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Farley Ledge Access Situation
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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Apr 29, 2009
Pulling a small roof at 2/3 height on Mission Impossible.  Adam Sanders photo.

I was recently asked by the Western Mass Climber's Coalition to delete all route beta for Farley Ledge from this website because:

"the majority of the crags are on private property who's owners can close at any moment. Until we are able to secure permanent access, local consensus has voted that Farley will not have a public guidebook or route information published. Growing popularity of the crag has increased concerns and publishing more and often incorrect information will only add to our current challenges and potentially jeapordize future access."

If you have an opinion on this, please share it here.

Thanks


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By Eric Engberg
Apr 29, 2009

Monomaniac wrote:
I was recently asked by the Western Mass Climber's Coalition to delete all route beta for Farley Ledge from this website because: "the majority of the crags are on private property who's owners can close at any moment. Until we are able to secure permanent access, local consensus has voted that Farley will not have a public guidebook or route information published. Growing popularity of the crag has increased concerns and publishing more and often incorrect information will only add to our current challenges and potentially jeapordize future access." If you have an opinion on this, please share it here. Thanks


Absolutely postively remove it.


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By Peter Gill
Apr 29, 2009

Please remove it. A huge amount of effort (both time and money) has been spent in the past few years to secure the access and climbing privileges we all can enjoy at this time. It would be tragic to jeopardize all that has been accomplished while the locals continue to work out long term solutions. No guide does not mean no climbing.


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By monk
Apr 29, 2009

I am against removing the routes that are on public land - even if it jeopardizes access on the private land. I think it's OK to remove the routes that are on private land.

Is it possible to keep the info on the public crags and only remove the routes that are on private land? If there are doubts as to what's public and what's private, I think we should keep the route until someone shows it is private.


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By Coz Teplitz
From Watertown, MA
Apr 29, 2009
Me before a cold Nov day at the Gunks, 2007.

Off the cuff and without much knowledge, I disagree with a blanket removal of all Farley information. I'm of the opinion that if we provide climbers with all the information, the large majority of them will behave appropriately. Importantly, though, that information needs to be correct.

If I read the comment from the WMCC correctly, I understand the (multiple) concerns to be as follows:
(1) A number of Farley crags are on private land, and those land owners can restrict access at any point.
(2) More folks are coming to Farley now that in years past.
(3) The increasing number of climbers at Farley is making climbers' impact more noticeable.
(4) Crag information on Mountain Project is "often incorrect".
(5) There is no other reliable source of information about the crag.

I perceive the request for removal of info as an attempt to curtail item (2). That is, there is an assumption that if there is less information, fewer people are going to visit. If numbers diminish, perhaps the WMCC can negotiate permanent access agreements which, once in place, can accommodate larger numbers. (This is my understanding of the WMCC argument for info removal. If I am incorrect, I encourage someone from the WMCC to describe the argument more fully.)

I disagree with this argument - I don't think that removal of the information from Mountain Project is going to substantially reduce the numbers of folks that visit. I think the word is out, and people will continue to come regardless of whether they know the name of the route they are climbing. In my view, people will be coming, and it is best to provide them with the most accurate information possible. If we offer this information, then I think the large majority will change their behavior to do the "right" thing.

Let me use myself as an anecdote, since I may be one of the people that is perceived as part of the recent problem. I've started going to Farley within the last year. I heard about it from a friend who grew up in the area and drove out Rt 2 to check it out one day. I met an incredibly friendly local who showed me and my climbing partner around, make route and problem recommendations, and even climbed with us for a little while. Smitten (with the place, not the local), I've started making the trip from Boston about once a month. I do not know what the route names or grades are, nor do I know for certain who owns the land. I WANT this information, not to spray to my friends about the slopey 5.12 that I keep falling off of but to make sure that I am doing the right thing. If I knew that access was being threatened by increased use, and that some of the crags were on private land, I would limit my use and avoid the private crags.

