The Southeastern Climbers Coalition
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Graffiti removal efforts giving new life to some of the South's most popula
Graffiti has been a problem at some of the South's most popular climbing areas for many years. Volunteers have tried many different methods of removal, from painting over the graffiti to attempting to clean it off with chemicals. The chemicals didn't seem to work and painting over the graffiti was very time consuming and not effective for large scale projects. The graffiti removal efforts were put on hold for years, until recently when we decided to start researching products for graffiti.

In 2015, SCC Executive Director, Cody Roney, went on a search to find a product that would work on the South's unique sandstone. After consulting with the Access Fund and other coalitions, a product called Elephant Snot seemed to be the best method. After conducting a few tests and seeing amazing results, we were determined to move forward with this exciting (and massive) project! With the help of a Cornerstone Conservation grant from The American Alpine Club and REI, the SCC quickly purchased graffiti removal supplies and got to work! We decided to focus our initial efforts at Hospital Boulders, Kings Bluff, and Sand Rock (now known as Cherokee Rock Village).

The Elephant Snot has produced incredible results at all three areas! The process is long and laborious, so it has taken at least 2 trail days/area...and we still aren't finished!

The SCC is working with other popular climbing destinations to get rid of the large amounts of graffiti. These areas include Moss Rock Preserve in Birmingham, AL, Currahee Mountain in Toccoa, GA, Signal Point in Signal Mountain, TN and others. Our hope is to see these graffiti removal efforts preserve our climbing areas by bringing them back to their natural state of beauty.

Check out this video created by the Access Fund Conservation Team from our first graffiti removal trail day at Cherokee Rock Village: Sand Rock Graffiti Removal Video

You can find more pictures on our Facebook page.

Read More...   ( Views: 75 ) Posted by cody_roney on Tues, May 17
Climbing Stewardship Initiative comes to Birmingham region
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Photo: Tim Foote
Access Fund, the national advocacy organization that protects America’s climbing, and Southeastern Climbers Coalition (SCC) are excited to launch a three-year stewardship initiative to improve rock climbing areas in the greater Birmingham, Alabama region. Named The Greater Birmingham Climbing Resource Improvement Project, the initiative will target four climbing areas in the region: Moss Rock Preserve, Trussville Boulders, Palisades Park, and Steele.

Climbing sites in the greater Birmingham area are some of the most popular and historic in the southeastern region. Since at least the 1970s, the area’s many sandstone cliffs and boulders have attracted visiting climbers, including famous climbers like John Gill, Robyn Erbesfield and Jimmy Webb. However, increased use has led to deteriorating conditions at many areas, including extensive graffiti and trash issues at Moss Rock. Similarly, infrastructure improvements at Steele, Palisades Park, and Trussville Boulders will mitigate erosion issues and attract more sustainable use from the climbing community.

“Birmingham is a hub for climbers living in the Deep South, and a destination for traveling climbers who bring out-of-state money in to strengthen the local economies. This project will help address unsustainable conditions at both popular and little-known climbing areas, ensuring these special resources can continue to be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike,” says Access Fund Southeast Regional Director, Zachary Lesch-Huie.

Over the next three years, the Access Fund-Jeep Conservation Team will lead stewardship initiatives at all four climbing sites, working closely with SCC, local climbers, and volunteers. The Conservation Team is an Access Fund program, sponsored by Jeep, that puts two teams of conservation specialists on the road each year to work with land managers and local climbing organizations across the country to build more sustainable climbing areas. Both Conservation Teams will take part in this multi-year stewardship initiative.

“Protecting access to climbing areas is core to SCC’s work, but long-term stewardship is equally important. We are so excited to work with Access Fund’s Conservation Team to improve Birmingham climbing areas, and set the highest standard possible for climbing stewardship,” Cody Roney, SCC Executive Director.
Work will kick off later this month with the City of Hoover at Moss Rock Preserve, where the Access Fund-Jeep Conservation Team will spend several weeks leading volunteer groups to remove extensive graffiti, develop trails and infrastructure to dramatically decrease erosion and support increased climber traffic. The Conservation Team will also working at the project’s three other sites, with the City of Trussville on bouldering area plans, and further north at Steele and Palisades to rehab trails and impacts from erosion.

“By addressing these infrastructure issues, we hope to bring these top-notch climbing areas back into the national consciousness of climbers, and at the same time strengthen the local economy,” says Access Fund Stewardship Director Ty Tyler.
This initiative is made possible by a considerable grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham and support from SCC and other local partners who recognize the economic benefits that climbers are having on other rural communities in the southeast, in addition to the need to make the region’s outstanding climbing and outdoor recreational resources accessible and sustainable.

Gus Heard-Hughes, Senior Program Officer for the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham says: “We are excited to partner with the Access Fund and SCC to improve, protect and promote the wonderful climbing resources we have in the Greater Birmingham area. We have been impressed with the quality of these partners’ work and their commitment to collaborating with local volunteers. The four sites are special in their natural beauty and opportunities for outdoor recreation, and efforts to preserve them for all are so important.”
The SCC is thrilled to partner with local climbers and members of the broader Birmingham community to restore the beauty and sustainability of these incredible recreational resources.

Read More...   ( Views: 92 ) Posted by cody_roney on Tues, May 17
Steele Spring Trail day- 2015
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Photo: Tim Foote
It was a bit wet and soggy but Spring Trail Day at Steele, AL was a success. Eight dedicated folks cleared weeds and brush in the parking area and around the shed and privy. The privy had its yearly maintenance (I will not go into the details, please use your imagination). The overgrown trails leading to both climbing areas were cut back, a fallen tree was cleared, and bolts and anchors were replaced on several routes. The SCC provide signage to mark the property boundary lines. They will soon be posted along the cliff line.

