Brought to you by the Climber's Access Society of BC
CASBC in transition.
Well, to say your Board has been in a bit of a lull, is an understatement. For that we apologize. We all knew it would be difficult to see Anders move on, but we still didn't prepare enough. However, the handover is finally complete and we are now re-energized and refocused. There are many things to update you with, so please read on...
Powell River Update
A development plan was submitted by the landowner but rejected by the regional district. A new plan will be submitted by the landowner. Both parties are aware of climbers interest in this beautiful oceanside area.
Higgyland is threatened by real-estate development. Discussion is ongoing between climbers, the developer and the City to find a solution that allows climbing.
Power Line construction in the Eldred is in full swing The right of way has been cleared of timber. This has created no major problems for climbers. Please respect all warning signs and equipment working.
The seventh annual Eldred adopt-a-crag was held on the May long weekend. Again a fun and successful event. 23 volunteers showed up and repaired a section of the psyche slab trail damaged by rockfall. Work was also done on the B-branch bouldering trail. Everyone also enjoyed excellent climbing weather. Special thanks to Cascade Designs for providing draw prizes for the volunteers. Thanks also go out to Kiewitt and Sons for making an ongoing effort to accommodate the climber traffic.
Things are moving along well. This season Hugh Dunlop is again allowing access through the usual entrance to the park. In the meantime BC Parks, The Land Conservancy and the Nature Conservancy are working together to secure the easement required to build the road up to Sublot 18. The plan is to have the road in place by Spring of 2009. Local Skaha climbers are also involved in discussions with the above mentioned groups and are keeping CASBC updated on the situation. Stay tuned for further updates.
Peregrine Falcon closure in effect until July 31.Routes are closed between Millennium Falcon and Freeway with the following exceptions: Arrow Root, Cleaning the Brain, Deadend Dihedral, Rutabaga, Sticky Fingers, Slow Duck, Time Passages, Freeway (to the top of 5th pitch). Regular Chief parking is open, but access will change.
Not much new to report regarding the logging that occurred last year. Talks are on-going with the affected parties.
Smoke Bluff Park
There will be filming taking place at Neat and Cool, Burgers and Fries, Zombie Roof and Krack Rock over July 15th and 16th. This has been approved by the District of Squamish.
There were some extra bolts added and some cleaning done to the Arbutus Alley wall over the winter. West Vancouver Parks was not pleased. The hangers from the bolts have been removed. We plan to meet with Parks in the near future to discuss climbing in the Park.
National Climbers' Access Initiative ("NCAI")
As access to climbing areas has become a common issue across the country, the question arises whether the time is ripe for a national climbers' access awareness group. After a series of informal meetings in the summer of 2007 between Mountain Equipment Co-Op (MEC) staff and Gripped magazine, the concept of a Canadian national climbing access body was developed. What followed were a series of initial meetings and conferences calls among a cross-section of various local, regional and provincial access groups. These discussions canvassed the needs, parameters and possible mandates of such a national group. It was clear from the outset that a national access coalition would not supplant the existing local, regional and provincial access associations that were already successful; but would act as a centralized resources base for existing access information, and provide a larger, more unified lobbying voice for climbing access across the country.
Among the individuals and groups invited initially were Jamie McVicar, chair of the Climbers Access Society of Alberta, Anders Ourom, executive director of the Climber's Access Committee of British Columbia, Tyrone Brett, president of the Squamish Access Society, Harry Hoediono, chair of the Ontario Access Coalition and Steve Castonquay, director of the Federation Quebecois de la Montagne et de l'Escalade. The editors of Gripped Magazine Sam Cohen and David Chaundy-Smart, along with representatives Laurie Edward and Erin Melnychuk of the Mountain Equipment Co-Op and Darcy Bloom of Blurr, were hosts of the initial group meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia in July of 2007.
Although meetings were initially informal, a working governance structure was quickly developed and Jamie McVicar agreed to chair the fledgling group. Funding for a three year trial project was obtained from the MEC based on an interim budget and a list of goals and preliminary organizational projects were developed. Among the short term goals was determining the mandate and structure of the “National Climbers' Access Initiative” and then to establish a more formal governance structure. With MEC's funding in hand, operational mechanisms were developed to identify the various access groups and their structures in Canada, undertake a needs assessment with those groups for a national access body such as the NCAI and, concurrently, develop and produce two pilot projects: 1. a national resource centre of existing access information which would be a collection of data from existing groups, and 2. a website which would allow the sharing of information Canada wide of all the access organizations. Like all new organizations, the NCAI's mandate was fluid and being developed as the initiative began to take shape. It is the hope of the organization that access groups from across the country will readily participate and provide needed input into the national organization, at first through the upcoming “needs analysis” undertaken through a series of local, regional and provincial conferences of “Access Awareness,” ultimately culminating in an annual symposium on access. Such an undertaking of this magnitude will require the combined voluntary effort of the entire climbing community. As access issues around the country become more acute, we are convinced that local climbers should unite on understanding that access is now a Canada-wide issue and that local activism can be enhanced by a strong and unified national voice.