Therefore, I support something like monk's suggestion: a frank overview of the situation, with descriptions of crags on private and public land, and a plea to limit use until access issues can be secured.

And although the WMCC does not have to explain its behavior to me (I am thoroughly impressed by and respectful of all the work that the organization has done and continues to do), I would appreciate it if someone from the organization could speak to what the prospects are for securing long-term access. In other words, is there a hope that if we temporarily reduce use, long-term access agreements can be created? Or are such agreements less likely to happen? If the latter is the case then the climbing community has a bigger issue to deal with than a temporary reduction in numbers achieved through the removal of Mountain Project info.


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By Jake D.
From Northeast
Apr 29, 2009

REMOVE THE INFO

Those guys have spend HOURS AND HOURS of their own time, money, energy in securing access to that place. The request was probably from one of the new people who've cleaned, bolted, FA'd the routes there too so show a little gratitude and respect their wishes

Who are you to fuck it up for them when i bet most (including myself) haven't done a thing except enjoy the routes there.


again... remove the information upon the request of the organization in charge of the access for the area.

i don't see why this is even a question.


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By Josh Squire
From East Boston, MA
Apr 29, 2009
This climb is called Toe Jam. Super nice climb. I thought it was a little stiff, but then again, everything is stiff there.

I am a relatively new user of Farley and I have no problem with there not being a guidebook. Actually I find it kind of refreshing. But, if there is a mix of public and private land, and climbers are asked to adhere to certain guidelines, then something needs to be published. I for one, have no idea which crags are on public land and which are on private. And, are we allowed to climb on the private ones or are we NOT allowed?

Josh


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By Lanky
From Portland, ME
Apr 30, 2009

Shouldn't MP strive to have a positive influence on access? So shouldn't MP strive to work with local access organizations instead of against them?

I say remove route info but save a backup copy (if possible). That way once access is secure enough it can be reinstated.


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By Alan Emery
From Lebanon, NH
Apr 30, 2009

I have climbed in areas that are pretty nice, but on private property. If information were to be made public, like this forum, and more people came, they would not hesitate to close the areas. It is their land, not ours. We are their guests.


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By clemay
From Boulder, CO
Apr 30, 2009

Peter is right, a lot of their own money and time by the WMCC and with the help of the Access Fund the past few years have worked together to secure some access and eased tensions with the land owners at Farley.

For now, I think MP can help out is to respect the wishes of the WMCC and delete the information.


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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Apr 30, 2009
Bocan

I haven't been out that way in a few years, and everyone I knew from back home (Hartford) climbed their by word of mouth regardless. I usually stayed away trying to respect WMC's call on their website. That was probably about 4 years ago.

So if they've secured some access, is it a case of who's ever already there can climb, but nobody else is welcome? I understand the desire to keep things low key to keep the population down, but keep it real. Why doesn't EVERYONE stop climbing there then?

Sounds a little elitist to me, like the whole Mt. Evans argument. Don't print a guidebook because it will bring too many people that will impact the environment and ranger relations. But that doesn't include MY climbing. i don't think anyone likes to have too many people at THEIR local crag.

Oh I do appreciate all the work that these groups put into securing access.

Just my .02. I just really wonder how many of the WMCC guys are NOT climbing there to help preserve the access and keep the crowds low. But then again I haven't been out there in a while, so I'm not sure how much the situation has changed.


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By Lizz Bartlett
From Arlington, MA
Apr 30, 2009

For all interested parties, this Saturday is a work day at Farley. The WMCC is planning to put the finishing touches on their parking area. Be there at 10AM. More hands make short work and you can get the real info from them. Then climb as much as you want.

\Cheers!
Lizz


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By monk
Apr 30, 2009

I disagree with the WMCC restricting information to routes on their land.

Having said that, I've changed my mind. It's their land (I thought it was public, it isn't). So if they want to restrict information I think we should respect that and remove the routes on their land.

