Board Minutes: September 22, 2021


A Zoom meeting of the board of directors of Western Mass Climbers Coalition (WMCC, a Massachusetts Nonprofit corporation), was held on September 22, 2021 at 7p ET pursuant to notice given in accordance with Article 11, Section 3 of the WMCC’s bylaws.
This meeting was open to all members of the WMCC.

Stephanie Giguere, President; Dolci Mascolo, co-VP; Sara McFadden, co-VP; Pamela Matsuda-Dunn, Treasurer; Wayne Burleson; Rob Sullivan; Alec Baker, Michelle Bourget, Ryan Brown, Christopher Caplinger, Dan Navarro, Jessica Schiffman, Josh Seamon, Jeff Squire

Stephanie Giguere called the meeting to order. Based on the number of directors in attendance at the meeting and the Non-Profit’s by-laws, the Secretary determined that a quorum was present and stated that the meeting could proceed.opics discussed and decisions made follow below.


Stephanie welcomed the Board and WMCC members to the meeting. Wayne Burleson, former president of the WMCC, stepped down from his duties in July and will step down from the Board at the end of this month. Stephanie thanked him for his service and the projects that had been initiated during his term.

Nominations and Deadlines:

  • Deadline for nominations is today, Sept. 22
  • Voting will occur via emailed ballots October15 to November 15. Running for election are Sam Copland, Danielle Rao, Josh Seamon, and Rob Sullivan.

Dolci Mascolo gave general updates on WMCC’s activities:
  • Congratulations to Sara McFadden on accepting the position of JDEI Committee chair, replacing Michelle Dedischew-Lloyd, who stepped down this summer.
  • Congratulations to Josh Seamon, who is our new Volunteer Coordinator.
  • Bylaws and the new Mission Statement have been approved and submitted to the state.
  • Minutes from board meetings can now be found on the website.

Membership Update for Q3 2021:

Stephanie reported that we have increased our membership from a little under 150 members last year at this time to 225 members, with an increase of 55 new members just in this calendar year. The average membership contribution is $45, which is considerably up from previous years due to the different membership categories introduced by Stephanie.

Membership Stats Q3 2021 (1)

It was suggested at the last meeting to put a list of members on the website with donation levels. This was not very popular among people signing up, so we have nixed that plan.

October will be our first annual membership drive. The goal is to sign up 50 members, either new or lapsed. New members signing up in October will receive a discount on the new WMCC t-shirts.

JDEI Committee update:

Dolci Mascolo reported that Eliana Wallack, a competitive paraclimber on the JDEI Committee, did a survey of adaptive climbers and the response  was overwhelmingly in favor of having an ADA porta-potty at Hanging Mountain (HM).

Also at Eliana’s suggestion, we are adding distances from the parking lot and to each crag to the HM guidebook and to the map at the kiosk in the parking lot. The guidebook will have pictures of the trailhead and be downloadable as a free PDF and eventually be available as a Gunks app.

Other JDEI initiatives at Hanging Mountain
All signs will have a visual, so language will not be a barrier to climbers. Other signs include a Safe Space sign, Land Acknowledgement for the Stockbridge-Munsee Band, and one for an Accessible parking spot.

JDEI Volunteers
We are preparing a questionnaire to see what specific areas people might want to be involved in:
• Speaker series
• Accessibility
• Indigenous Peoples – outreach and programs, including youth climbing
• Route Names

Those who want to volunteer for JDEI activities can sign up at this link.

Financial Update

Operating Reserve
: The board recently formalized an Operating Reserve Policy. It will be calculated at 18 months of our operating costs, or $22,500. The Operating Reserve policy will ensure WMCC’s financial health and stability. It will help us to budget and plan for future projects and spending, as well as to set fundraising goals.

Access Fund Loan
: Will be paid off in the first quarter of 2022.

FERC/FL Update

Pamela Matsuda-Dunn reported that, in accordance with a unanimous vote by the board, she is asking First Light Power (FL) to transfer 40 acres covering the Farley Ledges climbing area to WMCC. The next settlement meeting with FL and stakeholders is September 30.

