Outdoor Pursuits “rocks out” in park
Haleigh Kerr-Wissink, Staff Writer
September 15, 2012
Filed under Life
North Idaho College’s Outdoor Pursuits hosted an Adopt a Crag event, which is a part of a nation-wide day of volunteerism and stewardship. “Adopt a Crag” was originally created by an organization called Access Fund whose main goal was to conserve the climbing environment.
“We’ve been doing this annual Adopt a Crag for about 15 years, “ said Justin Montgomery, a NIC summer intern at Outdoor Pursuits. Alongside Justin, Jacob Rockroth, assistant coordinator of Outdoor Pursuits, was there and ready to help change the park for the better.
Erosion control was one of the main purposes for the Adopt a Crag event. At the Post Wall, one of the many different trails at the park, participants built gabions, which are wire-mesh structures filled with rocks of different sizes. By building and placing these gabions on the slopes of the hills on the trail, they hoped to eliminate erosion and build the base of the hill back up so it is a flat surface. The nature of doing this was so that the slope where the climbers would do activities would remain flat and become easier to stand and work with the rope.
“It’s a dual purpose,” Montgomery said, “ helping with erosion and as a safety element for the climbers.”
The Loop Trail, which is the most heavily-used trail, takes the climbers to all the different walls where they can climb. In a lot of cases, climbers will create their own trails, which is not initially very unsafe. The goal of Outdoor Pursuits was to try to eliminate the creation of new trails by making the main and safe trail more visible. Participants accomplished this by drilling into the ground and placing rebar posts that were labeled to help guide the climbers and hikers around the trail.
“If you look around the trail, there is initially no soft dirt to put a post in, so we are using a giant drill to drill about an inch or more into the ground and ensure that the posts stay put and don’t grow legs and walk away,” joked Rockroth.
Over 15 years of Adopt a Crag, Outdoor Pursuits has always been in pursuit to ensure that the environment stays in tip-top shape.
“It’s a different project every year. In the past we have removed graffiti, maintained trails, built steps and small bridges, and there’s always an effort to pick up trash,” said Rockroth. The effort to create a safer haven for climbers and have a more productive and clean environment is a change that is worth participating in any day.
For more information contact Jacob Rothrock, NIC Outdoor Pursuits, at (208) 769-5941 or email@example.com