Rumney’s Final Frontier: Preserve the Northwest Crags

February 24, 2016

February 24, 2016. Rumney, NH – Rumney Climber’s Association (RCA) and Access Fund are pleased to announce they have secured the exclusive right to purchase Rumney’s Northwest Crags for permanent conservation and climbing access. The Northwest Crags are the final set of privately owned climbing resources at the central New Hampshire sport climbing mecca. Now we need the community’s help to raise $300,000 for the purchase and stewardship of Rumney’s Northwest Crags.

With the community’s help, RCA is poised to acquire and permanently protect six crags—including Northwest Territories, Buffalo Pit, Northwest Passage, Prudential, Asylum, and western portion of the Black Jack Boulders—which account for approximately 12% of developed routes at Rumney, with potential for more. “The routes are less travelled and the experience is less urban than the more frequented crags at Rumney,” says RCA board member Jay Knower. “Given the issues of overcrowding at popular crags, adding this area will provide climbers more options for their climbing days.”

The 86-acre property extends half a mile along Buffalo Road and gains 600 feet up the forested slopes of Rattlesnake Mountain. It borders White Mountain National Forest and offers extensive views of the valley below. The beautiful, untouched nature of the property is what attracted landowners Gary and Robyn Zielinki to purchase the property 25 years ago. When they expressed interest in conserving their land, Access Fund and RCA offered their support.

In 1994, Access Fund worked with the local community to purchase 36 acres of private property at Rumney for climbing access. The acquisition protected The Meadows, 5.8 Crag, Monsters, and important habitat for nesting raptors and plants. In this signature “hold and transfer” project, Access Fund held the property for a year while RCA volunteers built the main parking lot and trail improvements before transferring it to the US Forest Service (USFS) for long-term protection. Conservation of the Northwest Crags will draw on a similar conservation strategy and comes just a couple months after RCA and the USFS collaborated together to update the 2008 Rumney Climbing Management Plan.

“We are excited to bring this story full circle by supporting RCA’s efforts to secure Rumney’s final frontier,” says Access Fund Executive Director Brady Robinson. “Our acquisition 22 years ago formed a partnership between Access Fund and the newly formed RCA, and we are proud of all they have achieved to protect this New England gem.”

After a year of discussions, RCA, Access Fund, and the Northwest Crags’ landowners agreed to a purchase price of $185,000. Access Fund extended $10,000 of short-term financing from its Climbing Conservation Loan Program to secure the Option Agreement. RCA now has until December of 2016 to raise the necessary funds to complete the purchase.

Once the purchase is complete, RCA will work with White Mountain National Forest on construction of a new parking area and trail system to the Northwest Crags, which will help alleviate crowding at the main parking area and crags. The final phase will be to transfer the property to the USFS for permanent conservation. The USFS, with support from RCA and Access Fund, will seek federal funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, to complete the hold and transfer and match climbers’ donations.

“The White Mountain National Forest is very excited about this acquisition. This property will provide new climbing opportunities,” says Jon Morrissey, District Ranger of the Pemigewasset Ranger District.” We look forward to working together with RCA on this final phase of land protection at Rumney Rocks.”

Many local and professional athletes cut their teeth at Rumney. “My early years as a climber were spent in Rumney,” says professional climber Joe Kinder. “It is what shaped me as a climber today. And it’s why all of us to need to take initiative and help protect areas like Rumney—so future climbers can share the same experience.”

We need your help! The community has until December of this year to raise funds for both the acquisition and future stewardship improvements. Donate today at: www.climbrumney.com/finalfrontier 

About Rumney Climbers Association

The Rumney Climbers Association is a nationally recognized 501(c)3 nonprofit and represents a large community of climbers with the common goal of preserving the climbing resource located on Rattlesnake Mountain. RCA was formed during the early 1990s when Rumney needed to secure access to critical cliffs. Through collaborative efforts and education, RCA works to ensure that the impact and influence rock climbers have on this natural resource is positive! Learn more at www.climbrumney.com.

About the Access Fund

The Access Fund is the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment. Founded in 1991, the Access Fund supports and represents millions of climbers nationwide in all forms of climbing: rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, and bouldering. Six core programs support the mission on national and local levels: climbing management policy, stewardship and conservation, local support and mobilization, land acquisition and protection, risk management and landowner support, and education. Since 1991, the Access Fund has supported 52 land acquisitions by land trusts, public entities, and local climbing organizations, totaling 15,623 acres across twenty-seven states. For more information, visit www.accessfund.org.