Hanging Mountain Stewardship Committee Update

Rob Sullivan reported that the MassTrails grant of $25,500 has been granted and is now in effect. All funding from this grant must be spent by December 2022. The grant covers a small expansion to the Hanging Mountain lot, signage, trail construction tools, a prefab shed, and technical trail work from the AMC trail crew.

Half of Hanging Mountain has been established. A route development protocol for the remainder is being established.

Opening Date is October 2nd. There will be a tabling events each weekend in October at HM. The goal is to welcome people, collect donations, sign up new members, and establish expectations at the crags (dogs on leash, helmets, etc.)

Celebration for the opening of HM: tentatively scheduled for Saturday, October 16.

Other Upcoming Events
Hanging Mountain opening date: Oct. 2nd
Board elections: Oct. 15th-Nov. 15th
Membership drive: October
Next Quarterly meeting: Dec. 15th
There being no other business to consider, the meeting was adjourned.
The next Board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 20 at 7p via Zoom.

Pamela Matsuda-Dunn

Board Minutes: August 18, 2021


A Zoom meeting of the board of directors of Western Mass Climbers Coalition (WMCC, a Massachusetts Nonprofit corporation), was held on August 18, 2021 at 7p ET pursuant to notice given in accordance with Article 11, Section 3 of the WMCC’s bylaws.

Stephanie Giguere, President; Dolci Mascolo and Sara McFadden, Co-Vice Presidents; Pamela Matsuda-Dunn, Secretary; Wayne Burleson; Rob Sullivan; and Danielle Rao, Treasurer (see note below).
Note: Unanimous votes which occurred before discussion of Hanging Mountain do not include Danielle Rao, Treasurer, who joined the meeting at that point.

Stephanie Giguere called the meeting to order. Based on the number of directors in attendance at the meeting and the Non-Profit’s by-laws, the Secretary determined that a quorum was present and stated that the meeting could proceed.Topics discussed and decisions made follow below.

Community Ascension Project:

Al Rubin had formally submitted his concerns about this program in an email, which was shared with the board prior to the meeting. Tom Sintros, president of the Monadnock Climbers Association, joined the meeting for this portion to help us address some of these concerns. Dolci explained the project, its scope and the goals of the program. Tom spoke about the inception and history of the project.

In response to concerns about the use of the term “colonialism,” that word has been removed from current materials and future flyers.

The board voted unanimously to publicly partner and support the CAP project. As an organizer of the project, Dolci recused herself from the vote.


  • The board voted unanimously to accept the minutes from the July 14 meeting.
  • The new Bylaws were passed unanimously by members who voted on it. Pamela will now submit them plus the new Mission Statement to Stow Kelner to submit to the state of Massachusetts.
  • Congratulations to Sara McFadden as the new chair of the JDEI Committee.
  • Dan Jazwinski is stepping down as Volunteer Coordinator, though he still wants to be involved with WMCC. He will talk to Josh Seamon about taking over this position. Josh is a climber and WMCC member who has expressed an interest in more involvement and has the experience to take on this position.

JDEI Committee report:

A Community Conversation is being planned for the week of September 27 (exact date TBD) from 7-8:30p. Cody Kaemmerlen, Director of Climb United, an initiative of the American Alpine Club, will be our featured guest. Bill Fogel is working with him to determine a date.
The JDEI Committee highly recommends that all WMCC board members watch this video from the AAC:

More information can also be found here:

During this report, a question came up about board oversight of committees. It was decided that this discussion should be tabled for a future meeting.

FERC/FL Update:

The Access Fund Land Acquisition Committee reviewed available information and would prefer that the land in question be transferred directed to WMCC and not to the AF first.

Bill Fogel wrote an email to the board expressing his concern that WMCC was filing its request for the climbing areas in question as an independent organization. The board feels that WMCC will be stronger going into this with a single focus rather than joining forces with the Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC) and the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC). Foremost among the issues is that CRC wants FL to be liable for activities on the land in question; the WMCC board feels that FL will not be willing to be liable for climbing activities and we would lose access for climbing. Pamela will talk to Bill about the board’s decision.

Posting board minutes on the website:

The board discussed and agreed to post approved minutes on the website to keep our members better informed and updated on WMCC activities.

