Ten Sleep Canyon, Wyoming. Ancestral lands of Eastern Shoshone, Apsáalooke (Crow), Tséstho’e (Cheyenne), and Očhéthi Šakówiŋ. © Kris Ugarizza.

Access Fund Working to Open Up Climbing Area in Northwest Arkansas

Searcy County Waterfall

The Arkansas Climbers Coalition, Northwest Arkansas Trailblazers, and the Access Fund Conservation Team have partnered on a project in Northwest Arkansas that will create access to a rock climbing area within easy reach of climbers in the area.

According to Arkansas Climbers Coalition (ARCC) President, David Thompson, “We are working with the Access Fund on opening up a climbing area on property owned by Northwest Arkansas Trailblazers near Fitzgerald Mountain in Springdale, Arkansas. We hope to have the area open later this spring.” The Arkansas Climbers Coalition is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting climbing areas in The Natural State.

NWA Trailblazers was founded in 1996 as the Bentonville/Bella Vista Trailblazers Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit that developed cycling and pedestrian infrastructure that connected communities and moved people, with a focus on helping the Northwest Arkansas community by developing multi-use hard and soft-surface trails for cycling, running, and walking. Later, the organization rebranded as Trailblazers and for over two decades has designed and developed a first-class trail system known as Oz Trails, including more than 300 miles of multi-use trails. They state their mission as, “…to lead the development of an innovative regional recreation and transportation movement that places trails, cycling, and active transportation infrastructure at the core of an inclusive, vibrant, and healthy culture.”

Erin Rushing, Chief Executive Officer, of Northwest Arkansas Trailblazers, says that they are developing the Bush Crag property for climbing and bouldering. They are currently under contract with a  designer/architect to help plan, design, and program the property.

Popular climbing areas are seeing more and more traffic, and the effects compound with every passing season. Some issues created by this growth in visitor use can be the creation of dangerous access routes or illegal trail creation that crosses private land. Over the past couple of decades, there have been tremendous improvements in trail-building techniques, much of it from the exploding mountain bike community. Building sustainable trails that take environmental impact into construction is becoming more important for access to great climbing and other outdoor recreation destinations.

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According to the Access Fund, “The Conservation Teams will equip areas that need the most attention with whole-crag infrastructure designed to withstand the growing numbers of climbers. That usually looks like a combination of stone staircases, retaining walls, durable trails, and appropriate drainage in a configuration that varies from crag to crag.”

Ozark Outdoor Supply Spring Hiking Ad
The Conservation Teams are headed to a crag near you, mark your calendar and come out to lend a hand.
The Conservation Teams are headed to a crag near you, mark your calendar and come out to lend a hand.

The Access Fund Conservation Teams work with local climbing communities across the country to rehabilitate popular climbing areas and equip them with smart recreation infrastructure that minimizes our impacts and protects natural and cultural resources. This technical trail building and conservation work is designed to set climbing areas up for long-term sustainable access that protects the environment. Thousands of climbers around the country participate in this work each year by volunteering with our Conservation Teams or through their local climbing organizations (LCOs).

(Header Photo: Ten Sleep Canyon, Wyoming. Ancestral lands of Eastern Shoshone, Apsáalooke (Crow), Tséstho’e (Cheyenne), and Očhéthi Šakówiŋ. © Kris Ugarizza)

 

 

Arkansas Cycling & Fitness.

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