4/3/2020 COVID-19 UPDATE
Over the past several weeks CRAG-VT has been taking feedback from local climbers, medical professionals, The Access Fund, and Vermont Parks & Recreation and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. We wanted to provide an update to our climbing community on recommendations for climbing at this time. Vermont is currently in a stay-at-home order, however there is an exception for responsible outdoor recreation.
We’ll be posting and sharing the state’s guidelines for responsible outdoor recreation, but when we read through the list of qualifiers we find it difficult to align them with a typical day at the crag.
Right now the Access Fund is discouraging climbing and has formally advised against seeking climbing adventures and while it’s strange to discourage climbing, we are inclined to agree.
While we understand that there are specific types of climbing that can meet the expectations outlined by the state, we want climbers to be part of the solution. So we’re asking you to stay home. Our goal in discouraging climbing at this time is that we can all come together to enjoy Vermont cliffs and boulders sooner without risking the health and well-being of the communities we know and love.
Stay home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.
CRAG-VT Board of Directors
P.S. Check out this photo to aid in understanding appropriate forms of exercise under the Stay at Home order.
3/23/2020 COVID-19 UPDATE
Dear Vermont Climbing Community,
The current affects of the COVID-19 pandemic are far reaching and are proving to impact every aspect of our lives. This includes our climbing endeavors. As a volunteer board of climbers and conservationists, we want to be careful to make recommendations that are logical best practices while also making no claims to expertise in the medical realm. However, we have been closely following CDC and VT Department of Health guidelines. The following are some actions we are taking, and some suggestions you, as climbers, can take in light of the current situation.
As CRAG-VT, here are a few things we are doing:
- We have postponed our Skinny Pancake fundraiser, Board Retreat, and Spring Adopt-a-Crag Trail Day to yet to be determined dates in the future.
- We will be conducting our usual Board Meetings on the first Tuesday of every month via Zoom Meeting instead of in person.
- We are reassessing our budget and expenditures into the foreseeable future as we have already seen much of our grant funding (understandably) move toward COVID-19 crisis response.
- We are pushing forward with planning for the second annual Vermont Climbing Festival this September 18-20th with the intention of giving climbers something to look forward to when the pandemic abates. We are maintaining flexibility and understanding in our planning process.
As climbers, here are some things you can do:
- We are lucky that our crags are not generally considered climbing destinations. Regardless, please do not travel from elsewhere to come climb here. Stay local.
- Please do not travel elsewhere for a climbing trip. Destination climbing areas are often in rural areas with low patient capacity at their hospitals. Many of these communities have asked folks to stay home and some have even closed the crags. It is best to postpone your climbing trip for after things settle.
- There is a clear and logical risk reduction point to be made for avoiding climbing altogether and that is something we do support. We’ve seen differing guidance and opinions on climbing outside as a form of social distancing, many of which have come from unverified (albeit well-intentioned) sources, so all we aim to do is refer you to guidance disseminated by the CDC and the VT Department of Health (wash your hands, stay 6 feet apart from others, avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth). As there have been no studies on how these guidelines apply to climbing we are asking you to interpret these recommendations and how it impacts your behavior for yourself.
- Support your local gyms and businesses if you have the resources to do so (keep your membership going, shop online, buy a gift card, etc.). The economic effects are likely to hit them hard.
- Know that we are all in this together and will continue to seek guidance from civil authorities and healthcare professionals. Our guidance is changing daily and we hope that folks will remain flexible and understanding as things evolve and continue to stay strong and connected as a climbing community.
Now is a great time practice caution and good judgment. It’s also a good time to hangboard, do pushups, and practice your table traverse.
CRAG-VT is a not-for-profit (501(c)(3)) organization dedicated to preserving access and conservation of Vermont’s climbing resources. We serve the climbing community of Vermont through a variety of mechanisms:
- Preserve and aid in the protection of climbing opportunities in Vermont by building and maintaining long-term relationships with landowners. Current and future access will be fostered through outright purchases of property, obtaining conservation easements, or securing landowner agreements.
- Serve climbers, land managers, landowners, and the general public as an educational resource for responsible climbing, access status, historical information, species and habitat protection, and legal matters.
- Promote responsible stewardship and reduce environmental impacts by conducting trail maintenance, volunteer clean-ups, and producing educational materials