Wytheville, VA: There's a fair amount of indoor climbing in central Ohio – but what about outdoor climbing? The dolemite cliffs along the Mad River just outside of Springfield have been an illicit climbing spot for the last two decades, but they are illicit no more. About 40 acres on the south side of the river have been turned into the Mad River Gorge and Nature Preserve, and the Clark County Parks District has plans to add about 60 acres to the property. Team East Central recently conducted a Hot Spot in the area, and found a budding community of climbers, locals, and land managers all eager to protect this well-loved spot.
Want to get involved in your community? Here are three ways that you can make a difference in the Mad River Gorge:
Give a Little Informal Time
Since its May opening, over 125,000 pounds of trash have been pulled out of the Gorge, but a lot more trash – especially microtrash – still remains. Come for the climbing, but stay a little longer to pick up some trash along the trails and near the cliffs. Pack out as much as you can, but use provided trash cans at the top of the Gorge when you can't haul larger things out yourself.
Get Ready for the Formals
The Ohio Climbers' Coalition is planning a monthly volunteer cleanup starting in the spring. If you're new to the area, looking for friends to climb with, or looking to meet new people passionate about the outdoors, these events are for you! Check out the Ohio Climbers' Coalition Facebook page to keep up with this and other events surrounding the Gorge.
Join as a Member
Even though the Hot Spot's over, Leave No Trace will still be involved with the property for years to come; consider supporting this and other Hot Spots by becoming a member of Leave No Trace. Your membership supports all the free education the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers do, and it gets you some membership perks as well. If you want to focus more locally, the Ohio Climbers' Coalition also offers memberships, and the Clark County Parks District takes donations – particularly in-kind donations as they relate to the cleanup of the site.
The Mad River Gorge and Nature Preserve is a beautiful spot with huge potential – but it's going to need your help in the coming years to make it the best climbing spot it can be. We hope you enjoy your sport climbing, and Enjoy Your World!
–Amanda and Junaid, Team East Central
Leave No Trace's Amanda Jameson and Junaid Dawud are part of the 2017 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, REI, Eagles Nest Outfitters, Deuter, Thule, Klean Kanteen, and Smartwool.
Let’s protect and enjoy our natural world together
Get the latest in Leave No Trace eNews in your inbox so you can stay informed and involved.