Does Massachusetts need a Greater Boston/Eastern climbing organization (LCO)?


Original Post
Tim McGivern · · Medford, ma · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 7,761

Massachusetts has seen the successful rise of Western Mass Climbing Coalition and most recently Cape Ann Climbing Coalition. These groups are incredibly important. They give one voice to the climbing community when dealing with matters of access, preservation, conservation, and agreements between other entities such as governments and land owners.

As someone who lives and climbs in the Greater Boston area, I don't see a group of climbers that has coalesced to work on these issues. Recently there has been a boom of bouldering development on the north side and the south side of Boston. Some of this bouldering is on state land, some is on municipal land, some is on private land, and all of it is subject to present and future potential access issues.

I'd like to gauge the interest of folks who climb in the Greater Boston area in creating a coalition of our community so we can create a unified voice. The good thing is we don't need to re-invent the wheel. The two groups that currently exist here have lessons to share I'm sure.

I do realize that the AMC, MIT and Harvard have all had groups in the past that have advocated for climbing in Eastern Massachusetts, but I think we need a permanent group and sustained effort to keep our playgrounds safe.

Please reply to this thread if you have interest or send me a message and we can begin to plan a time and place for an informal meeting.

Thanks for your time,
Tim McGivern

Kevin Heckeler · · Upstate New York · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 1,366
Tim McGivern wrote:I do realize that the AMC, MIT and Harvard have all had groups in the past that have advocated for climbing in Eastern Massachusetts, but I think we need a permanent group and sustained effort to keep our playgrounds safe.
Considering the current political landscape, and increased for-profit pressures (as well as overuse issues) specific to public lands, it would seem ALL major climbing areas should be organizing in such a way.

We need to stop treating our access as a given and our sport as fringe. Without centralized leadership, laws and regulations get passed without our input and consideration.

/public service announcement
Tim McGivern · · Medford, ma · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 7,761

Thanks Kevin. Do you live in the Greater Boston area? Would you be interested in helping out?

Alan Rubin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

Tim, As a WMCC Board member I can say that we very much are in favor of your idea---we have been interested in such an organization being established for years. I have no doubt that we would be more than willing to assist and advise you in your efforts. We have established a "central Mass. sub-group", chaired by Tony Gardner (4tanda@gmail.com)so he is a good contact person for you. As you mentioned the Boston AMC climbers committee has been involved off and I in access issues in the area for decades but I don't know if they are working on any current projects. Eric Engberg is a good contact there--posts on here as Old Eric.

Good luck. Alan

Eric Engberg · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 0

As Al mentioned the Mountaineering Committee of the Boston Chapter of the AMC has attempted to keep aware of access issues in the eastern MA area. But usually in a reactive manner after something comes up. We certainly would be willing to be more involved in an eastern MA LCO. You can contact me at:

chair@amcbostonclimbers.com

Eric

Tim McGivern · · Medford, ma · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 7,761

Hi Alan and Eric - This is great! Glad to see you guys chime in. I've been in contact with Josh Surette over the last couple days and plan to attend the next WMCC. Eric, I"ll go ahead and contact you off-thread in the next day or so. I'd like to hear more interest from folks who live and climb around here. I'd also like to get a feel for local groups of climbers I don't personally know. If i've guessed right, there are plenty of folks out there who have desired for such a group. If my hunch is right I"ll try to organize an informal meet-up to get things off the ground.
Tim

Emmett Lyman · · Somerville, MA · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 35

Agree - feels like AMC is the right tool for this job as it's the de facto voice for area climbers in terms of training, mentorship, and community already. Some really good people on the committee (including Eric!) with tons of talent and experience.

Tim McGivern · · Medford, ma · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 7,761

Hope your right. I'll swing back with any updates.

Kevin Heckeler · · Upstate New York · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 1,366
Tim McGivern wrote:Thanks Kevin. Do you live in the Greater Boston area? Would you be interested in helping out?
"Upstate New York"

Eastern Mass is a 2.5+ hour drive, so I haven't ever climbed out there (due to the fact I have so much closer than that to me).

There *should* be thousands of climbers eager to help out though, just a matter of getting connected with them as it sounds like you are.

Hi Al.
Alissa Doherty · · Boston, MA · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 75

I agree that aligning with AMC Boston Climbers is a great way to go! They have a long history of educating new climbers and getting involved in local access projects. Eric will be able to fill you in on this history and he has decades of experience to share (sorry if I'm dating you, Eric).

From my perspective, the community could use some more elbow grease. Getting involved sounds great in theory...until you need to give up climbing time to get down to work :) There are some really dedicated folks who do it, but it's hard to keep pace with the fast growth of our sport.

On that note, kudos to you, Tim. I hope your vision for a unified voice comes to fruition.

Ami Campbell · · Somerville, MA · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

Tim - Thank you for asking this question and putting the idea out there. I'm in the Greater Boston area and interested in helping to organize an LCO.

Now is the time to get organized so we can be proactive rather than reactive!

I'll send you a message with my contact info.

