The WMCC board members have met and voted unanimously, in the face of the Coronavirus Pandemic, to close the properties we own – the Farley Ledges parking lot as well as our Hanging Mountain property – and to formally urge rock climbers to stay home from all Massachusetts crags we manage.
Although these two actions may seem contrary to our primary mission of preserving access to climbing resources, we believe these decisions are vital in order to protect all the citizens of the commonwealth, not just climbers.
We reach these decisions only after extensive deliberation with our national affiliate – the Access Fund – as well as reaching out to our local partners in New York, New Hampshire, Vermont and Connecticut. Furthermore, these actions are consistent with the guidance all citizens of Massachusetts are receiving from our elected officials. Lastly, our actions are in concert with Northfield Mountain Recreation Center, the majority owner of both Farley and Rose Ledges, which has officially closed it’s property.
Our rationale is as follows:
Because the Coronavirus Pandemic is an international crisis. And since climbing is an inessential activity, which typically involves the following elements: travel beyond one’s home community, close biological distance through sharing holds, anchors, trails and/or parking lots, and the very real possibility of an accident that would necessitate activation of – and potentially infection of – local, volunteer search and rescue teams as well as burden already stressed medical resources. Therefore, the WMCC believes Massachusetts climbers should place the welfare of the larger community above our own recreational needs.
Thanks for respecting our decisions.
The WMCC will continue to provide a venue for discussion and work hard to preserve and protect climbing access. Indeed, we believe these decisions will do just that by demonstrating to all stakeholders that rock climbers are responsible stewards of the land and dependable partners in a time of great need.
Western Mass Climbers Coalition
Published April 19th, 2020