Another Year in the Books

2022 Community Meeting

Apologies, due to technical issues, some audio/video was lost due to buffering.

One Year Later

2021 Community Meeting

Meeting Recap

The following is a synopsis of discussion points and questions. If you would like the more detailed answer or hear the full conversation, please use the time stamp indicated (i.e. 1:02) to find it in the video. 

Greeting by Board President, Kate Fetterolf.

Key points:

  • One Year Later!
  • We have a strong foundation
  • We are building relationships
  • We continue to collaborate across the state
  • We look toward the future and hope you will be here with us.


Finance Committee Update - Dana Caracciolo (3:40)

Key Points:

  • 501c3 and insurance are huge milestones
  • We applied for and got denied our first grant. Don’t worry…there are more in the pipeline.
  • We are grateful to the businesses and individuals who have proactively donated to EPAC. We have been extremely mindful of what fundraising looks like in the midst of a pandemic. Our basic approach is to seek grant funding for operations and projects as much as possible. We only want to ask climbers to fund specific projects. 
  • Access Fund just launched its biggest membership deal of the year. For one week only, anyone who signs up for an AF membership through this link ( will receive discounted pricing through October 6, 2021.  The regularly priced $65 annual joint membership with a shirt is discounted to $55 during this campaign.


Conservation and Stewardship Committee Update - Joe Forte (8:00)

Key Points:

  • All critical ambassador roles have been filled!
  • Several successful stewardship events at Boxcar Rocks, High Rocks, Mocanaqua Main Wall and we looking forward to more events being planned.
  • EPAC has been involved in the Mocanaqua OHV park discussions 
  • Tilbury Update: We have created a strong relationship with private landowners and feel optimistic

Community Engagement Committee Update - Georgia Sitaras (12:45)

Key points:

  • We hosted game nights at various gyms with hopes to expand to a gym near you. The goal is to use these as a vehicle to learn about the community and build relationships with the climbers.
  • We’ve standardized a feedback system and added it to our website because we want to engage with the community and genuinely want to hear your thoughts. Share Your Voice !
  • We are working on Gym to Crag  information nights and an educational series
  • We’ve initiated conversations with affinity groups to figure out how we can partner and better support them. Conversations included solutions around gear libraries, transportation, co-hosting events, & providing support to expand chapters. 


PA State Wide JEDI Committee - Kate Fetterolf (15:30)

Key points:

  • We are excited to collaborate with SWPACC, SCPC and HBC to find a common voice.
  • We hope to host a town hall style meeting to discuss needs in the community across all of PA.
  • We are exploring opportunities for education on allyship.

Access Fund Liaison Report - Dana Caracciolo (17:00)

Key points:

  • We have worked extremely close with Access Fund in getting EPAC set-up. Shout out to Zachary and Jenna!
  • We have been pulling in Mike Morin, AF NE Regional Director, into our conversations on issues in which we currently lack knowledge or skill set. This support and guidance has been immensely helpful. 
  • Mike Morin and Dana co-presented at the PA Greenways and Trails Conference on the role rock climbers play in conservation and stewardship.
  • Access Fund Advocacy Conference is Oct 8&9. Sign up for recorded sessions even if you can’t make it to the virtual event. 
  • We are having conversations within the DCNR system about how to better support and mindful develop climbing. In the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, “climbing” was 4th in Other category and 2nd in “like to try”.  Joel (SWPACC), Adam(SCPC) and Dana presented to working group and we continue to have discussions.  

How can I get more involved with EPAC ? (22:00)

Key points:

  • Use our feedback form on our website.
  • Contact EPAC with specific ideas on how you would like to get involved.
  • Join and promote our website, social media, mailing list.
  • Attend Trail Days, Climb and Cleans, Stewardship Projects and, coming soon, will be events put on by your local area ambassadors. (All listed on website!)
  • Contribute financially, if able.
  • We also have some specific volunteer opportunities coming up. For example, we will be looking for a social media manager with some graphic design ability.
  • We will be hosting upcoming elections and may have open board positions.

