Board Minutes: September 22, 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 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.

Present:
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.

Welcome:

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.
Updates:

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
Secretary

Board Minutes: August 18, 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 August 18, 2021 at 7p ET pursuant to notice given in accordance with Article 11, Section 3 of the WMCC’s bylaws.

Present:
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.

Updates:

  • 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 climbgneiss.org 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
Secretary

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

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