Meet The We Can Grant Recipient: Washington Climbers Coalition

Please Note: The Outdoor Research We Can Grant formally retired in 2020. Thank you to all who applied to and supported this program, we are happy to see the contributions live beyond its year. Learn about the grant and its previous winners below.

Climbing is getting popular. Super popular. And that increase in traffic has consequences for local crags everywhere. That’s why Outdoor Research is proud to announce that the Washington Climbing Conservation Initiative is one of two recipients of the inaugural We Can Grant. Because it takes thought, money, time and elbow grease to keep our climbing areas sustainable and accessible.

“If we don't work proactively with land managers, recreational access can be threatened by increased user-impacts or changing land-use priorities,” explains Joe Sambataro, who has helped the Washington Climbing Conservation Initiative take action and make change. It’s a partnership between the Washington Climbers Coalition, the Access Fund and other partners—and its laying a groundwork for a future of sustainable climbing areas in Washington in a number of ways. Like stewardship improvements, climber education and local community partnerships.

“The We Can Grant has provided critical support towards my role in coordinating with WCC, dozens of community partners, land managers, and the Access Fund Conservation Team,” Joe explains. “This level of coordination makes 11 weeks and 2,320 hours of trail work with 290 volunteers come together. The We Can Grant is helping WCC and Access Fund build a platform to continue this work year after year.”

Want to know more about how your organization could benefit from the We Can Grant? “Think big,” Joe says. He suggests that bringing on multiple partners can help add to the success of your project. “If [you’re] working to steward and protect public lands, work with land managers early in the process to design and approve a feasible project. Then, bring in multiple stakeholders and reach out broader than the usual user group to strengthen diversity, equity, and inclusion. Think about how this grant can not only help make a difference on the ground once, but how you can continue the work in future years and create a legacy that can be replicated with other cherished places and communities.”

Find out more and check out our online application here!