Board Minutes: July 14, 2021

MINUTES

OF

THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF WMCC

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.

Bylaws:
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 printify.com.

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
Secretary

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