Hanging Mountain (HM) report:

  • Dolci reported that the contract for WMCC’s 2020 Mass Trails Grant of $25,500 has been officially signed and approved by the state. Dependent on the completion of a biological survey and state approval of Phase II, $10,000 of this grant and an additional $7,500 from an AMC Boston grant will be available for professional trail work, The terms of the grant require that we submit invoices for work which must be completed and dated after August 17, 2021.
  • The opening of Hanging Mountain to the public is October 2, 2021.
  • We will open without the Murdock Wall due to the presence of endangered plant species.
  • Steve Johnson needs 2 more days to complete the biological survey required by the state for opening. 
Wayne will touch base with Steve on specific dates for the completion.
  • OPENING: Rob talked to Shannon, event manager for MJ Truckers Roadhouse. She is excited about having an opening event there. They have great sandwiches and will bring in kegs for the crowd. Their pavilion holds 50-60 people. Rob was told that the Town of Sandisfield, where HM is located, does not support commercial camping, but the Cormier family will support camping for the opening.

The Delta variant may prove to be an obstacle to an official opening celebration. The Stewardship Committee will review available information on CoVid as the opening date gets closer. The celebration may be tabled until spring.

ADA restrooms:

HM: There was support for this and an adjacent Reserved space. It was noted that JDEI committee member, Eliana Wallack, had informally polled an adaptive climbers’ group and there was overwhelming support for the idea.

Farley: Jon LaValley will look into the physical feasibility of this.
The board will discuss this at the next meeting as part of the expansion of the Farley parking lot.

Financial Health and Budget:

Stephanie talked to Mark Chuirri, a long-time WMCC member with skills in finance (he is the Finance Manager for EC English Language Centres), who suggested we create an operating reserve. WMCC is in very good financial shape: our annual operating costs are $10,000 and we have $15,000 available for an operating reserve, which is approximately 18 months of our operating costs. This amount could be invested conservatively and would not be drawn upon unless the WMCC is under budget due to unforeseen circumstances or an unexpected and timely expense arises, such as land acquisition. Any use of this fund would require a majority vote of the board. Mark Chiurri is interested in helping WMCC set this fund up.

The board, including Danielle Rao who joined the meeting at this point, voted unanimously to have an operating reserve, but require a concrete plan and policy which would be approved by board vote before implementation.

Farley Parking Lot:

The Farley parking lot is in pretty bad condition and needs work. Stephanie will email Jon and Jeff Squire to facilitate plans for rehabilitation, including possible expansion of the lot. This project will take about 1 week. November was suggested as the month to get the lot done, but time to get permitting needs to be considered and there was great outcry over the possibility of it interfering with climbing season.

It was decided to create a temporary committee to look at this project. The committee will consist of Jon LaValley, Jeff Squire, Sara McFadden. Sara will talk to Andy Neuman about joining the committee.

Parking Webcam at Farley:

Parking at Farley is difficult. We talked about having a webcam so people can determine if there is space there before they come. Lot Spot, a Colorado company, has developed an app for this. We discussed the feasibility of a system like this and using an existing company like Spot Lot. There are privacy and maintenance issues as well as questions of cost.

Wayne volunteered to look further into this and report back to the board. He will also create a Google Doc for the board for questions and concerns.

There being no other business to consider, the meeting was adjourned 9:27 pm.

The next Board meeting is a public meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, August 22 at 7p via Zoom.


Pamela Matsuda-Dunn

Hanging Mountain (HM) report:
Dolci reported that the contract for WMCC’s 2020 Mass Trails Grant of $25,500 has been officially signed and approved by the state. Dependent on the completion of a biological survey and state approval of Phase II, $10,000 of this grant and an additional $7,500 from an AMC Boston grant will be available for professional trail work, The terms of the grant require that we submit invoices for work which must be completed and dated after August 17, 2021.

Board Minutes: July 14, 2021




A Zoom meeting of the board of directors of Western Mass Climbers Coalition (WMCC, a Massachusetts Nonprofit corporation), was held on July 14, 2021 at 7p ET pursuant to notice given in accordance with Article 11, Section 3 of the WMCC’s bylaws.

