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AAC, South Central Section

AAC, South Central Section. The South Central Section held an annual meeting in Dallas, Texas, on October 16. The newly elected officers for 2000 are Andy Jones, chair; Mike Doyle, co-chair; and Gail Billings, treasurer. Mike Lewis will assist the Section in an advisory capacity. The well-attend- ed meeting was bolstered by public attendees who were there to see Kurt Diemberger. Kurt presented his K2 classic, “Mountain of Dreams and Destiny,” and held the whole crowd in the palm of his hand throughout. The meeting was sponsored by (and could not have happened without) the generous help of Whole Earth Provision Company. Donors for the silent auction included The Sullivan Agency, Mountain Hideout, Climbing and Rock & Ice magazines, REI, Rollerblade, Camelback, Stone Works Climbing Gym, Metolius and Mike Hall (a retired climbing gear donation). The successful auction allowed the Section to make contributions to the Central Asian Institute and to the family of Alex Lowe.

The Section surveyed its membership, with 218 surveys mailed out and 40 returned. The survey was comprised of 12 questions related to the Annual Meeting, Section activities, communication and needs. The key responses were that there was interest in more activities, stepping up the political activism (e.g., the access arena), keeping the current meeting format, and gaining more information on the “goings-on in the climbing world.”

With those interests in mind, it is important to know that several of our members have been heavily involved in the Sunset Report on Texas Parks and Wildlife. The Sunset Report on TPW is available at www.sunset.statetx.us and can be downloaded from the report section. This is an important document in that, after comments and final approval, it will be used in the 2001 Legislative Session to change the laws governing TPW. Access restrictions at Hueco Tanks State Park are still a topic of discussion between climbing organizations in Texas and TPW. TPW has issued a final management plan that still severely regulates access to the park for any activity, but especially climbing. Many members have been very active in meetings concerning the park management and have provided numerous written comments to the agency, requesting a better management approach. A request to TPW to open a climbing area in McKinney Falls State Park near Austin has, so far, been received favorably by the park manager and the new parks director. The area is a limestone outcrop that will support a few climbers at one time with bouldering activities. Other climbing areas are being developed in the state but are not yet ready for open access due to unresolved issues with the landowner.

The Section continued to support the trailbuilding effort at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area in Texas with monthly volunteer trailbuilding days held throughout the year. Participation has been good, and new areas of construction began this year, including the Blue Trail to the News Wall. To date, more than 200 tons of rock have been transported to the park and moved by wheelbarrow for building critical retaining walls, water breaks and trail sections. Funding for this effort was obtained through grants from the AAC Conservation Committee. Many thanks to all of the volunteers who have spent long hours on this project.

Andy Jones, Chair