Access Sends for 2017-2018 and Survey Results

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The Ontario Access Coalition 2018 Annual General Meeting was held on June 28, 2018. Thanks to Joe Rockhead’s for hosting.

Read about the OAC’s access sends for 2017-2018 and the survey results here:

2017-2018 Access Sends and 2017 Survey Results [pdf]

Here are the highlights from the access sends:

CLIMBING AREAS

  • New Niagara Glen portfolio manager
  • Halfway Log Dump partnership continues

CLIMBING COMMUNITY

  • Organized climber events:
    • Beaver Valley Climbing Festival
    • Southern Ontario Ice Fest
    • screening of​ “Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey”
  • Deployed new OAC website
  • Growing the OAC Facebook page
  • Hiring a Fundraising and Outreach Coordinator

CONNECTING WITH OTHERS

  • Organized community events:
    • Niagara Glen Earth day
    • Crag Stewardship Day (Conservation Halton)
  • Participated in:
    • Ontario Trails Coordinating Committee>
    • Building the Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Reserve
    • Centre for Applied Science in Protected Areas Conference Presentation and Tour of the Swamp

We welcome new board member Mike Makischuk and returning board members Randy Kielbasiewicz and Patrick Lam, and look forward to a productive 2018-2019 year continuing to advocate for climbing access in Ontario!

Spring 2018 Newsletter

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In the first episode of the OAC newsletter for 2018 we cover:

Recruiting a Fundraising & Outreach Coordinator (paid contract position)

For the first time in the OAC’s history, and with the support of MEC, we are looking to hire someone to help us advocate for climbing access in Ontario. Our Fundraising & Outreach Coordinator will primarily develop sponsorship and business relationships with OAC stakeholders and participate in community outreach. The OAC has always been a volunteer-based organization, but as our role in the climbing community has grown and we’ve become more established, we have recognized the need to have a member dedicated to ensuring our continued success.  The ideal candidate is proactive, organized, and detail-oriented with an entrepreneurial mindset. This is a contract position. For more information, see the job posting at https://www.ontarioaccesscoalition.com/climbers/careers/. For full consideration, apply by May 11. We look forward to working with the successful candidate!

Successful Movie Night: Dirtbag

A sold-out crowd enjoyed our April 11 screening of Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey. Thanks to everyone for coming, Mike Makischuk for organizing the event, and our sponsors (MEC, Arc’teryx, Patagonia, Boulderz, Gripped Magazine, and DMM) for supporting the event. Together, we raised over $3000 to support Ontario climbing access. We hope to see you at similar events for future climbing films.

Beaver Valley Climbing Festival & Logo Competition

Mark your calendars now: this year’s Beaver Valley Festival is going down July 20-22nd!  Join us up at the Rob Roy Dogsled Farm again as we celebrate climbing in Ontario with the year’s biggest party, headlined once again by Ariana Gillis.  Food, raffles, clinics, and an all around good time are to be had—in addition to some fantastic climbing of course!

We’re also holding a contest to redesign the Beaver Valley Festival logo. The winner will receive free admission to the festival for TWO—so you can bring your belayer!  The submission deadline will be May 21st. More details to come soon.

Crag Stewardship Event at Rattlesnake Point

Coming this Saturday, May 5: our annual Crag Stewardship Event at Rattlesnake Point. This is your chance to give back to the climbing community and help keep Ontario free of invasive species. Climbers’ past efforts have greatly reduced the amount of garlic mustard, an invasive species, around this climbing area. We hope you can join us to celebrate Earth Day. We’ll be providing a BBQ lunch, and the cliffs will be available all afternoon for climbing. For more information: https://ontarioaccesscoalition.com/climbers/events/garlic-mustard-pull-2018/

Upcoming Events

May 5: Crag Stewardship Event with Conservation Halton at Rattlesnake Point

June 21: OAC Annual General Meeting, location to be determined

July 20-22: Beaver Valley Climbing Festival

 

No New Routing at Mount Nemo

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On April 19, 2018, the OAC met with the Halton Region Conservation Authority (Conservation Halton) to discuss mutually beneficial opportunities. We plan to share more details of this meeting soon.

The recent new route activity at Mount Nemo is a concern. Please respect the existing policy on the development of new climbing routes at Mount Nemo:

No New Routes may be developed at Mount Nemo Conservation Area.

