UPDATE: OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE.
The Climbing Resource Access Group of Vermont (CRAG-VT) and Access Fund are pleased to announce the acquisition of Bolton Dome, a schist climbing area featuring dozens of high-quality crack and sport climbs, including the region’s only 5.13 trad climb. Now protected, there is abundant potential for additional sport and moderate slab climbs for all climbers to enjoy.
Historically known as Trailer Park Crag, Bolton Dome was once the area’s most popular cliff in the 70s and 80s. However, it was closed to climbing in 1990 due to the private landowners’ concerns about public use of their property.
© Photo courtesy of Andrea Charest
“The climbing area’s closure in 1990 was a driving factor for the formation of CRAG-VT,” says Kris Fiore, CRAG-VT Board President. “Local climbers recognized the need to ensure climbing areas like this one were not lost to the community in the future.”
Over the years, local climbing advocate Richard Katzman stayed in contact with the landowners. In the summer of 2017, they agreed to consider an offer from CRAG-VT before listing the property on the open market. To save Bolton Dome, CRAG-VT purchased the entire 48-acre parcel, including the 2-acre house site that will be subdivided and resold.
Access Fund provided a Climbing Conservation Loan of $358,750 toward the purchase, marking this project CRAG-VT’s biggest climbing area acquisition to date and the largest Access Fund Climbing Conservation Loan in history. The climbing area is now protected for permanent conservation and recreation, but CRAG–VT needs further support from the climbing community to complete fundraising and subsequent subdivision and resale of the home site.
“It is gratifying to know that our collaborative effort means that Bolton Dome will be open for people to enjoy and treasure in years to come,” says Katzman. “It has been 30 years since I last climbed there, and I am excited to return.”
“Conservation opportunities like this are the reason Access Fund created the Climbing Conservation Loan Program in 2009,” says Access Fund Northeast Regional Director Mike Morin. “Thanks to CRAG-VT’s strong track record of success in land conservation, we knew we could team up to make this acquisition happen.” Over the past 16 years, CRAG-VT has worked alongside partners to successfully protected climbing access to seven different crags in the Bolton area.
CRAG-VT entered into a purchase and sale agreement and kicked off fundraising in the fall, receiving early support from local climbers. While a majority of loan funds will be repaid upon sale of the home site, CRAG-VT needs the climbing community to help raise an additional $80,000 to cover the remaining purchase price, transaction, subdivision, and improvement costs. Please donate today at cragvt.org/boltondomeproject.
The area will remain closed while CRAG-VT formalizes access down Champ Lane, creates parking and trails, constructs a kiosk, inspects fixed hardware, and finalizes insurance details. Please respect this initial closure and stay tuned for an official opening date and access details which CRAG-VT hopes will be finalized in time for the peak season this fall.
News as of Sept 31:
Thanks to a loan from the Access Fund, we hope to purchase the Bolton Dome property in late 2017. A great first step, but we have to repay that loan, and many additional steps remain, before the cliff can be formally opened to climbing!
Costs we’ve already incurred:
- Property Assessment
- Home inspection
- Legal Filings
- Water Testing
- Hours of Attorney Fees
Additional Costs to come:
- Attorney Fees
- Property Transfer Tax
- Easement Holdings
- Boundary Line Adjustment Application
- Sewage Inspection
- Construction of driveway/parking lot
- Kiosk construction
History and Future of Bolton Dome
Bolton Dome was the original place to climb in the Burlington area. Unfortunately, it was closed in the late ’80s because climbers did not respect the landowner’s property. Through many years of negotiation, the current landowner has decided to sell their house and the adjoining property containing Bolton Dome to CRAG VT. Many years of positive dialogue between Dr. Katzman (a former CRAG Board Member) and the landowners led them to approach CRAG and allow us to make a first offer on the property. While it was a nice gesture, it was far more than we could imagine raising in the needed timeline of selling a house. Luckily for climbers, the incredible organization of the Access Fund looks out to help climbers far and wide. CRAG Vermont applied for and secured a loan for $350,000 allowing us to purchase the property in a timely manner and to make this project turn from a dream into a reality. We now look to subdivide the property and resell the house, while forever protecting the cliff for climbers.
So what now? Realistically, now the real work begins. First the $350,000 loan to purchase the property must be paid back to the Access Fund. Beyond that, many thousands of dollars in legal fees, applications, surveying, and closing costs come with a project of this magnitude. In the end, CRAG Vermont needs an estimated $100,000 in additional funding to cover the costs not paid back with the resale of the house.
How Can YOU Help?
- MEMBERSHIP/DONATIONS: First and foremost, become a member. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s only $25. Click Here. There is no clearer way to say it: We will definitely need your financial support to see this project through. Please also consider a special one-time donation for this project. To donate directly to this project, click here.
- NOT SURE IF YOU’RE STILL A MEMBER?: We realize this has been a problem in the past and we will be updating our membership plan so that memberships all begin at the start of each year. You can email us Here to see if you are now current.
- TALK WITH YOUR FRIENDS & CLIMBING PARTNERS: It will take the entire Vermont community of climbers to convert this longtime dream into a reality. Let your friends and climbing partners know the importance of being a member and supporting the efforts.
- VOLUNTEER: There will be several fundraising and development efforts on the horizon. Stay abreast of these events by making sure CRAG-VT emails aren’t going to your spam folder, checking your “Promotions” folder to see if CRAG-VT emails are going there (info on how to make this email go straight to your Inbox can be found Here), and by following CRAG-VT on Facebook.
- SOCIAL MEDIA: Post all your VT climbing shots with #cragvt, and #cragvtmember
- GOT AN IDEA?: If you know of grants we can apply for, or you have contacts in the land preservation community, or skills you can contribute to our fundraising causes, we will definitely want to hear from you in the coming months!