A full year since their closure, the historic AAA Walls in Marquette, Michigan have been reopened to climbing—thanks to the hard work of the Access Fund and the Upper Peninsula Climbers Coalition (UPCC).
The area has been closed since June of 2014, after landowner—Longyear Realty Corporation—shut down climbing access due to liability concerns.
“The AAA Walls have a long history,” says UPCC president Phil Watts. “We discovered it as a potential climbing crag in 1979, and Bud Place and Hazel Blandford joined me in those early years of exploration.”
UPCC teamed up with the Access Fund to negotiate a plan with Longyear. The solution: “A collaborative recreational license agreement that will enable individuals to use the rock formations for recreational climbing,” says the Access Fund. Both the main AAA Wall and a smaller cliff called the Secret Crag are now open.
The license is valid through 2015, and if successful, it will be renewed next year.
“This has been a great partnership with Upper Peninsula Climbers Coalition, Longyear, and local community members,”says Access Fund Executive Director Brady Robinson.“We are excited to play a small role in reopening the AAA Walls and could not have done it without local leaders and a community-oriented landowner like Longyear.”
From the Access Fund:
All those visiting the AAA Walls can help ensure continued access by complying with the following simple rules: No paid, professional guided climbing and camping at the crags; organized groups such as schools and nonprofits wishing to use the area for climbing will be required to process requests and provide insurance in advance through the UPCC.
How You Can Help
Help the UPCC raise $5,000 towards the annual costs of liability insurance, signage, stewardship, and management. To learn more or make a donation, please visit www.upperpeninsulaclimbing.com.
About the Access Fund
The Access Fund is the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment. Founded in 1991, the Access Fund supports and represents millions of climbers nationwide in all forms of climbing: rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, and bouldering. Six core programs support the mission on national and local levels: climbing policy and advocacy, stewardship and conservation, local support and mobilization, land acquisition and protection, risk management and landowner support, and education. For more information, visit www.accessfund.org.
About the Upper Peninsula Climbers Coalition
The Upper Peninsula Climbers Coalition is a Michigan non-profit organization that works with land owners, conservation groups, and climbers to ensure responsible usage and long-term access to precious climbing resources across the Upper Peninsula. Founded in 2012, UPCC has worked in partnership with land managers and owners to steward areas such as Little Presque Isle, Palmer, and the AAA Walls. For more information, visit www.upperpeninsulaclimbing.com.