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Phone Quorum For CRAGS Board of Directors Meeting

August 21, 2009

So I just participated in a CRAGS (Climbing Resource Advocates For Greater Sacramento) Board of Directors meeting. I’m an alternate on the board. The issue we resolved is the adoption and precise language of the Draft Climbing Management Plan for the Auburn State Recreation Area (ASRA). If you’re not familiar with with CRAGS (and I doubt many people, especially those outside of the Sacramento area, are) it is the Sacramento area chapter of The Access Fund, the national non-profit organization dedicated to rock climbing advocacy and access. CRAGS’ (current) website is here: http://yourcrags.blogspot.com/

The ASRA was originally created as an interim park to allow people to recreate and use the land that would eventually be drowned by the Auburn Dam, one of the originally-envisioned components of the federal Central Valley Project. Although the Bureau of Reclamation had a diversion permit from the State Water Resources Control Board that dated back to 1965, years of opposition from various local citizens’ groups finally seems to have killed the project. The Bureau lost their permit due to lack of diligent diversion in October 2008. For an interesting take on the ASRA, and a great read, check out this book: http://www.naturenoir.com/

In the mean time, the ASRA developed into a recreation mecca. The Western States 100/Tevis Cup trail traverses the ASRA. The area has terrific hiking and mountain biking trails. There’s an OHV area at Mammoth Bar. There is fantastic whitewater on the Wild and Scenic North and Middle Forks of the American River. There is also an old quarry.

Within the old Auburn/Cool quarry are approximately fifty rock climbing routes of various difficulties, lengths (up to three pitches), and quality. There is the potential for perhaps a couple of hundred more. One of the principal goals of CRAGS at this time is to reopen the quarry to climbing. It has been closed for the last ten or so years after a man died in a rope jumping accident. CRAGS’ adoption of the Draft Climbing Management Plan is an important step in reopening the quarry to climbing. The Auburn Quarry has the potential to be one of the best sport climbing areas in the state. Probably not as good as Owens, J-Tree, or many Sierra locations, but for pure sport (and a bit of trad) that’s easily accessible and climbable most times of the year, it shows promise.

(Photo courtesy of Eric Whalen on the Access Fund’s website.)

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