The Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign (AFLCC) is gaining momentum and helping local climbing access groups save endangered climbing areas. The AFLCC is a multimillion-dollar revolving loan program designed to provide local climbing organizations and other agencies with the funds and expertise needed to act quickly to save threatened climbing areas. While a portion of the Access Funds focus and revenues has always been allocated to acquisition and protection of threatened land, the new AFLCC program will expand on this capability.
The AFLCC already has two successful pilot projects underway. The first is a $15,000 bridge loan to secure an option agreement for the acquisition of the Lower Index Town Wall in Washington. The second is a $20,000 bridge loan to Southeastern Climbers Coalition (SCC) to help facilitate the purchase of a 29-acre cliff line in Steele, Alabama.
“Over the years, weve seen more private climbing areas changing hands, some of them lost to cash-ready developers. Local climbers dont always have the money or the resources to save these climbing areas. This program was designed to help them,” says Brady Robinson, Access Fund Executive Director. “The desire to keep these recreational areas open is the goal of the AFLCC and we are pleased with the extraordinary level of support from industry leaders such as prAna, The North Face, Mammut, Outdoor Research, Petzl, Mountain Gear, and Black Diamond.”
The AFLCC will provide local climbing organizations with short-term loans and expertise on direct acquisitions, leases, easements, and other tactics. This assistance and bridge financing for time-sensitive projects will give local climbers the opportunity to raise money over a longer period of time and/or finalize take-out strategies. In addition to loans, the AFLCC may also offer grants for direct conservation efforts, including acquisitions and other projects that protect climbing areas on private land.
The Access Fund has been fundraising for the campaign for 14 months and is over halfway toward its goal of $2.5 million. To date, the AFLCC has been supported by a number of generous individuals and companies within the outdoor industry.