Erica Lineberry climbs at Crowder's Mountain State Park on a recent winter morning.
Hikers and climbers at Crowder's Mountain State Park will find the going a little easier very soon thanks to the work of the Carolina Climbers' Coalition (CCC). The group has already had one work day at the park this year, on Jan. 2, 2020, and they have another scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, at 9 a.m.
"We have been working to fix erosion issues in the much-loved David's Castle area of the park," says Mike Reardon, CCC executive director. "We are installing stone steps so that instead of multiple bad paths down the slope, we have one easy-to-traverse path down the hill that minimizes erosion and environmental impacts to the area. We encourage anyone who would like to join us to bring everything needed for a day in the woods:closed-toed shoes, a favorite trail tool, eye protection and gloves. But if you don't have any tools, they will be provided." Funding for the Crowder's Mountain work is provided through a grant from Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI).
Now celebrating its 25th year, the CCC was established January 16, 1995, with the purposes of preserving the natural environment, promoting safe climbing practices and preserving access to climbing areas in North and South Carolina. Since its founding, the organization has grown and expanded tremendously. Today the CCC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation with the motto, "preserving, protecting, and expanding your climbing opportunities." In 2005 that motto took on new meaning when leaders of the organization became aware of an opportunity to purchase one of the largest cliffs in the Southeast, Laurel Knob. With overwhelming community and industry support, the CCC made an offer to purchase the cliff.
"The purchase of Laurel Knob transformed the CCC from being a grassroots organization to being landowners, land managers and advocates," says Reardon. "This change allows us to be part of a growing movement of organizations that are truly preserving and expanding climbing opportunities. We continue to work with local, state and federal organizations to help preserve and protect our climbing privileges."
CCC will have another work day at Crowder's Mountain in March. "There is always more work to be done," says Reardon. "We are proud that as of 2019 CCC volunteers had completed a total of 4,000 service hours in the two Carolinas."
For more information about the CCC or its Crowder's Mountain Trail Day, search for "Carolina Climber's Coalition" on Facebook or visit the organization's web site at www.carolinaclimbers.org.