Squamish Mountain Film Festival
The 2008 Squamish Mountain Festival, presented by Arc'teryx in partnership with Mountain Equipment Co-op, will take place from July 16 to 20.
It will feature climbing clinics, competitions, yoga, guest speakers, photo exhibits, book signings, the Steep Shot photo comp, an international mountain film festival and huge raging parties! Guest speakers this year are; Matt Maddaloni, Sonnie Trotter, Jordan Wright, Jia Condon, Keith Ladzinski, Boone Speed, Andrew Querner, Ed Cooper, Cedar Wright, Majka Burhardt, Micah Dash and Dave MacLeod.
The film festival will feature 15 films from 6 countries competing for cash prizes and festival honours.
We need volunteers to help make this the best festival yet!
Volunteers will fill an assortment of keys roles during the days and evenings. We are looking for fun people who can commit to at least 2 events during the festival.
Those who help out will get into some events free, receive a festival t-shirt, be invited to the “Tight and Bright” festival Party on Saturday, July 19th at the Squamish Adventure Centre and will also receive a special “thank you” gift at the end of the festival.
We need lots of general manpower but we also need a few specific roles filled including; A/V Operator, Festival Photographer, Speaker Wrangler, Belayers and Beer Pourers.
If you are interested in helping out please contact Vanessa at: email@example.com
The plan is to redesign it top to bottom (in the meantime the current site will remain, www.access-society.ca). Once the new site is up, you will be able to check your member status. No more paper renewals. Also, it will be regularly updated as required. It is a work in progress, so if there is something you would like to see on the site, let us know.
A Fond Farewell
I recently stepped down from an active role in the Access Society. After 13 years of hard work, and some sacrifice, it was time to move on. It seems appropriate to provide a few closing words.
The Access Society was founded in 1995, after a climbers' meeting in Penticton. I have been actively involved in it ever since, mostly as president and for the last few years as executive director. (Different name, same job.) It has been an interesting time, with many successes. I am leaving an organization that has credibility, a solid track record and membership, a sound organizational basis, and that represents and unites all the climbers of B.C. The Access Society is in good hands, and ready to continue its good work on behalf of the entire climbing community.
A significant proportion of the active climbers of B.C. now belong to the Access Society, and many more support it. Since 1995, several local climbers' organizations have arisen in B.C., focussed on access, and other groups have developed a greater interest in access. Imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery. The Access Society was in some ways inspired by the Access Fund (U.S.), and it is heartening that it has in turn inspired local organizations, is a model for others, and is central to the proposed Canada climbers' access organization. Climbers are accepting the need for them to be organized.
The Access Society came into being to meet a need. That need was for the climbers of B.C., and all those interested in access to and conservation of the cliffs and mountains of B.C., to be organized and represent themselves. Climbers needed a voice of their own, to focus on the issues that mattered to us. Growth in the climbing community, the number and variety of resulting access issues, and developments elsewhere made it clear that the time had come. Canada and B.C. are democracies, and climbers could and can best look after their interests by representing themselves.
The emphasis has always been on building an organization that was inclusive, focussed, and effective. Focussed particularly on service to members and the community, and delivering results. Climbers are practical folk. There has been a fair amount of advocacy, but from the start the Access Society emphasized a membership base, industry support, representation from throughout B.C., communications, being constructive and having a long view, working with local climber organizations, building alliances, fundraising, and volunteer stewardship events.
The Access Society has had many successes on issues and projects, but perhaps its greatest success has been the creation of a sound organization, representing all climbers, and ready to do whatever is needed on a continuing basis. Access issues, whatever their form, are here to stay - climbers need to be also. Working on issues on an ad hoc basis isn't a viable long term strategy.
The Access Society has usually been shy about claiming credit for its work, and taken pains to share credit. Still, here is a partial and understated summary of its main successes since 1995, although all involved the help of many others:
Working toward creation of Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, and lanning, management and projects there (1995 - ).
Leading the successful campaign to protect the Stawamus Chief from a commercial gondola development (2004).
Substantial fundraising and communications support for the recent land purchase at Skaha, and generally for advocacy and projects there (1995 - ).
Dozens of volunteer crag stewardship events around the province - clean ups, toilet construction and maintenance, trail building and maintenance, signs, etc.