I should note I admire what the MWCC has done, and they seem to be encouraging people to come to Farley (they put up a nice page here: www.westernmacc.com/climbing/farley.htm). I disagree with the policy because it keeps people like me away :-) I'm a *very* conservative climber. I like to know what I'm getting on before I start up. I would be nice if the WMCC would let sites like MP publish route information at Farley.


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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Apr 30, 2009
Bocan

Thanks for the link monk, haven't been on the site in a long time.

Man I miss all those trees!! The damp smell of NE woods, all abuzz with the birds and bugs.

Might be time for a trip home! :o)


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By JSH
Administrator
Apr 30, 2009
JSH @ home <br /> <br />photo courtesy of Gabe Ostriker

George Perkins wrote:
But will anyone know how to get there if the information is removed from Mountain Project?


Exactly. If all MP will ever offer is a subset of what guidebooks already publish, and everyone keeps their own sandbox private - what's the point?

Perhaps the routes can stay published, but with a big red "Please respect private property (ie, be quiet, pack out your trash, etc), and spread the word" on top of them.

I too admire what the WMCC's done ... but if the end result is something that's closed to me both in terms of climbing and information, I'm a little less supportive.

I'd like to climb at Farley sometime, but I'm *highly* unlikely to go there blind. Adventure of the unknown is one thing, but going there knowing that you're essentially being snubbed is another.


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By ward smith
Apr 30, 2009

Printed route information does absolutely bring more people, I don't see how anyone can even debate that. The probelm at farley is that the parking is very limited, and people who drive for 2 hours to get here WILL climb here even if the lot is full. Parking along Route 2, etc. will only lead to problems.

The WMCC has worked hard to get to where we are now. Climbers are welcome, but not publishing a guidebook is the only way we could come up with to limit the amount of traffic somehwhat. I will gurantee you that if Rock and Ice published a "mini-guide" to Farley there would be over 100 cars here the next weekend, and the area cannot handle that at present.

Ward


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By Peter Gill
Apr 30, 2009

Scott - I am a local WMCC climber. I have not gone to Farley on weekends this season because of the crowds. This is in part due to wanting to avoid congestion and part to limit number of people/impact. I am fortunate to not have to drive far and know of other areas to keep me busy (listed on MP). I am not the only local to have done the same.

Coz - The WMCC is actively looking to resolve the long term issues. I think the prospects are good something can be/will be worked out. Unfortunately it will not happen soon.

There is now a sign at the main parking area that shows what cliffs are on the different parcels of private property.

In a sense the WMCC has brought this issue on ourselves. The group work hard to create the access and parking area available now. In the process they brought attention to the area and invited other climbers. We knew it would become popular. Now we are trying to manage impact. It is a fine line.

One of the best ways is for climbers to regulate themselves. This can happen on a larger scale (asking MP and others to limit area information) and on a individual level. If you come and visit enjoy the climbing but don't park where you shouldn't, don't climb in closed areas (nesting falcons), don't build fires near your boulder problem and don't bring your pet goat along (yes it happened).


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By ward smith
Apr 30, 2009

JSH wrote:
Adventure of the unknown is one thing, but going there knowing that you're essentially being snubbed is another.



Nobody is being snubbed, if you show up someone will show you around I'm sure. If you can come up with a better way to limit the number of people coming we'd all like to hear it. !5 spaces is 15 spaces; there are 8 more in the neighborhood and maybe 10 max more across the river. There were 40 cars there a few weekends ago. No mas!


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By JSH
Administrator
Apr 30, 2009
JSH @ home <br /> <br />photo courtesy of Gabe Ostriker

ward smith wrote:
if you show up someone will show you around I'm sure.


I've always understood that to be the case, even before the WMCC. Yet, I'm 100% unlikely to head out there in hopes of a random guide being there and being willing to waste his/her day on me.