All of the directors were present at the meeting:
Stephanie Giguere, President; Dolci Mascolo and Sara McFadden, Co-Vice Presidents; Danielle Rao, Treasurer; Pamela Matsuda-Dunn, Secretary; Wayne Burleson; and Rob Sullivan.

Stephanie Giguere called the meeting to order. Based on the number of directors in attendance at the meeting and the Non-Profit’s by-laws, the Secretary determined that a quorum was present and stated that the meeting could proceed. Topics discussed and decisions made follow below.

The first order of business was to note that the updated bylaws were passed by a vote of the Board over email. The next step, approval by WMCC members, began on July 12. Members will be able to vote on the new bylaws until August 10 via a one-time link emailed to all members.

Board changes:
Michelle Lloyd-Dedischew notified the board via email that she needs to step down from the board and her duties as chair of the JDEI committee, which was accepted by Stephanie.
Rob Sullivan has been appointed to the board to serve out the remainder of her term, which ends when new board members are elected later this year.

WMCC T-shirts:
The board voted to use the design that Dan Jazwinski submitted. This will be one of a number of designs that the board will approve for sale through

Tabling for Central Rock Gym, Hadley’s Summer Send series:
The Board will do a tabling event for the first day of the series, Friday July 23, and the last day, Friday August 20. It will be staffed July 23 by Stephanie and Rob and August 20 by Pamela and another volunteer (to be determined).

WMCC Nominations for Board:
We have 4 seats which were filled within the last calendar year. This leaves 3 seats open, with a possibility of 5 seats open if the new bylaws are passed (which will then allow for a maximum Board size of 9).
The Board asked Danielle Rao to run for re-election and nominated Rob Sullivan to run for the board.

Timeline for election process:
9/15 Deadline for nomination submissions, including from WMCC members
9/16-10/14 Potential nominees to be vetted by Board
10/15Nominees to be presented to the general membership
10/15-11/15 Voting by WMCC members on Board nominees
11/17 Board meeting to vote for officer positions

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission/First Light (FERC/FL):
WMCC Priorities:
1. To request the transfer of lands where WMCC-managed crags exist within the area up for re-licensing, i.e., Farley Ledges and Rose to the Access Fund, who would in turn transfer the land to the WMCC.
2. If land transfer to the Access Fund is not an option, our priority will be to gain free, public access to climbing in perpetuity in an informal agreement.
3. WMCC does not want climbing to be formally recognized.
It was voted unanimously that WMCC will try to buy the land and that WMCC will submit its own letter to FERC requesting our priorities.

There being no other business to consider, the meeting was adjourned 8:57 pm.

The next Board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, August 18 at 7p via Zoom.

Pamela Matsuda-Dunn

Hanging Mountain to Open Oct. 2, 2021

Hanging Mountain in Sandisfield, MA will open to the public on Oct. 2, 2021. 

The Western Massachusetts Climbers’ Coalition (WMCC) and the Ragged Mountain Foundation (RMF), in partnership with the Access Fund, purchased the 14-acre Hanging Mountain parcel in November of 2019. Previously, Hanging Mountain, a small mountainside with ten distinct crags, was privately owned and closed to climbing.

Now, after the construction of an access road and parking area, building a network of approach trails, and developing approximately 70 rock climbs, the WMCC and RMF are ready for climbers, hikers, birdwatchers, and other users to recreate at Hanging Mountain.

The Hanging Mountain Stewardship Committee would like to thank the Appalachian Mountain Club, the Access Fund and a group of very devoted volunteers for their many contributions. Without the help of these parties, opening Hanging Mountain simply would not have been possible. 

The WMCC and RMF want to stress three important points to any visitors to this special place.

  1. The WMCC and RMF intend to open Hanging Mountain in phases. Only “Phase One” of the parcel will open on October 2. Construction and development of Phase Two is underway, with portions of Phase Two expected to open in 2022. PLEASE obey signage indicating which portions of the cliff are closed. If you want to help with Phase Two, click here to sign up.
  2. WMCC and RMF advise climbers to wear helmets due to recent rockfall events at Hanging Mountain.
  3. Nearly all of Hanging Mountain has been designated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Office of Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Protection as “Priority Habitat,” which means that several rare species have been identified on the property. The WMCC and RMF are asking users to PLEASE stay on established trails and obey all signage.  If climbers, or other recreational users negatively impact the populations of these rare species the WMCC and RMF may be forced to restrict public access to portions of Hanging Mountain.


