Photo by Jay Young
The idea behind the first (Not) Work Week began in 2014. This was when Gene Kistler created the equation, work + fun = not work, thus the creation of (Not) Work Week.
This year, when Gene came up with the most complex project of them all, we felt like we’d been prepping for this one for the last nine years.
We knew this project would require special materials and extra funds. Bryan Simon, NRAC board member, secured grant funding for the project through the Access Fund and American Alpine Club.
Weeks before the event, Gene rallied local climbers for at least a week’s worth of prep work, including loading and unloading 50 timbers onto the barge to make their way to the project site at Whippoorwill. He lined up a specialty crew of volunteers with rock masonry, trail construction, and project management skills. The National Park Service offered up their tools and a trail crew member to help.
This year’s (Not) Work Week started out muddy and rainy. When we say muddy, we mean folks were covered head to toe. Andrew Jordan demonstrated his willingness to get dirty immediately, setting the standard for the rest of the week.
Photo by Augie Wagner
Each day started with coffee from Ranger Finder Coffee and a pep talk from Gene, where he described the day’s objectives and told us not to get hurt. He said “bungle” at least once daily when describing the terrain. #IYKYK, and if you don’t know, that’s okay – it just means we were working with rocky terrain.
Our progress was slow from the start. We thought our project might take longer than planned, and then BAM… A super strong crew of volunteers were picking up and sliding precast stairs weighing 465 lbs. down a makeshift slide made from a piece of culvert cut in half. It felt like we might even construct a pyramid. Volunteers were moving so quickly!
Keith Marretta started busting out timber stairs like it was his job. But remember, it wasn’t because this is (Not) Work Week after all. By the end of the week, 44 timber stairs made their way into the ground, and 20 precast stairs led the way to the top of the Whippoorwill approach trail.
Each day, our buddies Cote Womack and Darek Czarnecki with the Army Corps of Engineers delivered load after load of gravel on two barges to Whippoorwill so we could fill 64 gabions with tons of gravel. How many trail workdays have you heard of that included not one but TWO barges?! Props to those who spent time shoveling gravel into the gabions. This is truly back-breaking work!
The entire week wasn’t just about working our butts off but also about making new friends and catching up with old ones. Some volunteers returned for their 5th year in a row! We made new friends from Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina. We also had the chance to finally meet community members who recently bought homes or moved to the area!
Photo by Iris Lee
Each night we had dinner together, family style. Local restaurants provided food at Burnwood Campground, and community members hosted us in their homes on other nights. A big shout-out goes to the Kistlers, Crumms, Fussells, and Chabers for hosting!
We wrapped up the week at Bridge Brew Works with a BIG F*@&ING PARTY, aka the BFP. Our buddies at Cast Iron Smokers made food while a local band, Kid Cherry and the Graduates, played music.
It feels hard to explain why (Not) Work Week is so special and why this year felt more special than all the others. Moving dirt, shoveling gravel, smashing rocks, and building stairs seem simple, but when you combine that with a badass crew of volunteers and an enormous volunteer community effort, it feels like we’re making history.
Thank you to everyone who made this year’s (Not) Work Week the best one yet! We can’t wait for next year!
You may have noticed that we have been focusing much time and resources on our 𝙒𝙝𝙞𝙥𝙥𝙤𝙧𝙬𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙍𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙋𝙧𝙤𝙟𝙚𝙘𝙩 𝙞𝙣 𝙎𝙪𝙢𝙢𝙚𝙧𝙨𝙫𝙞𝙡𝙡𝙚 𝙇𝙖𝙠𝙚. We have two huge THANK YOUs to give out in regard to this project and the organizations who are supporting this work!
NRAC was recently awarded two grants that support the restoration and protection of this unique and popular climbing area. We have been working hard with the help of our volunteers to restore and build a new climbing trail and base-of-crag infrastructure. The grant funds are supporting our work here as well as purchasing materials that are needed to complete this project including gabions, stone stair treads, split rail fence, and seeds for re-vegetation.
This project was made possible by:
⭐𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗔𝗺𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗔𝗹𝗽𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗖𝗹𝘂𝗯 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗚𝗿𝗮𝗻𝘁
⭐𝗔𝗰𝗰𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗙𝘂𝗻𝗱 𝗖𝗹𝗶𝗺𝗯𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗚𝗿𝗮𝗻𝘁
We want to give a massive thank you to @americanalpineclub and @accessfund for awarding us these grants.
Interested in becoming more involved? Become a re-occurring donor via the 🔗 in our bio to help our cause!
Earlier this year, NRAC and Climbing for Change announced the 𝘿𝙞𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙨𝙞𝙩𝙮 𝙞𝙣 𝘾𝙡𝙞𝙢𝙗𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙂𝙧𝙖𝙣𝙩.
Marina Inoue, a professional rock climber and contributor to NRAC’s DEI committee, was able to share with us why this work is important to her and our community. Marina also works with a group called The Gear Fund Collective which redistributes new/used outdoor gear for free to individuals who have experienced oppression due to their identities.
“𝘛𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘊𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘺:
𝘔𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘤𝘭𝘪𝘮𝘣𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘬 𝘰𝘧 𝘤𝘭𝘪𝘮𝘣𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘴𝘩𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘭𝘥. 𝘛𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘴𝘱𝘢𝘤𝘦 𝘢𝘸𝘢𝘺 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘪𝘴 𝘢 𝘱𝘳𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘭𝘦𝘨𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘉𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘬, 𝘐𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘨𝘦𝘯𝘰𝘶𝘴, 𝘗𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘊𝘰𝘭𝘰𝘳, 𝘓𝘎𝘉𝘛𝘘𝘐𝘈2𝘚+, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘋𝘪𝘴𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦𝘥 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘥𝘰 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘷𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘦𝘹𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘢𝘮𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘺. 𝘊𝘭𝘪𝘮𝘣𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘪𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘢𝘯 𝘦𝘹𝘤𝘦𝘱𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘷𝘪𝘰𝘭𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘴𝘰𝘤𝘪𝘦𝘵𝘺 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘦𝘯𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘶𝘱𝘰𝘯 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘦𝘴.
𝘞𝘰𝘳𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘭𝘦 𝘢𝘤𝘤𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘣𝘢𝘳𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘦, 𝘤𝘭𝘢𝘴𝘴, 𝘴𝘦𝘹𝘶𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺, 𝘢𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘨𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘯𝘥𝘶𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘺 𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘯 𝘢𝘤𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘤𝘢𝘳𝘦. 𝘐𝘵 𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘵𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵 𝘪𝘯 𝘤𝘭𝘪𝘮𝘣𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘢𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘢𝘳𝘦, 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘧𝘦𝘢𝘳 𝘰𝘳 𝘩𝘦𝘴𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘶𝘱 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘹𝘪𝘮𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘢𝘯𝘥/𝘰𝘳 𝘮𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘶𝘴 𝘲𝘶𝘰 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘱 𝘧𝘢𝘤𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵. 𝘞𝘦 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘢 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘬 𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴, 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘶𝘰𝘶𝘴𝘭𝘺."
Thank you Marina for sharing and for all the work you do!
𝗔𝗽𝗽𝗹𝗶𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗰𝗹𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝗝𝘂𝗻𝗲 𝟭𝘀𝘁!