This includes both traditional and bolted sport climbs. No cleaning or removal of cliff face foliage will be tolerated under any circumstances. Please limit erosion at the base of the cliff by climbing in small parties and keeping as close to the cliff face as reasonable in talus-free areas. Climbing on Conservation Halton land is a privilege and not a right. By working with Conservation Halton and acting as stewards of these fantastic areas, we can maintain our climbing access to them.

We encourage climbers to respect the OAC code of ethics: https://www.ontarioaccesscoalition.com/our-story/code-of-ethics/

Seeking Halfway Log Dump site hosts for 2018!

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Are you an Ontario boulderer who enjoys getting on real rock? We need volunteers to act as site hosts at Halfway Log Dump this summer!

As site host, you’ll act as a crag steward for climbers visiting the area, and be there to explain the joys of climbing to curious tourists. This role is vital to maintaining a strong, positive presence at HWLD, and ensures that we can keep sending there for years to come.

For more details and to apply for the position, see our full Site Host page:

https://www.ontarioaccesscoalition.com/volunteers/halfway-log-dump-site-host/

or just go directly to the form at:

Halfway Log Dump 2018 Site Host Application

Bow Lake Access Update

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Recently, climbers at Bow Lake have reported possible access issues. No Trespassing signs have been popping up around popular access points and at the base of the cliff. One group of climbers was also left an anonymous letter on the windshield of their parked car, informing them that they had parked in a spot they shouldn’t have.

We’d like to remind everyone that parking should be done off of Hwy 28 on Lower Faraday Road. Parking is also permitted in the Faraday Township Fire Station parking lot, but be sure not to obstruct emergency vehicle access.

The OAC is in the process of contacting the land owners and confirming public access to the crag. A public update will be made once we have clarified the situation.

We exist to help iron out any wrinkles that arise between climbers and land owners. If you are ever approached by someone who objects to your presence at a crag, please respond politely and appropriately. Gather the name and contact information of the individuals in question, and assure them that the OAC will be in contact with them. We want to maintain strong, positive relationships with our land owners to ensure that climbing access remains open for everyone. If there are ever any questions about crag status, we will work with the suitable bodies to determine what the boundaries are. Please contact us first before posting to social media. This will allow us to build solid connections with the community and verify that the correct information gets passed around.

Thank you, and happy climbing!

New website!

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This new website is the culmination of many months of work by our website team. We hope you will find it to be a useful resource. We intend it to be much easier to navigate and for it to contain useful information for our stakeholders—climbers, land managers, and the community in general.

While upgrading to the new website, we seem to have inadvertently sent out notification emails about each of the changes that went into the website. We apologize for this unfortunate glitch.

Old Baldy Parking Update

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The OAC has been in contact with the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority (GSCA) regarding parking at Old Baldy Conservation Area. The GSCA has confirmed the status of parking at Old Baldy Conservation Area. The parking area itself is on GSCA land while the access trail is located on an easement (right of way) and does not trespass on private land.

Please follow these rules:

  • Park in the Conservation Area parking lot.
  • Do NOT park on the laneway leading to the parking lot entrance.
  • Do not leave the trail between the parking lot and Old Baldy.
  • Be on best behaviour.
  • Be stewards of the area.
  • Maintain good relations with all landowners and direct them to the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority if asked any questions.

Incident at Devil’s Glen

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On Sunday October 8th 2017, an individual was seriously injured in a climbing related incident at Devil’s Glen Provincial Park. The rescue response was led by local Emergency Medical Services, who arrived on the scene promptly. Several climbing parties guided the response team to the victim and helped clear debris, facilitating and improving evacuation conditions for the response team and the injured climber.

Evacuations from most Ontario climbing areas, including Devil’s Glen, are always complicated endeavours. Climbers must recognize that evacuations are difficult and often lengthy. Therefore climbers must also recognize the importance of their personal and party safety and take appropriate precautions while climbing in Ontario. Helping our fellow climbers in time of need is a deeply ingrained part of our climbing culture. We ask all climbers to join us in wishing the best possible outcome for the injured climber.

The Ontario Access Coalition extends a sincere thank you to all Emergency Medical Services and individuals who took part in the successful evacuation. As representatives of the Ontario climbing community, the Ontario Access Coalition looks forward to working with Emergency Response Services, land managers and local communities to facilitate continued improvement of evacuations and high angle rescue scenarios.

