Climbing and Advocacy
A wise woman once said, “our land, air, and water are not partisan issues.” I completely agree with this statement. One part of this quote I want to focus on is the mention of our land. With the upcoming elections, people are going to the voting booths with ideas, values, and people in mind to vote on. Our land should be one of them.
Why is it Important?
It might be surprising to some, but climbers do have a say and responsibility in the treatment of crags and rock walls outdoors. Many places people climb at are on public lands. We need to keep them open for everyone and allow access to visitors. Because if we don’t have land, we can’t climb outside, period.
However, public land is endangered of being bought by corporations and special interests. Why do businesses want them? Mining, drilling, or building are just a few reasons as to why. Once sold, they’re difficult to get it back. We the people must make sure they don’t buy them.
Let Your Voice be Heard
How do we prevent businesses from taking our land? One way is to contact your elected leaders on the state and congressional levels and let them know this is important to you. Research the issues beforehand and give them the talking points so they know why they should care. Phone calls, email, social media, or snail mail, whatever your preference is to reach them, use it.
Another way is to vote for people who understand why public lands in their state are significant to their voters. Ones who say no industry and special interest groups. Read up on them, so you know who to vote. Support them and let them know this is worth fighting for and defending. If you can afford it, donate to their campaigns. Or if you can, volunteer your time with the candidate before the election and spread the word.
If you think doing these things aren’t enough, you can support public lands in other ways. Find local or state climbing organizations that defend and preserve public lands and volunteer with them. Here in Oklahoma, there’s the Wichita Mountains Climbers Coalition. From their website, they are “dedicated to protecting the climbing resources and the natural environment of the Wichita Mountains.” The WMCC also helps preserve Quartz Mountain, just north of the Wichitas. If you feel inclined to do so, become a member to continue your support with local groups.
If there isn’t a climbing group in your area to support, there’s one called The Access Fund that protects climbing crags across the US. I’m a member of this organization, and I’m proud to say I am for the excellent work they do. Started in 1991, the Access Fund is on a mission to keep climbing areas open and conserve the climbing environment. The organization has six programs that support their mission.
- Climbing policy and advocacy
- Stewardship and conservation
- Local support and mobilization
- Land acquisition and protection
- Risk management and landowner support
The Access Fund a lot of material that’s worth reading if you are interested in becoming a member. There are posts on their website covering what they’ve been doing, campaigns they’re participating in, crag recoveries, and more. You can also find local groups to connect with through their site too. It’s an organization worth checking out.
There’s much to think about regarding the upcoming elections. With Election Day around the corner, please vote at the booth for what’s right. Our lands mean a lot to many people and it would be a travesty if they’re taken from us. I ask of you to fulfill your civic duty this month, wherever you live. You have a voice, let it be heard.