THE ACTION + OUTCOMES
The 4th annual Climb the Hill with Access Fund is all wrapped up, and it was our most impactful effort to date!
Climb the Hill represents the interests of the climbing community among national policy-makers. Professional climbers, outdoor industry representatives, and recreation advocates accompany us on Capitol Hill, where we meet with federal lawmakers to discuss issues affecting the climbing and greater outdoor recreation community.
This year, we:
Brought 60+ athletes, outdoor brands, non-profit partners, and community advocates together on Capitol Hill in D.C.,
attended a hearing on streamlining permitting for outfitters and guides via the Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation (SOAR) Act and the Recreation Not Red Tape (RNR) Act,
and offered a Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion (JEDI) training for team members, crafted by the Climb the Hill JEDI Taskforce.
We spread our efforts amongst 11 teams; nine of which represented unique regions across the country while two focused on specific issues, including outdoor recreation permitting reform and action on climate change. We owe a great deal of thanks to the many team leaders and advocates who made sure our lobby day was a great success.
We advocated for climate forward solutions like the Methane Waste Prevention Act and the Climate Action Now Act. We also thanked congressional heroes like Rep. Huffman (D-CA) for championing the Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act and asked how we can help get the Bill passed through the Senate. We also met with many new offices like Rep. Pappas (D-NH) and Rep. Walden (R-OR) to discuss the climbing resources in their districts and how they can get involved in climate action. Climbers like Alpinist Graham Zimmerman shared stories about how they witness changes in the mountains and how climate change will impact their livelihoods and the places they climb.
We spoke up for public lands protections like the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act and the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. We thanked Rep. Neguse (D-CO) for his efforts on the CORE Act and asked other lawmakers to step up to the plate and protect our cherished landscapes. For instance, Tommy Caldwell shared stories about how important public lands were to he and his family and encouraged Sen. Gardner (D-CO) to consider co-signing the CORE Act to protect important climbing landscapes in Colorado.
We rallied for recreation access and enhancement by attending a hearing for the Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation (SOAR) Act and the Recreation not Red Tape Act where Matt Wade, AMGA Policy Director provided testimony to the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands about the SOAR Act. Later, Sasha Diguilian would speak with Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) as well as Sen. Shelley Capito (D-WV) about how the climbing community helped boost the economies in the Red River and New River Gorges, and how important it is to support access to outdoor recreation in these areas.
We demanded appropriate funding for land management agencies who protect the integrity of our nation’s public lands. Members of our Utah team thanked Rep. Bishop (R-UT) for introducing the Restore our Parks and Public Lands Act, a bill that would address the $12 billion backlog on national park land. Meanwhile, Alex Honnold discussed the importance of the Land and Water Conservation Fund with Sen. Schumer (D-NY) and how providing full funding to the program is critical to addressing outdoor recreation infrastructure issues on a diversity of landscapes ranging from urban green spaces to national forest lands.
We outlined Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion (JEDI) principles in our lobby efforts with the support of our JEDI Taskforce. The JEDI Taskforce is committed to ensuring that all of our community members are represented by this event, and worked hard to ensure that people of color, indigenous communities, LGBTQ+ folks, and people with disabilities were incorporated in the conversations about climbing policy. The Taskforce assisted advocates to integrate JEDI-related issues and language into policy asks through providing multiple trainings and resources. Two of the Taskforce members, Shelma Jun and Taimur Ahmad, sat on the Senate reception panel, where they spoke about the barriers and solutions to accurately representing the climbing community and how JEDI and environmental justice principles were incorporated in our lobby day.
THE CLIMATE STRIKE
Once our lobbying efforts wrapped up, we supported the youth demanding action on climate by attending the D.C. Climate Strike. This was a tangible way for us to get out and feel the energy of the many communities that are affected by the climate-forward legislation we’re advocating for. Thank you to the many volunteers and AAC members who joined us at this march and at similar events last week across the country! Together we’re stronger.
While we covered a lot of ground on Capitol Hill, we know our work is far from over. If anything, our time at the D.C. Climate Strike demonstrated to us just how much work is left to be done! The AAC will continue working hard to represent the climbing community’s interests by following up with offices and providing lawmakers with the necessary information to move these policy asks forward. We need your involvement and support in this important work. Join us now by giving to the AAC and we'll continue to fight for public land protections and Climate Action. Thank you!