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Access Group for Western Hemisphere Launched

Posted on: September 18th, 2009 by admin

Photo courtesy of AccessPanAm.com.

Photo courtesy of AccessPanAm.com.

Access Pan America is a new organization designed to share ideas and resources for climbing access problems throughout the Western Hemisphere. Co-organized by AAC member and Access Fund founder Armando Menocal, the group held an organizational meeting in August in Squamish, British Columbia.

Activists from seven countries (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Mexico, and United States) gathered at the Squamish meeting, and the problems discussed ranged from proposed dams near Cochamó, Chile, to gangs hassling climbers in Brazil. The participants agreed that local climbers must solve local problems, but Access Pan America hopes to provide knowledge and other valuable resources to smooth the path.

The AAC is already involved in several initiatives in Latin America that will help ensure long-term climber access. In Peru, the has helped build a composting toilet for climbers and trekkers in the heavily used Ishinca Valley, and the club’s Alpine Conservation Partnership is working on watershed and land-use issues in other alpine areas of Peru. The club worked with the UIAA to lessen the impact of potentially onerous new rules in Huascarán National Park. In Argentinean Patagonia, the AAC and Patagonia Inc. are cosponsoring a multiyear project to build sustainable trails and other climber amenities in Los Glaciares National Park.

Access Pan America’s meeting in Canada was backed with funding and airline tickets from the Petzl Foundation and Mountain Gear, and was hosted by the Squamish Mountain Festival. Climber activists from Colombia, Honduras, and Peru will be joining the group’s steering committee, and Kika Bradford, the founder of Brazil’s first access organization, will serve as a part-time executive director. To learn more about the new organization, visit its web site.

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