What, if any, advocacy is EPAC perusing in the realm of legislation? (26:00)

The only thing currently on our radar is whether to pursue having “rock climbing” specifically listed in the Pennsylvania Recreational Use of Land and Water Act. Currently, rock climbing would fall under the broad definition of “recreational purpose”.

Pennsylvania has a statute that provides a degree of immunity to landowners who make their properties available to the public for free recreational use. The Recreational Use of Land and Water Act provides that:

[A]n owner of land owes no duty of care to keep the premises safe for entry or use by others for recreational purposes, or to give any warning of a dangerous condition, use, structure, or activity on such premises to persons entering for such purposes.

Landowners who permit or invite members of the general public onto their properties for recreational purposes, free of “charge,” can raise this statute as a defense if they are sued for personal injury or property damage. (credit:

How does EPAC receive funds from the Access Fund Joint Membership program? (29:11)

Funds received depend on a variety of factors including annual membership vs recurring, or whether climbers signup on the Access Fund site vs at an EPAC event.

EPAC was intentional in our formation to not have a membership or fee based structure in order to be part of the community. We chose to do this as a means of removing barriers and inspiring inclusivity. For those who want a membership, we encourage the Joint Partnership program so they part of the Access Fund but can still support EPAC in doing so.

What type of grants are you pursuing? (31:50)

We have a few small, local grants currently out for application.  We continue to have conversations with various foundations to understand how EPAC can fit into their requirements. EPAC is still new and growing so we need to build a more solid economic foundation and financial history.

What regional area does EPAC cover? What about the areas in PA that don't have a designated LCO? (34:45)

We loosely cover “Eastern Pennsylvania” which includes from the Philadelphia area up to the Northern border and as far west as the Boxcar Rocks area. That being said, we do have overlap with some other LCOs and consider our boundaries to be fluid as needs arise.

In terms of areas without LCOs, such as North Central PA, we are committed to working with all the LCOs in PA to make sure that if an area has a need or access issue that one of us can step up to fill the void. 

Discussion: EPAC events and increasing touch points. (41:50)

Comments and ideas were shared on how to keep EPAC engaged with our community since we don’t have a formal membership structure. 

Question regarding access to a few specific climbing area? (48:20)

Green Lane Boulders, PA is closed

Musconetcong Gorge, NJ had permitted climbing previously. We are not sure of current status.

Joe noted that we have to be mindful of areas with sensitive or closed access. Furthermore, while online listings and social media are great, it does allow information to spread quickly and sometime inaccurately so it is important we correct misinformation, educate climbers and be good role models.

Closing Comments - Kate Fetterolf (56:45)

Thank you for joining us!


2020 Community Meeting

Questions From The Community

The following questions were either submitted prior to the meeting or asked during the meeting. The written answers below contain the essence of each answer but not the answer in its entirety. If you would like the more detailed answer or hear the full conversation, please use the time stamp indicated (i.e. 1:02) to find it in the video. 

What triggered the creation of this group? (8:40)

When everything shut down in March, it left all of us wondering what to do. Climbers, land managers, and advocates were all trying to figure out what it meant to climbing. The Access Fund began reaching out to get a sense of who was open or closed, what climbing areas were experiencing, and then started bringing regions together to help develop guidance. It was apparent that Eastern PA did not have a unified voice or a coalesced group to get this information from. 


The purpose of EPAC is not to own these climbing areas or micro-manage them. We are not taking over existing efforts or groups. We want to provide an organizational framework so that we can all do more together. So every group or individual doing the same work we value doesn’t need to incorporate, get nonprofit status, file for exemption, get insurance, and so on.

Do you do any work around maintaining bolts/hardware on climbs or coordinating with local authorities and first ascentionists for that reason? (14:05)

This is definitely work that EPAC plans to take on in the future, but we don’t have insurance that would cover us for this type of work yet, and we also need to research policies. We’re still in the early phases of developing the organization, so we’re not operating on this level yet. 

