AAC, South Central Section. The section held its annual meeting on October 27 in Houston at the Hilton Southwest Hotel. Past chairperson J. French Hill presided over the dinner and membership meeting, which were followed by a silent auction, slide show and lecture, and raffle. An AAC conservation grant of $500 was announced by Domestic Conservation Committee Chairperson Gail Billings for a volunteer trail project at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area in Texas. This grant was matched by another $500 from the South Central Section. These funds, along with $3,000 raised by local climbing clubs through the annual Gripper Climbing Competition, will be used in 1998 to fund the trail project.
The silent auction after the dinner included a number of climbing equipment packages donated by manufacturers and retailers in the Houston area. Next, renowned climber Alex Lowe presented a retrospective of his many years in the mountains and adventures in the Himalaya, Russia, Antarctica and across the globe. A raffle concluded the evening’s events, with new member Vonda Covington winning a Marmot tent. The event succeeded in generating 12 new members for the club and needed revenue for the section.
The section, in association with the El Paso Climbers Club and the Access Fund, has been in negotiation with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department regarding the management of climbing at Hueco Tanks State Historical Park. In 1997, the El Paso Climbers Club recommended improvements to the TPWD for the operation and protection of Hueco Tanks SHP. The TPWD used some of these recommendations for a draft Public Use Plan for Hueco. However, the draft plan contains several objectionable elements regarding climbing at Hueco. These are currently in negotiation with the TWPD and await additional public comment.
Planned activities for 1998 include a fall annual meeting in Oklahoma (Wichita Mountains), completion of the Enchanted Rock Trail Project, and a successful resolution of the Hueco Tanks situation. After completion of the current trail improvement project, the section will solicit applications for future conservation projects.
Officers elected at the October meeting were Michael Lewis (Chairperson), Michael Bradley (Vice Chairperson) and Jack Leebron (Secretary/Treasurer).
Michael J. Lewis, Chairperson