2006 Access Fund Sharp End Award Recipients

Each year the Access Fund recognizes those who shine above the rest in their commitment and work on behalf of the American climbing community for preserving climbing access and the climbing environment. This year’s awards and recipients are:

Each year the Access Fund recognizes individuals and businesses that volunteer their efforts and shine above the rest in their commitment and work on behalf of the American climbing community for preserving climbing access and the climbing environment. This year's awards and recipients are:

Sharp End Award: For leadership and activism in preserving climbing access and the climbing environment.

Doug Colwell
Doug is a long time activist for the climbing community in Idaho and has spent countless hours helping with the efforts to reopen famed Twin Sisters to climbing. Doug's climbing advocacy has included numerous meetings with Idaho's Congressional delegation, organizing climber meetings, and putting together successful letter writing campaigns. Doug has also worked closely with park managers at Castle Rock State Park representing climber interests on various climbing management policies and park development plans. Doug was also instrumental in obtaining an insurance policy where all others had failed allowing the Access Fund to complete a user license on behalf of the climbing community with Resolution Copper Company in Arizona allowing the use of significant private climbing resources in Oak Flat and Queen Creek.

Randall Leavitt
During his 30+ years of being at the forefront of American climbing, Randy has always done his all for access and protection of climbing resources. In short, Randy makes things happen. As a long time member and supporter of the Access Fund he is often the leader of cooperative climbing agreements and religiously alerts the Access Fund to new issues, be they questions with migratory birds or the potential sale of climbing resources. His leadership in his local climbing community is strong and steadfast helping to keep what could have been an explosive situation at El Cajon into one that the community could tackle. Randy is a standout Access Fund Ambassador, member, and volunteer on behalf of the entire climbing community.

Chris Spatz
Chris's first foray into climbing activism was in the early 1990's working to save Princeton, New Jersey's Cradle Rock from a land development threat. He has since served on the first steering committee for the Gunks Climbers' Coalition (GCC) and is currently a director-at-large. In his role has director, Chris has acted as the preliminary liaison for the GCC with Minnewaska State Park, the Open Space Institute, the Mohonk Preserve, the NY-Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Town of Rosendale. Most recently, he has played a significant role in the negotiations to open the Rosendale Water Works bouldering area and in the creation of a Memorandum of Understanding between Mohonk Preserve and the GCC.

Recognized for above and beyond contributions of staff time, resources and financial support of the Access Fund's advocacy work.

prAna proactively pushes the mission of the Access Fund through their own corporate identity and channels. They provide resources above and beyond their annual contribution which directly impacts the effectiveness of Access Fund staff time and resources. Examples include streamlining the Access Fund's apparel program by drastically reducing associated product costs and staff time, donating the proceeds of a tee-shirt from their own product line that communicates the message of the Access Fund, and subsidizing the Access Fund office's wind energy offset credits through their groundbreaking Natural Power Initiative showing corporate responsibility by encouraging consumers to think about their energy consumption which directly effects our climbing environments.

prAna has been instrumental in the development and growth of the boulderProject helping to raise money and awareness, offering guidance and direction on the conception and development of the program from the beginning, and encouraging their athletes to get involved in the Access Fund.

Urban Climber Magazine
Recognized for above and beyond contributions of staff time, resources and financial support of the Access Fund's advocacy work.

Urban Climber Magazine has taken a lead role in delivering the boulderProject message of minimum impact climbing and importance of understanding how climbers, the environment, and access are all connected to the new generation of climbers. By contributing significant time and financial resources to provide a platform for the Access Fund's message and interweaving that message throughout all aspects of their publication, they deliver the Access Fund mission to an audience that would otherwise be difficult for the Access Fund to affect.

Of their many contributions from ideas, support, and directly affecting Access Fund financial resources necessary to further the mission, the following stand out: Integration of the Access Fund message throughout every single issue of the magazine from in-kind advertising, Access Fund controlled editorial content, to Urban Climber Magazine editorial content that directly underscores the mission of the Access Fund and responsible climbing. Further and significantly, Urban Climber Magazine underwrote the development of the boulderProject website at a crucial time in the expansion of the program. Without this support, the message of the boulderProject would not be reaching its audience.

Land Manager of the Year: Given to a professional resource manager who has demonstrated a commitment to preserving climbing opportunities and a progressive approach to public lands management.

Cal Hite, Park Superintendent New River Gorge
Cal Hite, who is retiring in 2007, is recognized for his recent work with climbing activists and his effective and cooperative management style over the last several years. Nominated by the local New River Alliance of Climbers for this award, Cal deserves this acknowledgement for his outspoken advocacy against proposed rim developments (sentiments shared by climbers) that could forever impair the unique view shed at the New River Gorge.

