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Potomac Appalachian Trail Club

Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, Mountaineering Section. Our membership was active on many fronts this year. We climbed in Canada, the Northwest, the Tetons, Colorado, the Alps, and India as well as here in the East—Cannon, Shawangunks, Linville Gorge, and Seneca Rocks. For those who were not fortunate enough to travel, we had monthly slide shows given by those who had, supplemented by lectures given by John Roskelley and Kurt Diemberger. There were three marriages within our group, all three couples having met through their climbing activities. Many of our members moved to other areas, most leaving for the greener pastures and whiter mountains of Colorado and the Northwest, but there is a steady influx of new faces and new ideas. We continue to offer training in basic climbing techniques, and sponsor trips to local climbing areas most weekends of the year.

A great deal of time and effort was expended in public hearings and private meetings with National Forest Service officials who were preparing a land use plan for the Monongahela National Forest. Seneca Rocks and a number of other, less developed climbing areas in West Virginia are within the Monongahela, and we were attempting to insure that climbing would not be lost in the crowd of “multiple uses.” The final plan specifies that the management of Seneca Rocks should focus on “viewing and safe rock climbing.” It contains several references to the need for the Forest Service to consult with user groups before altering plans or policies. We have been consulted on the design of exhibits for the Seneca Rocks Visitor’s Center. However, such special attention is often followed by special regulation “to protect the participants,” and we can only hope to forestall any such move by demonstrating the responsibility, cooperativeness and self-restraint of the climbing community. Three individuals have made a large contribution to the image of the climber as a concerned, un-selfish citizen; at a substantial financial loss to themselves they have published a pictorial guidebook to Seneca. Of the $2.50 received for each copy sold, $1.05 goes to a fund for the benefit of Seneca Rocks. To date over $500 has been donated. Copies of the guidebook may be obtained from John Stannard, 13003 Daley St., Silver Spring, MD, 20906.

We will continue to work toward the ideal of free access to climbing areas, unhampered by restrictive “safety” regulations, and we would appreciate any advice or assistance from others facing the same problems.

Stan Halpin, Chairman