We formally began the fund raising campaign in May 2012. Our goal was to raise $50,000.00 by May 2013 and, in early June 2013, we met that goal. And we had some fun along the way. Read about the March 25, 2013 event, one of many.
Toilet Project Status:
As of June 2013, the Department of Fish and Wildlife tells us we are on track for installation in Fall 2013.
This will be WAY better than a sanican!
Photo by Brian Hench
||Vantage Toilet Fund
Barring unanticipated cost overruns, we now have the funds to build a toilet at Vantage and the Department of Fish and Wildlife says we are on track for installation in the Fall of 2013!
Why Does This Matter?
To put it mildly, human waste management has long been a problem at the climbing area known as Vantage (the area is also known as Frenchman Coulee but most of the climbs are in Echo Basin, not Frenchman Coulee).
This remarkable desert recreation area is a long way from the nearest rest stop. The area is used by hundreds of climbers on busy weekends during the Spring and Fall climbing season, and concert goers headed for the Gorge Amphitheater also camp here during the Summer concert season. Other users visit here too: it was featured in a guidebook for popular hikes with children and it has been the site of at least one geocache.
This area is popular in large part because it is a unique bit of desert landscape and easily accessible because it is close to Interstate 90. It is also a fragile area. The desert environment does not support rapid decay of human waste and toilet paper left under rocks or even on the surface; human waste presents not only an unsightly mess but an environmental threat.
Porta potties have proven unworkable. They have been insufficient to keep up with demand on busy weekends. Equally problematic is the fact that they are subject to vandalism and abuse such that the contractor charged with maintenance refused to even service them for a few years. The Washington Climbers Coalition funded the placement of porta potties during recent Spring and Fall climbing seasons.
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If you prefer to donate the old fashioned way, send checks to the address appearing at the top of this page.
The Washington Climbers Coalition is a 501(c)(3) non profit organization. All donations are tax deductible. We are an all volunteer organization so all funds go directly toward access and stewardship projects in Washington.
More about us.
Climbers have sought a toilet facility here for years (decades, really). The Department of Fish and Wildlife, which manages the area, has no budget for new facilities and has until now declined to support any proposals to try to raise the funds. Last year a representative of the Mountaineers was finally able to secure a meeting on this topic.
In February 2012 representatives of the Washington Climbers Coalition, the American Alpine Club and the Mountaineers met with Fish and Wildlife personnel on site and reached an agreement that the Department would support the project if we could fund it.
In March 2012 we used funds donated by the former Frenchman Coulee Climbers Coalition to hire a team to undertake a cultural resource survey. This is required prior to development activity on State land. The result indicated there were no cultural artifacts or remains on the site and the project could proceed.
In April 2012 we had a septic designer survey the site. An Excavator dug holes at each of four sites to determine the feasibility of holding a vault toilet. Those four sites include two in or near the current Sunshine Wall access trail parking, and two near the camping area on the south side of the Feathers.
The results of this investigation allowed us to downward revise our prior estimate of project cost.
In May 2012 we formally kicked off the fund raising campaign and in June 2013 we met our fund raising goal of $50,000.00.
The area may require additional facilities but we are taking it one step at a time. After 20 years of seeking agency approval, we are well on our way and relief is in sight. Any additional funds donated to this cause will be used first for maintaining a Vantage toilet or other maintenance efforts in the area and, second, to fund similar efforts at other sites in Washington. The WCC has no paid staff and we do not maintain offices, vehicals, or other expensive infrastructure: all your donations go directly to Washington climbing.