Cal Hite was instrumental in maintaining climbing access when the NPS proposed a mandatory closure of Endless Wall to support a speculative nesting program for undocumented peregrine falcons. He has further reached out to the West Virginia climbing community by helping out with various Adopt-A-Crag events and supporting the New River Rendezvous climbers' festival.

Reese Martin Memorial Award Regional Coordinator of the Year: For leadership and activism in preserving climbing access and the climbing environment, and specifically for their volunteer work as an Access Fund representative.

Kellie Rice
As a Regional Coordinator for the Access Fund, Kellie Rice has always gone above and beyond the expectations of the position. Not only is she a leader as an activist, she enthusiastically and it seems innately, promotes the Access Fund at all times. Her specific efforts include advocating tirelessly for the successful opening of Madrone Wall near Portland as a County Park, hosting and attending numerous Adopt-a-Crags, promoting the Access Fund and organizing membership drives and fundraisers at numerous events around Oregon, involvement with access issues in southern Oregon at Sprague River and Williamson, and expanding the Access Fund's reach throughout all of Oregon. For climbers in Oregon and across the country, we have all benefited from the passion and work of Kellie Rice.

The Bebie Leadership award: presented to America's outstanding activist(s) for the cause of preserving climbing access and the climbing environment.

Ken Yager
Three years ago Ken took his lifelong passion for climbing and his love for Yosemite Valley and combined them into one big dream: the Yosemite Facelift, where climbers take the lead and clean trash off the routes, cliffs, and all the environs of the National Park to make it a better place and more enjoyable environment for climbers and the public. The Yosemite Facelift was born and has now grown into the largest climber led stewardship event (and Adopt-A-Crag) in the nation. Over five days this fall 1100+ volunteers contributed 9,000+ hours of time to remove over 25,000 pounds (five tons) of trash from Yosemite National park. Beyond the physical contribution, the amount of goodwill with park managers, other park users and the leadership shown by this event is without comparison.

Menocal Lifetime Achievement Award: Presented periodically to individuals who have demonstrated remarkable commitment to the cause of preserving climbing access and the climbing environment, and who have contributed substantially to the progress of the Access Fund over many years.

Sean Cobourn
Sean was one of the founding members of the Access Fund and served on the first Board of Directors. Since 1991 he has been an Access Fund volunteer Regional Coordinator and only recently stepped down as president of the Carolina Climbers Coalition.

In the early 1990's Sean negotiated the opening of Table Rock State Park, South Carolina to rock climbing and helped draft the park's climbing regulations. This was the first time that climbing was allowed in South Carolina State Parks. In 1994 a possible closure at Crowders Mountain State Park in North Carolina was preempted by a meeting arranged by Sean in which over 100 climbers were in attendance. This meeting catalyzed the formation of the Carolina Climbers Coalition in 1995.

Perhaps some of his finest work has been accomplished in the last two years with the creation of Hickory Nut Gorge State Park in North Carolina which forever protects the climbing at Rumbling Bald. Sean's leadership was crucial in bringing together a coalition of land trusts and other partners to find the money and the political will to create this new state park. In 2006 Sean was successful in raising over $250,000 to purchase the privately held Laurel Knob, saving it from land development. At 1200 feet high Laurel Knob is the largest piece of granite east of the Mississippi and an incredible climbing resource which the Carolina Climbers Coalition will now own and manage, protecting climbing and its environment forever.

Michael Kennedy Award: Presented periodically for outstanding leadership and commitment to the Access Fund mission as a Board member of the Access Fund.

Dan Nordstrom
Since taking over as board president in 2005, Dan has quickly put his mark on the Access Fund asserting his positive presence at public events, trade shows, activist summits, fundraising events, and just about every venue the Access Fund participates in. His commitment to actively understand the day-to-day challenges of the Access Fund has strengthened the work between the Board and staff and the Access Fund as a whole.

Driving forward new initiatives, finding the right mix of new Board members and leading the Access Fund through new strategic plans are a result of Dan's forward-thinking leadership. These efforts have required diplomatic bridge-building skills and the willingness to tackle hard issues while maintaining focus on the Access Fund's core mission.

Since 1991, the Access Fund has been the only national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment. The Access Fund supports and represents over 1.6 million climbers nationwide in ALL forms of climbing; rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, and bouldering. Five core programs support the mission on national and local levels: public policy, stewardship & conservation (including grants), grassroots activism, climber education, and land acquisition. For more information visit www.accessfund.org/ or www.boulderproject.org/