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May 29-June 9


Access Fund Summit is Coming to NYC This September

Access Fund Summit is Coming to NYC This September

The Access Fund's annual summit is coming to NYC this September. To get a better understanding of the event and why it's important we chatted with the team at the Access Fund based in Boulder. 

Let’s start with an easy question, what is Access Fund?

Access Fund was created to be the voice of all climbers and protect the wild places that we love, whether they’re in our backyard or deep in the backcountry. Our mission is about keeping climbing areas open, and conserving the climbing environment. You might see us in Washington D.C., working to ensure that climbing interests are protected at the federal level or if a local climbing spot goes up on the auction block, we may step in to buy the area outright. Our work can also involve connecting with land managers, building trails, or educating climbers to minimize their impacts.

As this sport continues to grow, we have much to celebrate. At the same time we are seeing more impacts and threats to access than ever before. Our mission is to work through these threats and protect the integrity of America’s outdoor climbing areas so all climbers can enjoy them for years to come.

Do you do any work in New York City or upstate New York?

Climbing in Central Park at OutdoorFest 2015 by Tun Khine

Climbing in Central Park at OutdoorFest 2015 by Tun Khine

We’ve worked in New York for more than two decades, including places like the Gunks, Central Park, and Thacher State Park near Albany. Right now, our team is addressing the current climbing restrictions at the Gunks in Minnewaska State Park. Access Fund, in partnership with the Gunks Climbers’ Coalition, is in the process of opening up a small cliff in an area of the park called Beacon Hill, which will provide climbers with another option when visiting the Gunks. We hope that this effort will be a catalyst for opening up some of the larger cliff lines in the park.

Adirondack Park is another area of interest. There is currently a fixed anchor ban in that park which affects the bolts climbers depend on. Our long-term goal is to work with the park, the Department of Environmental Conservation and other stakeholders to come up with a reasonable fixed anchor policy.

We heard you’re bringing your annual summit to New York City on September 22. Why did you choose to bring this event to our hometown?

It was definitely time to show our East Coast members some love and bring this incredible event to them. We’ve got a long history of working in the state, great local partners, and some recent successes to celebrate like Thacher State Park. We are very fortunate to have strong relationships with our local climbing organizations and climbing gyms in the area, so that made it an obvious choice. The Gunks also offers world-class climbing, and there are numerous other spots just a short drive (editor's Note: or bus ride) away.


What does a typical day at the summit look like?

It’s a diverse and inspiring gathering of climbers from all backgrounds and abilities, from all across the country, that have one thing in common: They really care about the climbing community and the future of our climbing areas. Attendees should expect to be inspired by their peers and a wide variety of speakers, from industry professionals to dedicated local climbing advocates to everyday climbers.

Attendees should expect to be inspired by their peers and a wide variety of speakers, from industry professionals to dedicated local climbing advocates to everyday climbers.

We will kick off the day with a Community Roundtable, which is a bit like a town hall, to give each person a voice and bring our climbing family together. After that, we will have four sessions with two concurrent workshops, and attendees can pick the workshop they are interested in, whether it’s listening and joining in a panel discussion or taking in a presentation from an expert. You can view a full schedule here. Lunch is included as well as a yoga session to get participants moving.

What skills can attendees expect to gain from this summit?

We’ve got a lot packed into this year’s agenda. A few skills we will unpack are:

  • learning to climb with minimal impact
  • starting and maintaining a grassroots organization
  • creating public recreational access on private land
  • fundraising and marketing for your organization
  • helping to expand diversity in your local community.

We also have a panel featuring a biological study from the Gunks, which offers valuable lessons about wildlife and cliff management.  

What are three adjectives you'd use to describe the summit?

Relevant, practical, inclusive

Brady_intro talk.jpeg

What if I'm not a climber (or I only climb indoors?) Should I still attend?

Definitely! We have all kinds of attendees coming for all kinds of reasons. It’s a great way to network and meet other adventurous people in your area. We also intersect with many other outdoor recreational activities and interests – we work with mountain biking organizations, hiking organizations, wildlife biologists, and so many others to accomplish a shared goal of conservation and keeping access open to the beautiful landscapes we crave to spend time in.

We heard there's an after party...?

Our largest party of the year kicks off at 5:30 p.m. that same day! This year, our Annual Dinner will be hosted at the beautiful Edison Ballroom in the heart of New York City. Expect to rub elbows with professional athletes and some of the most influential climbing advocates and legends in the Northeast!

What should we expect at this dinner?

Our Annual Dinner continues to be the highlight event of the year. Join us for a 1920s inspired cocktail hour and dinner featuring Timmy O’Neill as our engaging emcee, and world-renowned climber Lynn Hill as our keynote speaker. There will also be a silent and live auction for some incredible gear packages, getaways, and more. The unforgettable evening will be a chance to connect with friends, celebrate our access and conservation successes, and fuel the ongoing effort to protect America’s public lands and climbing areas.

If I can't make it, where do I go to stay in touch / get more info / help out?

Check out our webpage for the event here and reach out to summit@accessfund.org with any questions! We will post the presentations from the summit on the Access Fund website shortly after the event.

For more information on projects in the New York area, contact Mike at mike@accessfund.org.

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