Monday, May 7, 2012

Access Fund Conservation Team Open House at Northwest Branch

Exciting news! The Access Fund-Jeep Conservation Team will be arriving in Washington, DC on May 9th, 2012 to work with the Mid-Atlantic Climbers on access enhancements to the Northwest Branch Stream Valley Park in Silver Spring!

Conservation Team -
Photo Credit Access Fund
The Access Fund-Jeep Conservation Team will be at Northwest Branch Thursday May 10th through Saturday, May 12th undertaking park enhancements. Want to see the park upgrades? Come out on Sunday, May 13th, when the conservation team members will provide information about their work at Northwest Branch - and all around the United States - at an open session at Northwest Branch beginning at 2 PM.

The trail project and open session will be at Northwest Branch Park, which is located at 10701 Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20910 - immediately south of the strip mall where Trader Joe’s is located. For more information email

The Conservation Team is the Access Fund's newest stewardship program, with a staff of two trail specialists who travel the country ten months out of the year helping local climbers and volunteers maintain climbing areas. The team assesses climbing area conservation needs, works with locals to address those needs, and provides training on planning and stewardship best practices to keep those areas healthy.  For more information about the Access Fund-Jeep Conservation Team, visit

Friday, May 4, 2012

Rockfest 2012 a success!

This year's Rockfest event at Rocks State Park was a huge success! We had over 60 volunteers who worked all day to complete multiple projects that massively improved the park for all visitors. Despite the dreary forecast, folks came out excited to pitch in and the forecasted rain held off until after our projects were complete!

Thanks to everyone who helped with the projects which included trail work including installing steps on the purple trail and clearing out an ATV emergency access trail, invasive species removal (only one reported case of poison ivy), trash clean up, and construction of a nature center play area.

Building stone steps on the purple trail.
Construction of the natural play area.
Trash clean-up crew getting ready to beautify the park.
We'd like to report that the rangers at Rocks State Park are very happy with the work we were able to accomplish and were very supportive of our event overall. Be sure to thank them for their work the next time you climb at the park!

Lunch was provided by Earth Treks!

Thanks to our generous sponsors, meals for the day were provided to volunteers, and at the end of the day we had raffle prizes for everyone who participated!

Solid Rock Climbers for Christ generously provided dinner for our hungry volunteers!
In addition to the raffle, we normally give a prize for the most unique piece of trash cleaned up. Luckily, the park had less trash than we expected, so we gave the prize of a clean Mid-Atlantic Climbers T-shirt for the dirtiest volunteer. Here's our winner:

We were very grateful that the rain held off during the day on Saturday, but its eventual arrival sent most people home on Saturday night instead of enjoying camping. For the few hearty souls who stayed the night, we were treated with a sampling of short climbing films and good company around the campfire.

Thanks to Mark "Indy" Kochte for taking all of the photos in this blog post. You can see even more photos from the event on Facebook here.