTEST: 2015 ONTARIO CRAGS CALENDAR

The OAC is calling on photographers to submit their best photos of Ontario crags for the annual Ontario Crags Calendar!

Amateur and professional photographers will have a chance to be featured in the 2015 calendar and win a rope! To enter the OAC 2015 calendar photo contest, post your best photos on the Ontario Access Coalition Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ontario.climbing) or on Twitter (@OACclimbing) by Sept. 24, 2014. All Facebook and Twitter entries should include the hashtag #OACcalendar.

Please submit photos with landscape orientation (i.e. horizontal) and of climbers at Ontario crags. We aim to highlight the wide variety of climbing that Ontario has to offer, i.e. ICE, SPORT, TRAD and BOULDERING and as many different crags and different times of year as possible.

Submit your photos before Sept. 24 to be eligible to win. Three finalists will be chosen by the OAC board of directors for an online public vote. From Sept. 24 to Oct. 1, OAC followers will be invited to “like” their favourite photo in an online Facebook gallery; the photo with the most likes will be awarded the grand prize.

All photo submissions will be considered for the 2015 Ontario Crags Calendar. If yours is selected, it will be credited and you will be gifted a free 2015 calendar!

Share your photos and help raise awareness and funds in support of the Ontario Access Coalition!

Click OAC 2015 Calendar Photo Contest Rules for contest’s official rules.

ACCESS SENDS 2013/2014

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.

OAC-AGM-2014

Halfway Log Dump Site Hosts 2014 – Volunteers Needed

Another great season of bouldering at Halfway Log Dump is here. So many people are asking how they can help the OAC keep crags open – well, this is your chance to help!

The OAC and Bruce Peninsula National Park are looking for help from the climbing community in the form of volunteer weekend Site Hosts. Site Hosts, like a Camp host, act as stewards or Caretakers for the area during their time volunteering. The Site Host program has been a huge success since the launch in 2010, so the OAC and the Park are looking again for volunteers for 2014. If you want to help access efforts and become a Site Host for a weekend, click HERE to fill in the volunteer application.

The guide for Halfway Log Dump is available for FREE from the OAC. If you download this guide we hope that you will take the time to become an OAC member, or make a donation if you are already a member. Click HERE to download the “HWLD Interpretive Bouldering guidebook” .

What does a Site Host do?
Site hosts act as ambassadors for Halfway Log Dump while they volunteer. They ensure everyone is having a good time, communicate the rules that are in place, point out the endangered Lakeside Daisy, explain bouldering to curious tourists and, of course, know all the beta on every problem.;) These honoured volunteers will receive free camping!!! (as available), luxurious pre-paid parking ($11.70 per day), and free volunteer apparel. This is all courtesy of Bruce Peninsula National Park. A thanks to those of you who volunteer from your fellow climbers for stepping up to help out the sport you love!

Who makes a good site host? If you like to boulder outside, can get yourself to the Bruce Peninsula, and are interested in helping access in Ontario, you would be a great site host!

I would like to help, but I have never been to Halfway Log Dump. Can I still volunteer as a site host?

It might be your first visit or your hundred and first visit to Halfway Log Dump. This honour is still open to you. We can tell you what you need to know. It’s not hard. You can put it on your resume and land that promotion you’ve been after.

Yeah, but, if I go there I want to focus on climbing

The time commitment of site host at the boulders is minimal and can easily be incorporated into a regular day at the crag. You will be walking by other boulderers and they will be walking by you. In talking to other boulderers, you may discover that they know something you don’t about the latest lines, new beta, local weather, best dining, local plants, or a shortcut home.

OAC Annual General Meeting: June 23, 2014

The OAC invites all members to partake in our 2014 annual general meeting. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions and have your input on the future direction of the OAC.

The meeting will be held at The Hub Climbing Gym (165 McIntosh Dr, Markham) on Monday June 23th at 8 PM.

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 5th. Please visit our membership page at www.ontarioaccesscoalition.com/join for further details.

The OAC is very interested in increasing its capacity right now by attracting new ideas, leadership, and energy. At this meeting, we will elect four members to the Board of Directors (three for a two-year term and one for a one-year term). As always, we are also looking for portfolio managers and event volunteers. While members can be nominated to the Board at the AGM, any nominations submitted by June 5th 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.

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).

2014 Crag Stewardship Day

With the much-anticipated arrival of spring, the OAC once again invites supporters to come to its annual Crag Stewardship day held in conjunction with Conservation Halton. On Saturday, May 10th, we will help preserve the environment at one of Ontario’s most popular crags, Rattlesnake Point. As in previous years, climbers of all abilities have a chance to give back to one of our biggest supporters, Conservation Halton, by helping remove the invasive (yet edible) species, garlic mustard. Bring gardening gloves!