Summer 2017 Newsletter

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In this Summer 2017 episode of the OAC newsletter:

  1. Beaver Valley Climbing Festival Recap and Feedback
  2. OAC Annual General Meeting Highlights
  3. Sharing Knowledge: Alpinist magazine discusses conservation and climbing on the Niagara Escarpment.

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BVCF Recap and Feedback

On July 14-16, the 5th annual Beaver Valley Climbing Festival saw almost 300 climbers and community members come out to Roy Rob Dog Farm in our beautiful Beaver Valley. Climbers and friends of all abilities and experience took part in clinics, enjoyed good food, great company, and awesome live music. We are already anticipating the 2018 Beaver Valley Climbing Festival.

Following the festival, we sent out an email requesting suggestions on how we can improve for next year. Thank you to all who took the time and provided feedback to the event organizers. Your feedback will directly help us improve next year’s BVCF. Here are some of the ways in which next year’s BVCF will be better than this year’s.

Bathrooms. In the past, our land use agreement put the responsibility on the farm’s owner to secure toilet rentals. We have renegotiated the agreement so that, in the future, the OAC will be responsible for toilet rentals. We will be sure to have the appropriate amount of units.
Space. It is awesome to see the BVCF continue to grow year after year. Given this growth, we will expand the campsite next year, including a separate area for families. This way, we can accommodate everyone and continue to share our love of climbing.

Thanks to everyone that came out. We look forward to seeing you next year! And once again, thanks to our headline sponsors: Boulderz Climbing Centre, True North Climbing, Arc’Teryx; title sponsors: Climber’s Rock, The Junction Climbing Centre; and major sponsors: The Alpine Club of Canada, On The Rocks Climbing, Free Spirit Tours, One Axe Pursuits, Ontario Resoles, Overhang Adventures. We couldn’t have done it without you!

OAC AGM Highlights

The OAC board of directors hosted an Annual General Meeting on June 26th 2017 at True North Climbing. The AGM is a once-a-year meeting in which members can come out, hear about the OAC’s updates, and take part in the discussions that shape the OAC. Our post summarizes the discussions: https://www.ontarioaccesscoalition.com/2017/07/20/qa-from-the-2017-oac-annual-general-meeting/

We hope to see you at next year’s AGM, scheduled for June 2018.

Conservation and Climbing on The Niagara Escarpment (via Alpinist magazine)

As climbers, we are lucky to explore beautiful yet inaccessible places. Our privileged position often inspires a feeling of responsibility towards these places and the wildlife that they harbour. We have the power to go beyond simply enjoying these places—we can act as stewards and help preserve them.

Unfortunately, our actions may have negative impacts on the places that we love, even if these impacts may be unintentional. As climbers, it is our responsibility to remain informed on how to best enjoy the crags we frequent, and applying best practices can minimize our impact on the environment.

We recommend this long-form reporting from Alpinist magazine: http://www.alpinist.com/doc/web17c/wfeature-a58-wired-refuge.
It can help you make more informed decisions and help you understand the complexity that surrounds climbing on the Niagara Escarpment. We invite you to read the article, share it with your fellow climbers, and discuss.

Q&A from the 2017 OAC Annual General Meeting

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Every year, the Ontario Access Coalition holds an Annual General Meeting. We appreciate True North’s support in hosting us this past June 26th, 2017. The short formal portion of the meeting allows OAC members to elect Directors for the coming year (as legally mandated). Afterwards, the AGM gives us the opportunity to connect with the membership in a loosely structured Q&A discussion session.

Discussions during the Q&A included:
* the then-upcoming Beaver Valley Climbing Festival (the Alpine Club of Canada Toronto Section offered support);
* updates on Metcalfe restrooms and improvements at Devil’s Glen;
* offers to improve the social media and general PR presence (including an Instagram account);
* how to better disseminate the gym to crag brochures (in every guidebook & via Conservation Halton);
* discussion of Conservation Halton’s strong support for climbing and the advisability of replacing old pins with bolts;
* questions about Algonquin Highlands (James Cooper Trail, Kushog) and the Hailburton Highlands Water Trails;
* questions about how to get involved (mail
info@ontarioaccesscoalition.com) and outreach efforts;
* questions about the financials (will be lightly edited to break down outgoing donations (SO Ice Fest, Conservation Halton ice climbing signs).

Thanks to those who came out to the meeting!

2017 AGM materials (minutes, access sends, survey results, financials)