Our sponsors, First Avenue Rocks, Alabama Outdoors, and the SCC helped us raise over $150 for the SCC. Sponsors donated a rope, a grigri, a couple of headlamps, three chalk bag setups as well as other items for the swag part of the day.

Thanks again to all that came out. Look for the next trail day at Steele this Fall.

Read More...   ( Views: 7808 ) Posted by cody_roney on Sat, Apr 25
Spring 2015 Board Meeting
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Board meeting attendees
SCC Board Meeting Minutes- April 11, 2015
Zachary Lesch-Huie took minutes.

Meeting started at 6:30 pm Meeting ended at 9:15 pm

Introductions

Present:
Jason Plemmons board member
Lauren Plemmons SCC volunteer
Blake Salmony SCC board member
Becca Mabius SCC intern
Julie Reed SCC board member
Kurt Brode SCC board member
Chad Wykle SCC board member
Cody Roney SCC Exec. Dir.
Matthew Gant SCC President
Zachary Lesch-Huie Access Fund staff

Directors Update
Strong fundraising income since January 2015 ($30,000 as of board meeting). Tallahassee Rock Gym made a major donation. Rock & Rave was also very successful, and planning is underway for 2016. Board discussed the future of R&R as an independent event. Float the Boat was successful and had largest turnout ever. Membership is strong and we have approximately 850 members; Cody estimates retention is around 700 members. Board discussed method for counting membership. Conservation Legacy has identified donor candidates for an ask; further follow up by the board is needed. Suggestion to add Legacy fund donation option to main membership/donate webpage. Discussion of email communications and newsletter.

Climbing Area Updates
Zachary provided update on Chattanooga-area projects.
Action items: site visit to Lookout Land Conservancy boulders. Report back to SCC on TN River Gorge Trust property determination on T Wall property.

Sandrock land managers want to build better relationship with climbers. Park has made outreach to SCC. A proposed observation deck may threaten some popular rock climbs. Action: Jason and Cody to make outreach to the climber-board member on the county park board to further guide better park management.

Jason provided update on Boatrock and discussed need for asphalt/pothole repair where SCC lot and driveway meets the paved highway. Action: reach out to city or county to ask about road repair. Botany group reached out to Jason regarding plants and lack of invasives on Boat Rock property. Theyre also interested in placing plant placards as educational/interpretive signs around the park. Action: continue planning with botany group. Lastly, a group reached out about a possible fun run on Boat Rock property. Action: continue discussion with fun run group.

Cody provided Hospital Boulders update. First Ave. Rocks is covering the cost of a new dumpster at Hospital Boulders. Second, theres a need for people to park on grass up on the hill to beat the grass down. Lastly, Joe from First Ave. Rocks asked about a combo lock for the gate. Cody will contact Josh Reyes and Joe Ortega to make sure all other property owners are aware of the combo lock and have the combination before the lock is set.

Prentice-Cooper State Forest update and discussion. Regarding T Wall, Kurt discussed need for toilet at parking lot and possibly up at the cliff. Toilet designs and WAG bags were discussed. Action: further planning and discussion by SCC; WAG bags may be the best starter solution and SCC could temporarily provide WAG bags to climbers via a dispenser. Discussed bolting issue at Edwards Point, and possible unpermitted bolted routes. Kurt provided Sunset update. There are private concerns about impacts and vandalism at park. Kurt has been hired by private party to do a study on impacts at Sunset. The purpose of the study is to convince the park to do more resource management.

Matthew provided Steele update. A landowner for a private portion of Steele is closing their portion of the cliff and has asked SCC to post boundary of property where SCC land meets their land. SCC will post boundary. Board discussed the need to educate the climbing community on SCCs property boundaries and post signage on SCC property, as well as appropriate behavior.

Financials
Cody discussed recent donations from partners: $800 was donated by the Atlanta Climbing Club for Jamestown and Steele. $500 was donated from the Solid Rock Climbers for Christ from the Chandler Mountain Challenge. $4500 was donated from Tallahassee Rock Gym for their annual Save the South Comp, making TRG the leading climbing gym partner for the SCC.

Cody provided update on Verizon company grant from Verizon employee. Cody asked board to look for companies that have employee grant programs.

Next Meeting
Matthew and Cody will discuss with the board through email the location of the Fall Board meeting.

Read More...   ( Views: 2398 ) Posted by cody_roney on Wed, Apr 15
Kings Bluff Spring Trail Day 2015
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The wonderful volunteers!
March 28, 2015- It was a cold start to an awesome trail day at King Bluff in Clarksville, TN. Volunteers helped clean up the parking lot and surrounding area. Almost the entire group helped spread mulch down the top half of the trail. The mulch helps keep the dust down during the dry summer months! A smaller group of volunteers worked hard on clearing the lower by-pass trail (look for the new sign)! At the top of the bluff Scotty cut a run off ditch to help lower erosion of the trail, as well as other trail work and erosion prevention! Though the day started out cold, those volunteers who could stay to climb enjoyed an awesome day of climbing.

A huge thanks goes out to the volunteers who participated in the King Bluff Trail Day!

Article: Rebecca Mabius

Read More...   ( Views: 2476 ) Posted by cody_roney on Wed, Apr 15
Hospital/High Rocks, AL
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