More About Hanging Mountain

Hanging Mountain, formerly private property which had been closed to climbing for years prior to being purchased by the WMCC and RMF, with crucial support from the Access Fund, offers a valuable new resource for southern New England climbing, with routes up to 3 pitches  long and a good balance of traditional, mixed, and sport routes with grades, to date, from 5.8  to 5.13. There are approximately 70 routes that are open for climbing in several sectors. It is located in an easily accessible and beautiful setting in the southern Berkshires, three miles from the Connecticut border. A large number of people and organizations have put in a great amount of time, effort, and money into the efforts to make this area available for climbing, with much more required in the coming years as we move forward into the future phases of this project.

While we are excited to have a portion of the cliff open after all of these efforts, we must also sound some notes of caution. Hanging Mountain is in an area that has been designated as a highly sensitive (and legally protected) environmental zone, particularly due to the existence of several rare and endangered plants. These plants have been located on sections of the cliff as well as along the base and in the wooded areas, so development of routes, trails, and other infrastructure on the property has been, and will need to continue to be, very carefully planned and accomplished. All users must stay on developed trails, routes, and staging areas as well as using only designated parking areas. This area is being carefully monitored by the State environmental authorities, so we cannot allow the ‘free for all’ route development or the creation of ‘social trails’ that has been common elsewhere. There may also, when necessary, be seasonal closures to protect nesting raptors.

An additional concern at Hanging Mountain is that while much of the crag consists of excellent quality rock, primarily granite, that offers wonderful climbing, there are also areas of dangerously unstable rock and a history of significant rockfalls in certain parts of the cliff—a major one happening just a year ago. This is another factor that has to be taken into account both as the area is developed  and during normal use—wear a helmet!!!

Finally, as our parking area is required to be fairly limited and no legal back-up parking as yet exists, it would be best to try to make your visits during what are likely to be non-peak times.

Please read and follow all rules and instructions that are posted online, in the kiosk at the parking area, or in the PDF guidebook that will be available by the opening date.

-The Hanging Mountain Stewardship Committee


Check out the Hanging Mountain Crag page for more details about parking, etc.

Posted Sept. 7th, 2021

A Letter from the President

Dear Western Mass climbers,

I am honored to accept the role of WMCC President. Thank you for your support and thank you to my fellow board members for their confidence in me.

I am still fairly new to the Western Mass community, and I continue to meet new people and learn more about the history of climbing access in this region. The more than 20 years of hard work and dedication from past volunteers is humbling and I hope to continue this work as best I can.

My commitment to you is to lead with thoughtfulness and transparency. My goals for this year are to continue to grow our membership base, create systems for volunteers who want to get more involved in the organization, and stay focused on our mission of securing access to climbing in Western Mass. It’s important to me that as our community expands and our number of crags grows, we are thoughtful about creating equitable access for everyone.

Thank you for this opportunity.


Stephanie Giguere

President of the Western Mass Climber’s Coalition


Published July 7th, 2021

New Leadership

New Leadership

As planned, Wayne Burleson stepped down from his position as President of the WMCC last week. He will remain on the board through September of this year. The board elected former Vice President, Stephanie Giguere, as the new president, and Dolci Mascolo and Sara McFadden to be Co-Vice Presidents, effective July 1st.

Wayne stands in front of table with WMCC banner with microphone in hand. He is wearing a black sweater and jeans.

A message from Wayne:

“Hey WMCC and friends! I am very excited to welcome Stephanie Giguere as the new president of the WMCC, and also Sara McFadden and Dolci Mascolo as Co-Vice Presidents. It has been an exciting year of challenges and transitions. Our acquisition of Hanging Mountain, ongoing negotiations about Farley and new JDEI initiatives have kept the board busy. Oh yeah, and the pandemic. I have been very proud to lead and serve our local climbing community, especially amidst larger issues in climbing and society.

