Thank You from Muir Valley

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Liz_Weber
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Thank You from Muir Valley

Post by Liz_Weber » Thu Nov 04, 2010 11:07 am

Rick and I want to thank the climbing community for the heart-warming response to our recent request for help with Muir Valley. I’ve tried to send a personal note of thanks to each person who made a PayPal donation or sent a check to Friends of Muir Valley. If I have missed anyone, I am sorry. To those who made anonymous cash donations in the Friends of Muir Valley donation boxes, we also appreciate your contributions.

Rick and I have been asked a number of questions, both on-line and personally, which I’ll try to answer here.

Why does Muir Valley need donations? Don’t you get a portion of the donations and funds raised by RRGCC?

No, Muir Valley has never received a penny of support from RRGCC, although a number of our visitors have told us that they have made donations to RRGCC in appreciation of Muir Valley.

Did donations increase after the post here requesting help and the signs put up in Muir Valley?

Yes, there was a substantial increase in both the PayPal donations and the cash donations in the boxes after our plea on October 15. Both have since tapered off. as would be expected.

Do donations go directly to you and Rick to help defray expenses at Muir?

No, we have asked everyone wanting to make donations to make them to Friends of Muir Valley. Both PayPal donations and cash in the donation boxes are deposited in the FoMV accounts. FoMV undertakes and supports projects in Muir Valley throughout the year to help.

Where did the donations come from? What was the split between KY, OH and IN?

An interesting surprise there. The majority of the contributions (64%) came from outside that area, with 8% being international. Of the 36% coming from KY, OH and IN, Ohio was considerably higher than KY or IN.

Did the level of donations increase to a level that would pay the ongoing operating expenses of Muir Valley, or more?

Not by a long shot. Even at the level of donations, which peaked shortly after our appeal, Rick and I still continue to pay out of our own pockets the overwhelming majority of expenses to keep Muir Valley open.

What is a “fair” level of contribution?

That is something each person has to decide for himself. What does it cost you for a day’s climbing at the gym? Which gives you the better overall experience? A few generous people contribute more than their share, but the overwhelming majority make only infrequent minimal contributions, or in most cases, just take a free ride.

How much does it cost to run Muir Valley per visitor?

Since January of ’04, when we purchased the first parcel of land which was to become Muir Valley, not including the price of the land itself, Rick and I have spent $647,000, an average of $92,300 per year, building and maintaining the infrastructure and operating expense to provide the public free access to Muir Valley. With an expected 18,000 visitor-days for 2010, our expenses would be $6.15 per climber per day for 2010, That expense per climber would be higher for previous years when attendance was lower.

Will this level of funding from the Webers be continued?

No, Rick and I expect to continue to pay the majority of the expenses for Muir Valley, but we will not continue to support it at the present level.

What plans are in place to make up the deficit?

There are not yet definite plans in place. If the level of donations and volunteer work do not raise to a level that will allow continued operation, we may consider changes such as periodically closing Muir Valley when we need a rest and the valley needs a chance to heal, charging for some facilities that have previously been free (such as parking), and/or limiting the attendance at Muir Valley to a more sustainable level to cut down on expenses and wear on the Valley.

Liz Weber

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Re: Thank You from Muir Valley

Post by climb2core » Thu Nov 04, 2010 11:29 am

Liz, I would bring my $10 to park in a heart beat. Paying for parking would:
1.) Encourage car pooling and reduce total cars
2.) Reduce total climbers, thus reducing impact on the land/facilities and cost to maintain.
3.) Reduced climbers means less people on my route at the crag ;)
4.) Possibly keep MV open so I can send all the projects I have there...

If they don't want to pay, they don't have to climb in MV... There are no free rides in life.

Ian

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Re: Thank You from Muir Valley

Post by milspecmark » Thu Nov 04, 2010 11:32 am

I agree with making contributions mandatory. I always donate $10 per person climbing so a car full of climbers for to park for $10 would be not asking enough. I think everyone should just be expected to chip in at least $5 if not $10 to climb there.

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Re: Thank You from Muir Valley

Post by dustonian » Thu Nov 04, 2010 11:52 am

Agreed. A parking fee is fair and a great solution. Of course, people will still poach on weekdays, but there could be designated volunteers who check the box for payments and take money out to prevent midweek theft.

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Re: Thank You from Muir Valley

Post by caribe » Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:06 pm

Everyone should just plan a personal policy to pay $10.00/ visit. :-/ Having said that . . . I am amazed at the number of people who climb in the Red who do not read http://www.redriverclimbing.com.

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Re: Thank You from Muir Valley

Post by rhunt » Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:12 pm

Charging to park is a great idea, one I wish the RRGCC could use BUT it is the same as charging to climb in that it will open up the Webers to liability. But don't take my word for it, talk with a lawyer.

http://asci.uvm.edu/equine/law/recreate/ky_rec.htm
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Re: Thank You from Muir Valley

Post by Joe_HH » Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:50 pm

I think charging a parking fee is perfectly reasonable and will hopefully help with operating costs or at least serve to reduce the burden placed on Rick and Liz.

