Rumbling Bald Trail Days Re-Cap
Although climbing is winding down at Rumbling Bald this season, climbers have still been quite busy there. In April, representatives from several different groups came together to discuss the uses and best management practices of the bouldering areas and trails at Chimney Rock State Park, which is home to the Rumbling Bald climbing area. Members from the Carolina Climbers Coalition, Friends of Chimney Rock State Park, American Alpine Club, Carolina Mountain Club’s DRAFT Crew, and the Access Fund Conservation Team met with the James Ledgerwood, superintendent of Chimney Rock State Park and Tim Johnson, Regional Trails Specialist in NC. It was agreed that around certain boulders the land had been deeply impacted and that some trails were not sustainable. Management plans were created, and in the following days, restoration and maintenance projects began.
It was a very busy week at Rumbling Bald. The first day of work was focused on restoring boulder areas. Boulder areas were better established to keep climbers
and all their gear closer to the boulders, therefore minimizing future the impact on the nature surrounding these spots. Where needed, small terraces were built to control rainwater erosion and hazardous sharp rocks were removed. Some boulders had more than one trail leading from them, and to another. In this situation, some of those trails were obliterated and naturalized. To keep Rumbling Bald and other climbing areas beautiful, wild, and natural, we have to be conscious about where we are walking, hanging out, and placing our climbing gear. Other projects that happened during the week were GPSing the trails and boulders so that the park officials can create a map that will be available to everyone, a full day of moving rocks to be used for building steps, and two full days of step building.
During five days of work there was 196 volunteer hours counted contributed. Beyond the positive impact that the work had on the land at Rumbling Bald, a positive relationship with the park officials was created, which is always an important part of stewardship. Simply put, giving a day to the areas where we climb, we are taking care of what takes care of us.
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