Monday, February 13, 2012

Gold Bar Access Update 2

Update: For reasons that I touched on in my previous post, the Washington Climbers Coalition has reset the combination to the Reiter Road gate and has placed a sign on the gate stating that vehicle access to the Gold Bar Boulders is only available to members of the WCC.

To join the WCC, go to the Gold Bar page on the WCC's site and follow the instructions. Once you are a member, you will receive a WCC sticker and the combination to the gate. Membership is free.

Please understand that the WCC is acting within the constraints of the limited privilege that Manke Lumber has granted it. You can help to preserve vehicle access to the Gold Bar boulders by following the rules posted at the gate:
  • Display your Washington Climbers Coalition membership sticker and Discover Pass.
  • Drive slowly and do not park so as to block the road.
  • Be courteous and respectful of other users, Manke Lumber Company, DNR, and law enforcement representatives.
  • Do not drive off the roadway.
  • Do not cut down trees. This is timber land.
  • Do not share the access combination with others. All users of this privilege must be registered members of the Washington Climbers Coalition. The combination is changed regularly and only WCC members will be given the new combination.
  • Access is a benefit for WCC members, but comes solely at the invitation of Manke Lumber Company. Access is a privilege, not a right.
  • Climb at your own risk.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Gold Bar Access Update

I write this update to inform everyone about the situation in Gold Bar. Apparently, the Snohomish County Sheriff had a strong presence on Reiter Road this past weekend, and threatened to arrest everyone who entered or exited the gate to the Gold Bar boulders. To those of us who live in Washington and thrive on the otherworldly granite of Gold Bar, this is really very troubling.

I'm on the board of the Washington Climbers Coalition (WCC), and we are meeting in one week, at which Gold Bar access will be a prominent item on the agenda. I will stress to the other members of the board the importance of addressing this issue 1) by educating the climbing community about the logistics of the access situation in Gold Bar, 2) by installing signage at the gate, and 3) by encouraging better communication between the DNR, which has been extremely accommodating, and the Sheriff's Office, which is understandably enforcing an outdated DNR order to fine/arrest everyone driving off-pavement in the Reiter Foothills area.

For the time being, the status quo appears to require that every person who enters the Reiter Road gate have a WCC sticker on their car. To get a WCC sticker, email < >, state that you would like to join the WCC, and ask for a sticker.

For everyone's information, I have attached to the bottom of this post an email that Jonah Harrison, the WCC person behind Gold Bar access, sent to the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office this week. As a committed boulderer himself and an attorney with close relationships at both the DNR and Manke Timber, Jonah is eminently qualified to represent us. After all, he achieved the 'impossible' in that magic moment when he watched a DNR worker cut the lock off the gate and put a WCC combination lock on...

Thanks for reading all of this. I will post an update here after the board meeting next week.



From: Jonah Harrison
Date: Sun, 5 Feb 2012
Subject: Reiter Road/Manke Lumber gate and Washington Climbers Coalition members

Good evening, Deputy Hager,

Thank you for speaking with me today about your concerns regarding access through the gate off Reiter Road to the rock climbing on land that Manke Lumber owns above Gold Bar. I have copied David Way at the DNR on this email, whom we have worked with on this access issue and who has been extremely helpful throughout. Also, per our discussion, I copied Ron Whitehall, as I understand he has concerns, too. Finally, I copied Andy Fitz, Matt Perkins and Kelly Sheridan, three of the Washington Climbers Coalition board members who are familiar with the access issues here.

As we discussed, I work with the Washington Climbers Coalition and the Access Fund, two organizations that work with land owners on behalf of climbers to preserve and maintain recreational access on public and private lands (in fact, as you may know, we recently purchased the lower town wall at Index and are currently working with State Parks to transfer the land to them). In 2010 and 2011, the WCC worked with the Department of Natural Resources to see if there was any way climbers could once again have vehicle access to the rock climbing above Reiter Road following the DNR's closure of the area to other vehicles. The WCC also worked with Manke Lumber, the private landowner on whose land most of the rock climbing sits. Manke holds easements over the DNR land, allowing it to drive the road and access its Manke timber lands above Reiter Road. Those easements also allow Manke's permittees to have rights of access. In 2011, Manke designated members of the Washington Climbers Coalition as its permittees under its easements.

In May of 2011, Manke sent the WCC a lock to install on one of the lock levers of the DNR gate. That month, David Way very generously took time to help us determine which lock lever could be available. I installed a combination lock on that lever, and Washington Climbers Coalition members have been accessing the road through the gate since that time. We occasionally change the combination on the lock to prevent non-members from gaining access, as well. The new combination is sent to members via email at that time. Members are sent a vehicle sticker to display on their car to identify them as permittees, and are told they must also have a Discover Pass for their vehicle.

The WCC has educated Washington climbers about this issue, including posting informational flyers at climbing shops and indoor gyms throughout western Washington. In addition, the WCC posts information on its website specifically about the Gold Bar/Reiter Road area, informing members about the privilege of access and explaining the limits of that privilege:

I want to make sure that we are addressing your concerns, as well as those of the DNR, and that everyone is satisfied that climbers are working within the parameters of their privileges as permittees by accessing the DNR gate. As we discussed, perhaps it would be helpful for the WCC to install signage at the gate and the climbing parking area clearly explaining the limited access privileges WCC members enjoy, as well as reiterating their duties and responsibilities. If the DNR and Manke are willing, we are certainly more than happy to produce, pay for and install a sign, and would work with all interested parties to make sure the sign's contents address everyone's concerns.

Thank you again for taking the time to speak with me. Please let me know if you need any additional information. Also, if you ever have any concerns regarding rock climbers, please don't hesitate to contact me. My contact information is below, and my cell phone is _________.



Monday, February 6, 2012

Older Leavenworth Pics

Here are some older pics from the fall season in Leavenworth...

Cortney on Giant Man
John Stordahl and Cortney on I Heart Jerry Garcia (a.k.a. John looks like a stud no matter how hard he's trying)
Cortney and Keri on Donkey Kong
Max on a Newish Boulder Near the Beach Bridge
Cortney on the Same Boulder
Starset off Mountain Home Road
Max and Joel on a Project on the Grasshopper Boulder
Cortney on King Kong
Issac and Cortney on the Star Wars Boulder