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Smith Rock's annual "Spring Thing" 2004
"Spring Thing" at Smith Rock, Oregon
On May 8, 2004 nearly 150 people showed up at Smith Rock State Park to take part
in the 12th Annual "Spring Thing." Although mostly climbers, others such as
hikers, Mt bikers, bird watchers, school groups and the boy scouts all
volunteered their day to help Oregon Parks and Recreation Department maintain
trails and make improvements to one of the most visited parks in Central Oregon.
Work projects included adding erosion control measures, planting native plants
in impacted areas, picking up litter and making climbing area enhancements and
improvements. The big project this year was completing the rock walls at Morning
Glory Wall area, which was started last year. Pressure treated timbers and rebar
removed and replaced with dry stacked basalt rock, which is commonly used as
landscaping throughout Central Oregon. Due to the popularity of Smith Rock the
rebar are just not holding up to the amount of use. The new rock walls create
stable erosion retaining walls, large flat areas for climbing gear organization,
and look better
than the pressure treated wood. Another series of rock walls was started in the
Dihedrals in a similar manner.
An amazing amount of work also occurred in Agro Gully and Shipwreck Wall areas.
Last winter the high amounts of snow and moisture loosened up the dirt. Much of
work in Agro Gully focused on shoring up some loose rocks and scree slopes.
Shipwreck Wall also saw many improvements. The trail to the main part of the
excellent improvements. Large rocks were used to create step and ledges for
hiking and climbing. Loose scree was removed from above the trail to prevent
dirt and rock from falling onto the trail.
Rope-de-Dope, the main entrance trail and Misery Ridge trail were also cleaned
and improved. A split rail fence was installed near the river below the
Dihedrals to prevent
people from walking on the fragile hillside. A couple of groups worked along the
Crooked River shoreline to clean up trash left from high water and pull noxious
The Smith Rock Group is a non-profit organization, which works with Smith Rock
State Park to help maintain the recreation opportunities in the park. Many
people in the
group live near the park and spend countless hours organizing this yearly event.
Although it is only one day there is a large amount of effort that must occur
before and after the event to ensure success. The group spends several months
lining up the volunteer projects with park staff. About 20 yards of rock was
needed to construct the rock walls this year. The rock had to be moved in a
truck then by tractor and finally by a motorized wheelbarrow. At one site the
ground was so steep that all the rock had to be carried by hand for the last
100feet. All this work had to be done by the Smith Rock Group before the day of
the event, due to the limited amount of equipment and
congestion on the trails.
In the evening, dinner was served to the volunteers. Recognition was given to
"Ranger Dave" Slaght for all his work with the group and climbing community.
This was Dave's
last day at Smith, since he has been promoted to a Team Leader at Cove Palisades
State Park at Lake Billy Chinook. Dave thanked the volunteers for helping,
that the work accomplished saved the park thousands of dollars. Dave introduced
the new Ranger, Thad Fitzhenry who had already started work at Smith Rock.
The volunteers were treated with a slide show of everyone working throughout the
day. A slide show of a trip to Cuba was given free of charge from Brittany
Timmy O'Neil, which had the audience rolling with laughter.
Various climbing gear companies donated product or services, which was raffled
or auctioned to raise over $3,000, for supplies and materials for next years
project. Support for the event was excellent. Salomon provided the largest
contribution with gear for the auction. Metolius, Evolv, Entre Prises, Black
Diamond, Patagonia, and Redpoint/First Ascent all made substantial donations.
Other significant contributions were received from Sunset Realty, Inclimb Gym,
Michael Geisen, Bluewater, Metabolic Maintenance, Stone Age, Portland Rock Gym,
Eagle Crest, Solid Rock Climbers for Christ, The Greens at Redmond, Five Ten,
Crooked River Ranch, Petzl, Chaco, Kelty, Courtney Lower, Misty Mountain
Threadwear, Wild County, Red Chili, Cascade Designs/MSR, Clif Bar, Athletic Club
of Bend, Liberty Mountain, SmithRock.com and Rockhard.
--Ian Caldwell for The Access Fund
Note: Ian Caldwell is working his way through
the 5.14 test pieces at Smith Rock. --Webmeister
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