Josh Fowler and I opened our documentary Heart of Stone with a chance encounter in Steele, Alabama.
Southeastern Climbers Coalition activist Brad McLeod walked a cliffline with a local landowner and a realtor, talked some turkey, and shook hands at the base of the access trail. The ball was rolling on access to a climbing that had been shut down since the early 80s, when, as the story goes, one too many climbers traipsed through another landowners tomato farm at the top.
In the few months since then, McLeod and the SCC sealed the deal on 25 acres of land, including 1400 linear feet of sandstone cliffs, an access trail, and even a trailer house at the base. Like all SCC purchases, this land will be multi-use, open to all, and preserved for future generations.
To really follow through, of course, the SCC needs to raise the money to pay off the note. That’s where Chaco Sandals and Rock/Creek Outfitters come in. A long-time supporter of greenspace initiatives, Chaco is teaming up with Rock/Creek (SNEWS and Backpacker Magazine’s 2009 Online Retailer of the Year) to raise $5000 toward the purchase, by donating a portion of ALL sandal sales for a period of time through Rock/Creek.
Go here to learn more.
Josh and I were tapped to create a promo for this partnership. You can see it in HD below:
Much more cliffline (some say the best) is still privately-owned at Steele, but this plot gives the climbing community a foothold in the region, and a strong position from which to negotiate with other landowners for access. We’re neighbors now. Good neighbors. So don’t screw it up!