Please join us for one of the OAC’s signature outdoor events at 9AM at the Upper Pavilion on May 10, rain or shine. Conservation Halton will provide free entry to Rattlesnake Point for volunteers, and the OAC will provide a BBQ lunch and prize draws as usual. Following the lunch, you may choose to refamiliarize yourself with the cliffs at Rattlesnake Point and Buffalo Crag.

Volunteer with the OAC

Spring is always closer than you think. It’ll be time to put away the ice tools and get ready for the rock!

In the meantime, the OAC is looking to expand its team of dedicated volunteers working towards improved access to crags. Here are some of the roles that we are looking to fill.

Event Coordinator: Crag Ambassador Day at Conservation Halton

Our annual Crag Ambassador Day is coming up in early May. OAC volunteers will continue our commitment to help fight off the invasion of Garlic Mustard. The OAC will provide a BBQ and the rocks will be there for climbing in the afternoon.

This event, run by the OAC and Conservation Halton, improves climbers’ visibility at some of our most popular crags. The OAC is looking for you, an enthusiastic and dedicated volunteer, to lead the organization of this event. This role is great for anyone looking to build their resume and will require an estimated 24 hours effort prior to and including the event.

Volunteer Coordinator

We are also looking for someone to coordinate volunteers’ efforts. This person would develop a volunteer recruitment plan, identify and engage potential volunteers, track volunteer contributions, and generally support the efforts of our volunteers.

Apply Now!

We’d love to have you on our team by March 7. Write to us with your interests and skills (either for the above two positions, or any other task that you might be interested in) at volunteer@ontarioaccesscoalition.com. Together, we’ll figure out how you can best help.

Also, while we have your attention: Please fill out the 2013 OAC Climbers’ Survey (click here)!

2013 Climbers’ Survey

Now that it’s 2014, we would love to hear about your climbing experiences from last year. CLICK HERE to take the 2013 OAC Survey

By completing the survey you are helping climbing access in the province. The information you provide is used in aggregate to assist the OAC in representing climbers when asking Land Managers to consider how to balance preservation and recreation. Survey data collected on this survey will be kept strictly confidential and the entire survey should take you about five minutes to complete. Your participation is greatly appreciated. Climb safe and tread lightly.

Old Baldy Fundraising Update

The OAC is pleased to share progress on efforts to purchase Old Baldy. We have reached the 150k milestone towards permanently securing access to sustainable climbing.

We are deeply thankful to our generous donors. Thanks to them, we are confident that we will succeed in raising the money needed to acquire land at Old Baldy.

Our corporate donors are:

We are also grateful to our individual donors, who are instrumental in demonstrating broad community support for this acquisition.  Gus Alexandropoulos organized an effort to collect money through the ontarioclimbing.com forum and raised $8,000 for us. The following people have demonstrated their support for Old Baldy and the OAC by donating at least $100:

Cam Bordignon
Aaron Brouwers
Dave Brown
Marcus Brubaker
Eli Cadesky
Ken Chase (Heavy Computing)
Daniel D’Angelo
Richard English
David Gibbs
Matthew Hill
Ben Iseman
Patrick Lam
Aldo Lopez-Negrete
Trevor Kenopic
Randy Kielbasiewicz
Stu Menzies
Mike Penney
Mugurel Sandu
Adrienne Tam
Malen Vidler

The following donors contributed directly to the OAC:
Jeremy Haak
Colton Homewood
Kacy Wilson

Please consider donating to the Old Baldy initiative; you can do so directly at our donations page.

Don’t Forget Your 2014 Ontario Crags Calendar!

8.DSC4715 This is a quick reminder to visit your local Mountain Equipment Coop (Barrie, Burlington, Toronto) and buy an OAC “Ontario Crags” 2014 calendar while supplies last. It’s the gift that keeps on giving in monthly doses of inspiration! And your purchase is a great way to support the OAC! Calendars will be available in stores until December 31st, 2013.

Discussion Series 2.0 at GRR Saturday November 23rd

The Ontario Access Coalition is proud to host the second installment of our ‘Discussion Series’ on Saturday, November 23 at Grand River Rocks in Kitchener! This all-afternoon event will facilitate open discussions between climbers and land managers, with the goal of providing accurate, up-to-date information regarding climbing outdoors in Ontario.

As well, come witness a historic moment for Ontario climbing access. The OAC and MEC will be signing a contribution agreement confirming MEC’s intention to donate $100,000 towards the acquisition of land permitting access to Old Baldy, one of Ontario’s premier climbing areas!

Ask questions, socialize and climb, and learn more about climbing access from the OAC and land managers themselves. Also, learn more about local tri-city University climbing and bouldering clubs, competitions and world class Ontario climbing areas like the Niagara Glen. Discounted day passes, slideshows and fun gear giveaways from the OAC, MEC and Adventure Guide make this a great way to spend a Saturday in late November!

Join the discussion with the OAC this Saturday, November 23 from 2-6pm in Kitchener at Grand River Rocks and spread the word on by sharing the event with your climbing friends: https://www.facebook.com/events/199919373525062