I ask you all to support WMCC even if the magic of climbing is just a small and local contribution to the greater good. Happy climbing and stay safe!”


Published July 7th, 2021

Tekoa Remains Closed to Climbing

This is a reminder that Tekoa remains closed to climbing. Tekoa Mountain is managed by the state Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and climbing is prohibited due to concerns for endangered and protected species. The area is under camera surveillance and any activity there will be reported to the Environmental Police.

Please respect this closure. Only by respecting closures can we work to build positive relationships with land managers.

Published April 8th, 2021

Letter of Solidarity with the AAPI Community

The Western MA Climbers’ Coalition stands in solidarity with the Asian American Pacific Islander community in the wake of last week’s tragedy in Atlanta. The loss of Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, and Paul Andre Michels is another example of the ways in which dangerously oppressive systems continue to harm communities of color. We know that the climbing community is impacted by the continued acts of violence toward marginalized communities and reaffirm our commitment as a Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee to continually stand against, and work toward ending the ways in which certain communities experience violence and oppression.

Published 3/23/2021

Hanging Mountain Update, March 19th, 2021

Most of the 14-acre property at Hanging Mountain has been designated as Priority Habitat by MassWildlife’s Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program (NHESP). As a result, Hanging Mountain and any work performed there is heavily regulated to ensure that the WMCC is in compliance with the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act and Wetlands Protection Act.

The WMCC recently submitted and received approval of a Land Management Plan, the first step in the important process to develop Hanging Mountain in compliance with state regulations. Currently the WMCC is working with NHESP to file a Massachusetts Endangered Species Act (MESA) Review. Once successful, the WMCC will be able to apply for a permit to complete trails and infrastructure on the designated section of Hanging Mountain. Upon approval of a permit, the state will allow a portion of the property to be opened to the public for recreational use. We cannot give a specific date for opening at this time since the timeline is dependent on the state regulatory and approval process. However, we are working with advisors to meet the state requirements and deadlines.

For more information about the MESA review, visit the Hanging Mountain Crag page and listen to the Off Belay Podcast, which features the board member and HM committee member, Dolci Mascolo. In the latter half of the podcast, she discusses what the MESA review is and what it means for Hanging Mountain.

Thank you all for your support throughout this process!


Published 3/19/2021.

New Farley Parking Beta

The WMCC is excited to announce a new partnership with the Franklin Regional Transit System (FRTA). The Town of Erving and the FRTA have arranged the inclusion of a park & ride transit system between Erving Center and Farley Ledges. The ride system allows both advance and immediate reservation of a bus that will take visitors to and from the main Farley parking lot for a very low fare. Weekend services run from 9:30am-5:30pm, weekdays from 6:30am-7:30pm.


How to use the FRTA service to get to Farley:

  1. Pre-book a ride through the FRTA Access app (Download through Google Play, Apple).
  2. To make booking trips easier, users can type in “Farley Ledges” and “Erving Municipal Parking Lot” as their drop off/pick up point.
  3. Make sure to bring cash for the fare.
  4. Drop off any bulky gear and extra climbers at the Farley lot.
  5. Park in Erving and wait for your ride to arrive!

Where to park:

Park at the Erving Municipal lot, 8 West Main St., Erving.

The municipal lot is located at the junction with Arch St., just past the Freight House and  Erving Station Chocolates, across from the former Crooked Tap. Stop at the Freight House for coffee or lunch (they have great vegan options), or the Erving Station to get a sweet treat for the ride home!

Additional parking available at Arch Street in the Pearl B Care Historical Building parking lot.

Although Erving is the pickup point for riders coming from the east, the “Zone 1” service extends from Erving to Greenfield therefore riders can book from any location along the route for the same fare.


Fares MUST BE PAID IN CASH. No change will be given– those overpaying will receive a credit towards future rides. We suggest bringing $1 bills.

The fare is $3 per ride for the person making the reservation and each additional person on the same booking is half price. Therefore, six people will pay $1.75 each for the shared trip.

Covid-19 Precautions:

FRTA vans are currently limited to six passengers at a time. Masks are required.


Visit the FRTA website and FRTA brochure for more information.


Published 3/17/2021, updated 3/19/2021.