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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Apr 30, 2009
Bocan

Peter Gill wrote:
Scott - I am a local WMCC climber. I have not gone to Farley on weekends this season because of the crowds. This is in part due to wanting to avoid congestion and part to limit number of people/impact. I am fortunate to not have to drive far and know of other areas to keep me busy (listed on MP). I am not the only local to have done the same.


Very cool..I was just more curious as most people take the NIMBY approach as far as impact etc is concerned. It's always the "others" that are the ones ruining the scene.


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By rob sullivan
Apr 30, 2009

I am a long time WMCC volunteer and I believe the route information should be taken off MP. This is strictly to preserve access to this resource. A guidebook - even an online guide - will increase use to an unsustainable degree.

There are precedents for this treatment: neither Mill Creek nor Lost City is listed on MP.

As of now, the only thing the WMCC owns (actually, we still owe 40K) is a 7 acre parcel upon which sits a parking lot and an approach trail. ALL climbing and most of the trails are owned by three different private landowners. We are guests and overuse will shut the place down. It has been shut down four times in the recent past but not once since the WMCC got involved.

I believe a guide is perfectly appropriate once the access to the stone is bomb-proof, i.e. when we have purchased the land the rock lies on. This is our primary goal, but it can only be achieved with the help of you folks.

This - preserving access - is hard, but very important work. And, once again, we could really use your help. While we desperately need folks to donate money and volunteer time, we also need your support about decisions such as this one.

And like most locals, I would be proud to show you around Farley or any of the other crags. My e mail is rob_sullivan@yahoo.com - let me know when you want to go.


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By Coz Teplitz
From Watertown, MA
Apr 30, 2009
Me before a cold Nov day at the Gunks, 2007.

ward smith wrote:
Printed route information does absolutely bring more people, I don't see how anyone can even debate that.


Ward, just to clarify, I am not debating this point. I think a printed guidebook - as traditionally conceived - would indeed bring more people than no information. However, I think that even if you remove information, LOTS of people will still show up; I don't think that removing the information will result in the precipitous drop in numbers that the WMCC is looking for. Given that, I'd rather have more info - and accurate info - than nothing.

However, given the large number of concerns voiced by folks on this forum, I'd be curious to give it a shot. Take the info down, but leave up a page saying access is threatened and info is being temporarily withheld until access can be secured. Then get some data about the results - number of cars in the lots before and after removal, that sort of thing. See if removal really DOES make a difference. I'd offer to do it myself, but I've got commitments for the next few weekends.


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By pete clark
Apr 30, 2009

Cheers to Ol' Rob Sullivan for succinctly stating some things that needed to be said.

Please remove the route information. Thanks


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By Blake Cash
Apr 30, 2009

This is an issue of sustainability. Farley cannot sustain the traffic that will ensue as a direct result of readily available route info and publicity (this is what's being worked on and what has been the focal point of all work however). Please remove the route information for this place. The fight has been too long and too tenuous to have it even mildly affected by an internet website. You can speak to any person who calls themselves a local there (myself included, even though I have relocated), and we will gladly give you any and all information that you want. It's not elitist and it's not some "club", it's people who are close to the situation who realize that good things take a lot of time and a lot of effort and realize what's best for the area at the moment.


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By kenM
Apr 30, 2009

Despite being extremely local I have avoided climbing at farley for the last three years...every little bit helps.

Well put Rob and Ward. Carry on.


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By zebra
Apr 30, 2009

The administrator should not feel pressured by the community to remove accurate information. The WMCC should contact the specific users who posted the route info rather than going through the administrator.

I agree, the existence of available information will increase traffic and threaten access to Farley. The core of this argument is deeper: it is a question of censorship. In this situation, the censorship is not justifiable. Rather than obscure the facts, give the climber ALL the information and let him/her make the decision whether to venture to Farley. Instead of masking a small piece of Farley knowledge, post additional information (such as the main points in this forum) to paint a more transparent picture.


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