It’s big issues like this one that prompted the creation of EPAC though, so we will be moving in this direction. As climbers, we’re much stronger as an organization, and bolt and hardware maintenance is a great example of how EPAC will be able to use this strength to support the climbing community.


How can we build better in-roads to folks who have climbed for a long time, and perhaps feel overwhelmed by the influx of new climbers who want to get into outdoor climbing without creating tension between traditional and new communities? (14:54)

Although many of us don’t personally feel this tension, many of us have certainly witnessed or experienced it. Personally, we love the opportunities we’ve had at the crag to both learn from more experienced climbers as well as mentor younger climbers. We think one of the most powerful things we can do as a group is empower our experienced climbers to help guide and mentor the next generation.  By cultivating mentorship and educational experiences, we can help preserve the cultural and ethical values of our local communities.  

What are ways to connect and interact with new climbers in the community. I have recently moved into the area and a way to make friends around the climbing community would be great. Finding belay partners, getting involved, socially distant events. (17:08)

From an EPAC standpoint, we don’t have anything like this in place at the moment. It is certainly something we can consider in future planning. In the short term, wherever you are looking to climb, there is probably a community, group, or meetup already in existence so it is just a matter of finding them. It may be a little difficult right with so many events being cancelled due to COVID but there is still a welcoming community of climbers out there. We will be listing events sponsored by both EPAC or other LCOs.


What can gym reps do for EPAC? (18:26)

Right now the best thing gyms can do is make their climbers and staff aware of EPAC, and educate them about the work we will be doing for the community. You can use any media and platforms you have available to help spread the word, share our posts, and educate climbers. Down the road, we will be offering partnership and outreach programs that can be run through the gyms.  

How do we create a climbing community that has ALL climbers in mind? For example - Climbers of Color, LGBTQIA+ Climbers, disabled climbers, women identifying climbers, etc.) (18:54)

Of course we don’t have all of the answers for this. It’s important to us as EPAC, but also to each of us personally.  At the very start of EPAC we took interim roles. We believe that so much of the change we need to see is structural in nature. One of the first decisions we made as a group was to build a community beyond ourselves and to build a diverse organization starting with our leadership. We are ready to step aside and take supporting roles. We believe that this is a powerful starting point. We believe that this diverse leadership team will have the collective experience and knowledge to help everyone feel welcome in our climbing community.

In addition to this, we will be supported by a contact at Access Fund who works with LCOs across the country guiding them to become more diverse.  We will continue to educate ourselves in specific ways to diversify EPAC.

What areas will you cover and how will you help them? (20:03)

One of our core values is to preserve and restore our climbing lands, so we want to be available to help out at any area needing help in Eastern PA.  Our boundaries will be fairly loose, and no area is too big or too small.  We will help where help is needed, and where there is a desire to get involved.  One of the most exciting ideas we talked about was having “area ambassadors”, where we can connect with and empower the local stewards at each crag.  They know their crags better than anyone else, and we will be there to provide as much support as possible

Will EPAC address the continuation of cleanups (poison ivy/weeds/graffiti/trash) at local crags. (21:38)

Preservation is absolutely part of our mission. Our goal is to work with local climbing groups and organizations to take care of our climbing areas, including graffiti and trash. We recognize doing this kind of work would be with best intentions, but we need to secure permission from land managers and work within the system they choose to operate, especially when using chemicals. Plant life, even poison ivy and weeds are a bit different than human made damage.  As much as we all hate poison ivy, we want to preserve our climbing areas in the most natural state possible, which usually means leaving native plants, including poison ivy. The exception for this generally would be when maintaining climbs. So, again if land managers want our help, we will work with them to create a plan. We have found that once a good relationship is established then getting work done is not an issue. The Haycock Bouldering Coalition graffiti clean-up summer series is a great example of a local organization working with a land manager to create a solution.