Tim McGivern · · Medford, ma · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 7,761

Thanks Ami- I got your email and will add you to the list. I'll reach out with some next steps.
Tim

Mike Morin · · North Conway, NH · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 905

Hi Tim,

The Access Fund has some great online resources that can help guide your efforts as you begin to organize. Check out the LCO Toolbox to access information on the nuts and bolts of forming a Local Climbing Organization. Also, please add me to your list of interested individuals. I'm happy to help out and support your efforts in any way that I can. You can contact me at:

mike@accessfund.org

Mike Morin
Access Fund Northeast Regional Director

john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,575

I would go with Mike's suggestion. The AMC is a much larger group and focused on many things...

Mike Morin · · North Conway, NH · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 905

I'm in no way trying to suggest that this new group shouldn't work with the AMC. I'm simply offering my support along with the other interested parties. I think forming an Eastern Mass. LCO is a great idea and having a broad array of partners supporting the effort will only makes it a stronger organization.

Eric Engberg · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 0
john strand wrote:I would go with Mike's suggestion. The AMC is a much larger group and focused on many things...
I think this is true of the AMC as a whole but what most people don't realize is that the AMC is not as monolithic organization as you might expect but actually has a lot of groups/committees within that act somewhat autonomously. The Mountaineering Committee of the Boston Chapter (Eastern MA) of the AMC is one such group that IS pretty much exclusively focused on climbing stuff.

There are some advantages being associated with the AMC in terms of available resource (clout and $$$). I invited Tim to come to one of our committee meeting do discuss plans.

I do think there should be an independent LCO but hopefully they can work closely with the BCMC.
john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,575

Eric--I won't argue the clout...just the focus

Tim McGivern · · Medford, ma · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 7,761

Thanks Mike. In fact I browsed around the AF resources and had some brief convos with the other LCOs before leading to this post. Tons of very useful info! Let's keep the ball rolling and I'll tally a list of interested folks. I'll send out an update to the list in the coming weeks. Glad to hear folks in general see a need for an LCO. I'm looking forward to learning more about AMC Boston and the best way to collaborate/coordinate.
Tim

Tim McGivern · · Medford, ma · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 7,761

Below is text that interested folks can use to get the word out via email. Please copy and paste as you see fit. Thank you.

  • ******************************
Dear Massachusetts Climber friend,

Massachusetts has seen a boom of climbing and bouldering development on the
north and south side of Boston in recent years. Lynn Woods, Peabody,
Milford, Gilbert Hills, and Cape Ann have all seen expansions in the volume
of documented climbing available. I've personally been involved with the
documentation and development of many of the areas in Lynn Woods and other
wonderful spots in Peabody. With all this positive comes the inevitable
negative. Some of this climbing is on state land, some is on municipal
land, some is on private land, and all of it is subject to present and
future potential access issues or even cliff/boulder destruction (we've
seen this recently in Lynn and Peabody). Of course we also still have the
well established crags like Quincy Quarries, College Rock, Black and White
Rocks, Crow Hill, Hammond Pond, etc. that will need maintenance, and the
continuing protection of access as the years press on. Plenty of work to do
to protect what we love.

Massachusetts has also seen the successful rise of the Western Mass
Climbing Coalition and most recently Cape Ann Climbing Coalition. These
groups are incredibly important. They give one voice to the climbing
community when dealing with matters of access, preservation, conservation,
and agreements between other entities such as governments and land owners.
These groups are the driving forces in protecting, acquiring, and
maintaining the climbing areas we love. These are also the groups that can
work with the Access Fund when the need arises.

As someone who has lived and climbed in the Greater Boston area for almost
20 years I have seen and heard about a handful of groups such as AMC, MIT
and Harvard advocate for climbing in Eastern MA; however, it is my opinion
(and that of others as well) that a coalition is needed that can be a
permanent group that is responsible for preserving, obtaining, and
maintaining the dozens of crags and bouldering areas between Worcester and
the Atlantic. This coalition will be comprised of climbers like you who
want to be part of the Eastern MA climbing community and give back in a way
that fits with their life whether it's attending annual cleanups, providing
a donation for hardware replacements, or taking on a access project at a
crag they love. Even being a name on a list is helpful!

All YOU need to do at this point is two simple things:

1) If you are interested in being involved in or getting updates on an
Eastern Massachusetts Climbing Coalition please send an email to
  • tim.mcgivern@gmail.com
with "Eastern MA LCO" in the subject line*. (feel
free to send your thoughts/suggestions/advice as well in the same email).

2) *Please help out this initial effort by sending this request to your
climbing network who live and/or climb in Massachusetts*! Thanks!

Thank you everyone!
Tim (tim.mcgivern@gmail.com)
  • **************************
Tim McGivern · · Medford, ma · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 7,761

The kick off meeting for the Eastern MA LCO will be on May 25th at Central Rock Gym in Watertown. Please RSVP at the link below if you plan to attend. There is a possibility that Rhode Island will be included in this LCO as well, so if you're home crag is in RI, you are also invited. Thank you.

http://evite.me/bcZEDp1WMw

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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