Climbers Uniting to Protect Access
By Jace Hinesly, Staff Writer
“Our hope is to work with the recreation community in promoting rock climbing in SW Oregon. Primarily [in] the west side of the cascades.”
That’s why founding board member Greg Orton is creating a non profit organization, The Southwest Oregon Climber’s Coalition, to protect and promote access to climbing in Southwest Oregon. “Today, 1 in 5 climbing areas in the United States is threatened by an access issue—whether it’s private land lost to development, public land managers over-regulating climbing, or climber impacts degrading the environment, the list of threats is long and constantly evolving.”
The group hopes to do this by working with other organizations such as the Access Fund to raise money towards the purchase, maintenance, and protection of specified climbing areas. The Access Fund is a one stop shop for the how, why, and what to do to help the sport of climbing. They continue to speak of the access issues by stating ”…But they [climbing areas] can be managed. At Access Fund, we are on a mission to protect climbing access and the integrity of America’s outdoor climbing areas.”
During the group’s inaugural meeting in October the newly formed SWOCC started by gathering a few highly motivated local climbing advocates. They assigned roles and duties, created an entire set of bylaws and set forth an initial plan of action along with designing a logo and scheduling the next meeting.
A couple of the founding members at that initial meeting work and go to school here at Southern Oregon University. There is an active climbing club and SOU offers three levels of rock climbing classes. SOU climbers consider themselves invested and willing to share in the mission and goals of the coalition.
SWOCC has stated in their bylaws “the Board will attempt to include at least one representative from the following educational institutions: SOU, UO, OSU, UCC.”
Because this is all so new there isn’t an active website yet, and they haven’t begun accepting members (becoming a member can be done via receiving information by email or contributing money or work). SWOCC’s next meeting is Sunday, November 29th. If you’re interested you can get more information through the campus climbing club.