Working toward creation of Little Smoke Bluffs Park (Squamish), and planning, management and projects there (1995 -).
Ensuring that climbers' concerns were taken into account during planning for the Squamish highway project (2004 - 08).
Advocacy and projects around B.C. - Fleming Beach (Esquimalt), Eldred Valley, Powell River, Cougar Canyon (Vernon), Crest Crags (Campbell River), Horne Lake, Cheakamus Canyon, etc.
Special events and fundraisers such as the Petzl Roc Trip (2005), the Squamish Climbers Festival (2006), the Squamish Mountain Festival (2007), and Kickin' Access (2002).
Raising awareness in our community and elsewhere about access issues, solutions, and their importance.
Working with related groups, at local, provincial, national and international levels.
During 2007, the Access Society put a lot of effort into helping find a solution to access to Skaha, focusing on fundraising, communications, and general support. Mountain Equipment Co-op, the Land Conservancy of B.C., and Skaha climbers provided leadership and resources. The Access Society itself put in $10,000, and generated many individual donations, as well as support from industry partners such as Black Diamond, Arc'Teryx, Metolius, The Edge Climbing Centre, the Alpine Club of Canada, and Cliffhanger (Coquitlam and Vancouver). There were many other partners and helpers - the list is very long! Although climbing and climbers were only part of the Skaha proposal, it was probably the biggest single purchase of land ever in Canada or the U.S., for protection of climbing.
The Access Society has been a very long climb, and we're only at a subsidiary summit. Routefinding sometimes hasn't been simple, and as soon as one summit is reached, other summits appear. Uniting and representing climbers is a bit like herding cats, and local pride and particularism are always a challenge. Realistically assessing issues, goals and resources, putting them together in a way that leads to a desirable result, and balancing the interests of all the various parties, is also a challenge. Not to mention the nitty gritty - fundraising, mailings, contact with industry and other supporters, communications, and records. It isn't glamorous, and takes some resources, but it's essential to a healthy organization.
In 2007, I informed the directors of the Access Society that I would step down once the situation at Skaha seemed under control. It was time, both in terms of my family, personal, and professional responsibilities, and the needs of the Access Society. At some point the founder of every organization has to move on. If the organization has a purpose and is well-founded, it will go on to greater heights. I am leaving a strong, successful organization, my gift to the climbers of B.C. There are many challenges ahead, and the need for the Access Society will never disappear. I strongly urge all climbers to support and become involved in the work of the Access Society.
I would like to thank all those who have supported the Access Society, and who I've had the pleasure to work with and serve. Our members and donors, our industry sponsors, government representatives, those in other climbers' access groups, all those who've served as directors of the Access Society, and everyone who's helped in any way. We're a climbing team of 400 or 4,000 or more, instead of the more usual two, but like all teams, we accomplish much more together than we can separately.
Some I would particularly like to thank include Mountain Equipment Co-op, Black Diamond (Peter Metcalf), Metolius (Brooke Sandahl), Arc'Teryx (John Irvine), Cliffhanger (Colin Whyte & Daniel Poggi), The Edge (Henry Wang & Andrew Wilson), Petzl (John Evans & Dale Bard), the Access Fund (Armando Menocal & others), and the Alpine Club of Canada. Individuals include Allen Agopsowicz, Dan Mack, Neil Bennett, Kevin McLane, Howie Richardson, Colin Dionne, Greg Sorensen, Chris Barner & the Heathens, Brock Wilson, Greg Shannan, Jeff Thomson, Jason Kruk, Sheilagh Seaton, Peter Winter, Rolf Rybak, Manrico Scremin, Lisa Rae, Tami Knight, Dave Jones, Murray Sovereign and many others. My apologies to anyone I've omitted! I can't give you each a gold carabiner, to symbolically link us, but I do thank you all.
Good luck, and see you at the Squamish Mountain Festival, or better still on a cliff or mountain somewhere!
Anders Ourom July 2008
Your Board of Directors
President, Peter Winter, Squamish
Vice President, Jason Kruk, North Vancouver/Squamish
Secretary, Jan McPhee, Vancouver
Colin Dionne, Powell River
Eric Goodwin, Victoria
Greg Sorensen, Nanaimo
Jeff Thomson, Vancouver
We still need more Directors to complement our Board. Especially in the Okanagen, as well as the Kooteneys, Kamloops area, Prince George and Revelstoke. The time commitment is low and your involvement is essential, so think about giving back!
This may take some time to organize as we transfer to the electronic way of doing things, so you may get an email or even phone call. But in the meantime if you haven't paid in the last year please go to www.access-society.ca and pay online through paypal.
What's going on?
You are our eyes and ears, so if you see an access related issue let us know and we'll spread the word!
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