The Access Fund has announced its 2015 Menocal Lifetime Achievement Award, Land Conservation Award and Sharp End Awards. These annual awards recognize individuals,
organizations, and businesses that “go above and beyond to volunteer their time and efforts to protecting America’s climbing.”
From the Access Fund:
Doug Walker – Menocal Lifetime Achievement Award
It is Access Fund’s honor to present Doug Walker with a memorial Menocal Lifetime Achievement Award. We were devastated by the sudden loss of Doug, who made a huge impact on conservation and recreation in this country. He was a leading advocate for connecting
people of all backgrounds to the outdoors as a way to build support for conservation. He served on many nonprofit boards, including The Wilderness
Society, the Sierra Club, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the Outdoor Alliance, and The American Alpine Club as President. Doug was incredibly
generous with his time, expertise, and money. He was an original funder of the Access Fund’s land acquisition fund, and he promoted climbing access
and outdoor recreation through his numerous connections in Washington, D.C. He was a great friend to many of us, challenging us with math trivia on
steep mountain scrambles and pushing us professionally in our fields to break barriers and be more successful than we ever imagined. Thank you, Doug.
Truckee Donner Land Trust – Land Conservation Award
Access Fund is excited to present Truckee Donner Land Trust (TDLT) with a Land Conservation Award for its leadership and commitment to protecting historic
climbing areas at Donner Summit. In 2015, TDLT partnered with Access Fund to secure the 400-foot Black Wall, Peanut Gallery, Road Cut, and access
to nearby Space and Stealth Walls. Thanks to the broad support of local climbers and outdoor industry partners, TDLT raised over $300,000 in the
Save Donner Climbing Forever campaign to acquire and steward the area. TDLT has been a long-time partner with the climbing community, having first
protected the Saddle Boulders in 2001 and Billy Mack Canyon in 2005. Thanks, TDLT, for being a great leader in land conservation!
Jason McNabb – Sharp End Award
Access Fund is proud to present Jason McNabb with a Sharp End Award for his leadership of the Black Hills Climbers Coalition (BHCC) and his work to
preserve and protect South Dakota climbing. As the former President of BHCC, Jason strengthened the organization’s partnership with Access Fund,
helped grow its membership, and spearheaded major stewardship projects with land managers like Mt. Rushmore National Memorial and Custer State
Park. He continues to serve on BHCC’s board and is very active with its anchor replacement program, updating aging bolts throughout the Black Hills.
Bentley Brackett – Sharp End Award
Access Fund is honored to present Bentley Brackett with a Sharp End Award for his many years of work to preserve climbing areas in the Red River Gorge
of Kentucky. Former President of Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition (RRGCC), Bentley played a critical role in fundraising for the purchases of
Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve and Miller Fork Recreational Preserve. His dedicated outreach to the outdoor and climbing industry has
built lasting relationships and support for RRGCC’s work and ensured the success of its annual fundraising event, Rocktoberfest. This event attracts
many climbers to the region every year and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for climbing area protection.
Kayah Gaydish – Sharp End Award
Access Fund is honored to present Kayah Gaydish with a memorial Sharp End Award for her work and leadership as a climbing area steward in North Carolina
and the Southeast. We were deeply saddened to lose Kayah last year. Her experience and knowledge as a trail builder elevated the standard of stewardship in the Carolina
climbing community. Often in a leadership role, Kayah worked to improve climbing areas like Hawksbill, Rumbling Bald, Buffalo Creek Boulders, and
Hidden Valley. She was a board member of the Carolina Climbers Coalition and worked with numerous conservation and community-minded organizations
like Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards, Friends of Chimney Rock, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and Wild South. Kayah lived a life of service,
and her warm personality inspired others to pick up their tools and do work that made a difference.
Mike Driskell – Sharp End Award
Access Fund is proud to present Mike Driskell with a Sharp End Award for his years of stewardship and service in the Red River Gorge of Kentucky. With
over a thousand acres of land to steward, Mike has served tirelessly as RRGCC’s volunteer land manager, planning and leading trail work, training
the next generation of stewards, building bridges, and making constant road repairs. His leadership at annual events like the Johnny and Alex Trail
Day has inspired hundreds of climbers and volunteers and directly benefitted dozens of popular crags at RRGCC’s two recreational preserves. Mike
has collaborated with and hosted Access Fund’s Conservation Team on multiple occasions, working alongside the team on trail projects and hosting
its regional climbing stewardship training.
Chris Winter – Sharp End Award
Access Fund is proud to present Chris Winter with a Sharp End Award for his role in protecting climbing areas in Oregon and the Northwest. As an attorney,
Chris has supported the efforts of Access Fund, American Alpine Club, Mazamas, and local climbers by providing legal and advocacy support for climbing
access efforts across the Northwest. He founded Crag Law Center, a nonprofit legal team dedicated to protecting and sustaining the Pacific Northwest’s
natural legacy. He has been a key player in efforts to reopen Madrone Wall, and his experience in raptor management has helped balance climbing
and resource protection. In 2012, Chris provided critical support to a coalition of organizations and climbers working to preserve climbing access
at Trout Creek while protecting Golden Eagles.
Rose Kenny – Sharp End Award
Access Fund is honored to present Rose Kenny with a Sharp End Award for her leadership of Rumney Climbers Association (RCA). Rose’s dedicated efforts
have helped steward and protect climbing at Rumney, one of the Northeast’s most popular climbing resources. As a former president, Rose expanded
RCA’s partnership with Access Fund through stewardship and community events, as well as by ushering RCA into Access Fund’s joint membership program.
She worked diligently with the climbing community and White Mountain National Forest to make significant positive amendments to the Rumney Climbing
Management Plan. And she worked to protect climbing on the adjacent privately owned Northwest Crags by leading the appraisal process and facilitating
the option agreement that gives RCA the exclusive right to buy the property.
Upper Peninsula Climbers Coalition – Sharp End Award
Access Fund is pleased to present Upper Peninsula Climbers Coalition (UPCC) with a Sharp End Award for successfully opening AAA Walls in the upper
peninsula of Michigan to climbing. The area was closed in 2014 due to liability concerns, and UPCC’s dedicated group of volunteer board members
formalized the organization as a nonprofit in order to partner with landowners as a united front for the climbing community. UPCC partnered with
a local timber company to secure a recreational lease that reopened the AAA Walls to climbing.
Mountain Project – Sharp End Award
We are proud to present Mountain Project with a Sharp End Award for its unwavering support of climbing access and conservation. Over the past ten years,
Mountain Project has evolved into the definitive source of online climbing beta, with a vibrant community of climbers sharing information about
our climbing areas. As Mountain Project’s online presence has grown, it has also grown its partnership with Access Fund. Mountain Project has made
significant investments to help Access Fund incorporate critical access, education, and stewardship content into climbing area descriptions in
order to keep climbers better informed. And in 2015, Mountain Project challenged its users to join Access Fund with a $50,000 membership match,
helping us draw hundreds of new members to support mission-critical work.
About Access Fund
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.