News From WMCC
Each year, a portion of cliff at Farley Ledge is temporarily closed due to peregrine falcon activity. In an effort to support successful nesting of these state protected birds, the WMCC in cooperation with the MA Department of Fisheries and Wildlife enacts a seasonal closure for climbing and hiking. Historically, prior to any formal investigation on the bird's nesting patterns, the WMCC would enact a complete closure of the cliffs each season. However after careful research and inspection conducted by the Mass F&W with assitance from the WMCC, the restricted area and season was refined to better represent the falcon's needs by providing a substantial buffer zone while also allowing for recreational use. Over the years, the falcons have continued to return and have reportedly been successfully reproducing! The hard work and partnership between the WMCC and Mass F&W is a demonstration of a positive and constructive working relationship to preserve sensitive cliff habitats while maintaining recreational access.
Closure details: Feb 15 - June 15. Signs have been posted throughout Farley. This closure includes climbing on cliffs (from left to right): The Main Slab, The Pinnacle, the Yellow Wall and The Balcony, Pot Ledge Buttress, and Lover's Leap. In addition, all bouldering and roped climbing ABOVE the following boulder problems are closed: Terrordactyl, Tweaky Bird, Appetite for Destruction, and Mid-Sized Man. The boulder problems near Stereogram and Babies as well as the area known as The Four Tiers are OPEN. If you are uncertain about where these formations are, just be sure to stay off the trails, talus and cliffs ABOVE the flagging tape and signs.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Western Massachusetts Climbers’ Coalition
Hadley, MA (February 24, 2014) – Western Massachusetts Climber’s Coalition announces new President!
One of the Northeast’s most active climbing advocacy groups, the Western Massachusetts Climbers Coalition (WMCC), is proud to announce another milestone in its mission to protect our most valuable climbing resources. After twelve years serving the climbing community, WMCC founding member and President Jeff Squire will be handing off the sharp end and stepping down as President of the organization (effective April 2014).
Squire will be passing the rack into the capable, charismatic and highly motivated hands of Peter Clark of Hadley, MA. Mr. Clark will work alongside the WMCC’s membership and five-member Board of Directors, bringing a diverse and deep skill set rooted in natural resource management, non-profit development, and sports marketing. Mr. Clark has been involved with the WMCC for over a decade as a driven volunteer dedicated to bettering the climbing landscape and conservation of the vertical environment. Mr. Clark was elected President by a unanimous vote of the Board of Directors and has, along with Mr. Squire, crafted a transition plan to ensure that the long success the WMCC is paid forward into its next generation of leadership. Squire will remain a Board member of the WMCC and a Special Advisor to Mr. Clark.
“The Western Massachusetts Climber’s Coalition has been on the leading edge of local climbing organizations since its launch in 2002. The work completed under Jeff’s leadership is both inspirational and staggering. Because of his drive, dozens of climbing areas including Farley Ledge are now secure; an achievement that will historically define climbing in Southern New England. It’s hardly enough, but I know I speak for the entire WMCC membership and every climber who has ever walked the Red Trail at Farley in thanking Jeff for his tireless service on our behalf. I look forward to the challenges the next 10 years will bring us and aspire to the example that Jeff has set for us all.” said Clark. “The WMCC is in an exciting place with several shovel-ready projects. With stage one of the Farley Ledge Preservation project nearly completed, we plan to work even harder to develop stronger relationships with landowners to further secure climbing access throughout the Commonwealth, grow support with private and government agencies as well as within our own community to strengthen our voice, and engage with future generations to educate the next group of stewards of these places we love.”
Squire, author of the original Farley Management Plan, which is directly credited for opening the door for climbing access remarked, “On a muggy summer evening in 2002, a few climbers got together to think about how to protect our favorite climbing area. We penned a few ideas on a napkin and at the top we wrote ‘Western Mass Climbers’ Coalition,’ which is exactly what we became. Nearly fifteen years later, that spirit of banding together to protect the climbing experience has helped us negotiate access to several premier crags hosting over 2,000 routes and boulder problems and to represent thousands of climbers throughout the East Coast. Climbing and its community in Western Massachusetts is in my blood and will always be a part of my life. It has been my sincere privilege to have worked with all of our dedicated volunteers, develop relationships with the landowners that let us climb on their land, and help build a cohesive voice to represent the interests of climbers everywhere. I look forward to heading out to the crag!”
Integrated into one of the organization’s yearly events, we will be honoring Mr. Squire at the WMCC Annual Silent Auction (April 6th, 2014 at Café Esselon in Hadley). We encourage everyone to mark their calendars, dry clean their puffy jackets and formal wear, and prepare for an evening of merriment!
As you may or may not be aware, the WMCC has been actively working with the Town of Leverett to develop management strategies for rock-climbing in Rattlesnake Gutter. Currently, climbing is neither prohibited nor actively managed in the Town owned portion of the Gutter, which includes the majority of the boulders and cliffs within the gated road. In June, the Leverett Conservation Commission agreed to endorse WMCC efforts aimed at investigating the re-introduction of climbing in the area known as the "Main Cliff"-a privately owned section that has been closed to climbers (and the general public) since the late 80's.
The Town of Leverett had recently purchased land for conservation purposes at the top of the "Main Cliff". This land was purchased using Community Preservation Act funding, which requires that land must also have a Conservation Restriction (CR) placed on it. According to state law, this CR must be held by an entity other than the Town. The obvious choice to hold the CR was the Rattlesnake Gutter Trust (RGT), a local land trust comprised of passionate, mindful, and dedicated volunteers who work to protect land in Leverett.