Will there be any efforts to work with conservation groups in the future to keep the ecosystems we climb in healthy? (23:22)

Absolutely. Recognizing that the lands we climb on are part of a greater ecosystem as well as multiple user groups is essential. Oftentimes there are other like minded groups doing similar work and we want to connect with them. For example, working with the Lower Delaware Wild & Scenic River Management Council may seem a bit out of place on the surface but they have interest in preserving the Tohickon Creek as well as how the I-80 rock fall mitigation plan is progressing.

I’m interested in learning more about the steps EPAC will be taking in fulfilling the goals in making EPAC a diverse organization. It is important to me that we are not just talking-the-talk in diversity, equity and inclusion but also doing the work to create the space that is welcoming and suitable and accepting of people from a variety of different backgrounds. What steps does EPAC plan to take in opening up the sport to the people in the Philadelphia area or some of the other cities around Eastern Pennsylvania. (25:35)

This is important to us as a group and also as individuals. We made a concerted effort to invite as many people as we could. We reached out to organizations, affinity groups, and gyms. We were hoping for a much larger turnout. As a group we will need to rethink and keep trying. Our goal continues to be finding a diverse leadership team. We believe the change needs to be from the top down. This was our first attempt, and clearly we have some room to improve. There are a lot of decisions we haven’t made yet because we are waiting for our team after the elections in November. When we select our new leadership we will continue to work on this. It would be really helpful for community members to help us with this. Please spread the word.  Please give us feedback.

What’s next? What can we be doing now? (33:42)

We need to get the word out there and find our most qualified individuals to take leadership roles. As we mentioned, our roles are interim roles. We want to make sure that the best leaders are in place and that our leadership is diverse. So, please spread the word. We want to make sure in December no one says “I never heard of that, I didn’t know that was coming”. We want to make sure that everyone gets an opportunity to get involved.  So, please spread the word about this exciting new organization.  Please also take the time to give us feedback or share ideas. You can contact us through our website, through email or if we run into you out climbing.  We’re also looking for feedback on where help is needed.  Figuring out who those people are who are already doing work at crags so we can connect the dots would be really helpful.

What is your policy, or do you have one in mind, how long these board positions will last. What does the turn over and policy of board members look like? What does iteration one, two, three and four look like? (36:09)

We’ve set a one year terms for leadership and board of directors. We are currently doing interim positions through November. If needed we can extend that.  We would like to keep these interim positions as minimal as possible and give others the opportunity to take our places. 

Will you have a general election or will board members elect their replacements? (38:26)

Board members will elect the new board. Board members are able to step down to make room for new members. We can also vote to expand our board and add members.

You are separating the roles of the board from the roles of secretary, treasurer, vice president and president, correct? Are they separate entities with separate purviews? (39:15)

We currently have a president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary. We have five other board members. Currently, officers are also board members

Can we take any steps to reduce vandalism? (40:53)

Unfortunately we have dealt with this a lot in Eastern Pennsylvania.  We don’t have a great answer for how to stop it, but we need to stay on top of it. We need the community to be reporting it. A good place to report that would be to EPAC. We need to be aware that it is happening and aware as soon as possible so we can take quick action.  The Haycock Bouldering Coalition is a good example.  There was a summer graffiti cleanup series. During the cleanup series, new graffiti was being added, but it was a continual series and we stayed on top of it. New graffiti was removed within days of being reported. We seem to have quelled any new graffiti, at least for the time being. The timing is important – It needs to be reported to someone who can respond quickly.

Are you aware of the situation in TIlbury? (46:43)

We know there has been active bolting at Tilbury and people are concerned.  The land is not being managed. We are not equipped to handle that yet, but, it’s on our radar. Tilbury is also on the radar with The Access Fund, and contacts have been made. Discussions have started. It is on State Forest land. Some folks may or may not know that there are actual climbing management protocols that have been written up, and policy that should be followed properly.