I am not a lawyer, but I am about to play one on the internet: I think the Weber's would not lose their liability waiver under KY's recreational use law if they were to implement a parking fee. A parking fee would not stop free, public access to Muir Valley. The Weber's have no obligation to provide parking or any other right-of-way access to their property under KY law. In fact, they don't even have an obligation to make it safe yet they've generously spent many thousands of dollars doing so. Even with this parking fee, people could still walk there, ride their bike there, ride a giant hawk there, whatever... for free. They just couldn't park in the parking lot without paying. I will grant that I'm personally assuming that the parking area would be a separate parcel from Muir Valley proper although I'm not sure it would have to be separate (as I am only an internet lawyer). This could be easily accomplished if it is not already.

Ultimately, I'm sure that the Weber's are very bright people, will consult a lawyer, and will continue to operate well within the bounds of Kentucky law.

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Re: Thank You from Muir Valley

Post by dustonian » Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:57 pm

Liz_Weber wrote: Where did the donations come from? What was the split between KY, OH and IN?

An interesting surprise there. The majority of the contributions (64%) came from outside that area, with 8% being international. Of the 36% coming from KY, OH and IN, Ohio was considerably higher than KY or IN.
Interesting, but to be fair and for the sake of statistical accuracy you would need to take into account the population size: 11.5 million in Ohio (!) versus 4.3 million in Kentucky and 6.4 million in Indiana (in lieu of reliable numbers of actual Muir visitors from each state).

In any case, great feedback Liz and thanks again for all you guys do to support climbing in the Red!

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Re: Thank You from Muir Valley

Post by enoch308 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:39 pm

Liz ,

Thank you for your post. An appeal for funds was worthy but stating the costs involved and the financial contribution that you and Rick have continued to make, puts more teeth into the need for the climbers to ante up with every trip we make. I will suggest that everyone I come with make a contribution. It's a great place. $10 a head for each trip seems reasonable for what we enjoy there.
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Re: Thank You from Muir Valley

Post by wberry » Fri Nov 05, 2010 8:47 am

Thank you "rhunt". Yes, charging a fee to climb does open an entire new set of issues for the Webers. Not only does it impact liability but I think it also paves the way for that sense of entitlement I get from folks I've encountered within National and State Parks. It seems to be that once someone has paid a fee, they now have the right to act at their pleasure, often in complete disregard of rules and requests and respect for the rights of others.

The popularity of climbing is growing quickly and with it a whole new group of people are joining the sport. I am seeing that many of our new friends do not subscribe to the principals I see among the seasoned climbing community. No trace prinicples seem to be more of an inconvenience than a necessity.

Parking fees do seem to be a good idea. Another thought that I had which is quite out of the box is memberships or a cooperative. A cooperative may be something that could really work but it would need a lot of support. I would be in!

Wendy

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Re: Thank You from Muir Valley

Post by toad857 » Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:43 am

good call on the 'memberships'

instead of having that big "overflow" parking area, it is separate "parking reserved for FOMV members, only", who get to climb regardless of whether the main lot is full, or whether MV is on hiatus due to overuse, etc. $50 a year for a membership?

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Re: Thank You from Muir Valley

Post by mike_a_lafontaine » Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:22 pm

toad857 wrote:good call on the 'memberships'

instead of having that big "overflow" parking area, it is separate "parking reserved for FOMV members, only", who get to climb regardless of whether the main lot is full, or whether MV is on hiatus due to overuse, etc. $50 a year for a membership?
$50 a year plus 1 day volunteer activity monthly or bimonthly.

In fact, I wouldn't mind seeing everyone who climbs there be required to help out at least a little prior to being allowed to climb. That would not only reduce the traffic, but those that are culled are precisely the ones who are treating MV like crap. I'm betting the vast majority of the people who turn out for trail days are not crapping next to the trail, destroying the bathrooms, leaving trash behind, etc. Would really be nice to get rid of the folks who are in a selective manner.

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Re: Thank You from Muir Valley

Post by clif » Fri Nov 05, 2010 3:15 pm

this sounds like it's headed in the right direction to me. i'll only note (and have no idea what the material expenses were, are, or will be)
but 90,000 a year, if considered the baseline expense of maintaining Muir Valley, would take considerable effort. the 250 to 350, call it 1000 for the math and continued growth, is 100 dollars a person per year. 1000 visiting 5 times a year EACH. well, on the bright side there would most likely be at least one person out of that group every weekend to clean the bathrooms.
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Re: Thank You from Muir Valley

Post by jules » Sat Nov 06, 2010 6:15 pm

I absolutely agree with paying for parking, and I'd pay extra if we could bring our two dogs. :D
When can I say I'm too old for this?

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Re: Thank You from Muir Valley

Post by blakeleathers » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:30 pm

only if your dog is going to be used as a crash pad. ... no pun intended.

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