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A.A.C., South Central Section

AAC, South Central Section. Texas rock climbers from Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston climbing clubs have been working with the Central Texas Climbing Committee and park staff on a conservation project at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. Volunteers (and even a few tourists) have moved many tons of rock by hand and wheel barrow on many weekends throughout the year. The project was designed to reduce the impact of foot traffic and to control erosion on the trails around Echo Canyon and Motor Boat Rock. The Granite Gripper Climbing Competition raised $825 toward the conservation effort. Natalie Merrill and Paul Majors raised another $2,000 with an environmental grant from Exxon. Although much has been done, it is a never ending project, one of which Texas climbers can be very proud.

Unfortunately, negotiations with the Texas Park and Wildlife Department (TPWD) over the Public Use Plan for Hueco Tanks State Historical Park in El Paso have come to a close. Despite significant climber input from numerous organizations, including the AAC, and many offers to help facilitate a reasonably liberal access policy that included capital improvements to the park, the TPWD has closed the major portion of Hueco Tanks to climbing. Only the North Mountain will offer climber access that is limited to the first 50 users (not necessarily climbers) who make advance reservations in the park. Overnight camping will no longer be allowed. Access to all other areas of Hueco Tanks will be limited to guided tours only. This is a devastating blow to climbing in Texas and an extremely unfriendly policy toward visiting climbers. Efforts are under way to solicit the assistance of the Governor and State legislators to reverse impacts of this plan.

The Section’s annual meeting, hosted by Sun & Ski Sports, was held in Tulsa on October 3. Members bouldered in Chandler Park for two hours, then gathered for a short business meeting, the installation of officers, and a barbeque lunch, generously provided by Mike and Jean Doyle of Teocalli Consulting Group. The evening was topped off with slide presentations by Eddie Whitmore and Greg Child. Thanks to Jan Greenspan, Jim Donini and Leif Marquardt for donating gear to the raffle.

Marc Rosenthal, Chairman