Site Preservation Grants
RVHPA - Whaleback Launch Improvement Project, Part 1, (4/16/2011)
The Whaleback is a spectacular flying site located on the Klamath National Forest in far Northern California, next to Mt. Shasta. With the stunning backdrop of a snow-clad volcano, it offers a diversity of flying experiences from smooth evening flights to epic XC adventures over challenging terrain. The united efforts of the Rogue Valley Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (RVHPA) and the FFF to improve LZ have allowed for the re-opening of the site, after several years of declining use; and as a result, its popularity is now skyrocketing. Part one of the project was completed, but the launch site still had serious safety and usability issues for paragliding that were addressed in part two of the project.
Originally developed as a flying site in the late 1980’s, popular throughout the 1990s, with pilots from Northern California and Southern Oregon, The Whaleback had essentially become a lost site by the late 2000’s. More than 15 years without maintenance allowed sagebrush to overtake the LZ, rendering it unusable to all but the most intrepid paraglider pilots. Eventually hang glider pilots stopped flying the site entirely.
With needed improvements the site has re-opened again and is now in great usable form. This grant was for $5,500 from the Site Preservation Fund.
RVHPA - Whaleback Grant Proposal, Part 2, (8/16/2011)
This additional grant for $2,500, from the Site Preservation Fund, helped the RVHPA complete the Launch improvements. After these initial improvements had been finished, the contouring ground was not as steep to make the launch safe for both hang gliders and paragliders, or to accommodate less-skilled pilots to make safe launches. Additional work was requested to be done on parts of the launch slope as well. The club was eager to have this work performed while they still had heavy equipment on-site, thus reducing costs. Additional Funding enabled RVHPA to make the practical and important safety finishes to their original project that the FFF felt were prudent.
Hillcrest Open Space Fund Grant - Butte Montana Site Improvement (10/11/2011)
For this initiative, the FFF was able to show support for a much larger long-term effort that has been ongoing for land use planning of an important area near Butte Montana. As a result of this project, the Butte-Silver Bow City/County Government, (B-SB) and the Skyline Sportsmen’s Association will restore and develop a 57-acre parcel, known as the Hillcrest Open Space area, into a natural, passive recreational park. The project will include building and maintaining children’s fishing pond, restoring Reese Creek and the adjacent riparian and upland natural areas, outdoor education stations, walking/biking trails, grading and seeding of native grasses to improve an existing eight acre hang glider/paraglider landing zone, and other park amenities to complement the recreational uses and restored natural areas.
The project includes assuring access and recreational use of the area for hang gliding and paragliding into the future. The project was much broader than Hang Gliding and Paragliding alone, but the interests of the free flight communities were included in the project. The total funding for the project was estimated to be $2,337,134. This was to be composed of a number of funding sources. The largest one was a grant funded through an UPPER CLARK FORK RIVER BASIN RESTORATION, UCFRBR, Grant received by Butte Montana for $1,566,998 dollars. The Butte area Skyline Sports Association was also contributing $10,000. Members of the Montana Hang Gliding Association approached the FFF to determine if we were able to provide support to this large initiative to represent interests from the free flight community. The FFF agreed to fund $10,000 from the Site Preservation Fund with matching support of $2,000 from the local flight club. This project represents an important way that the Foundation can participate on a regional level with protection/restoration initiatives that impact long term usage considerations. By participating at this level we were able to secure long term usage rights in an area where, if effort had not been made, it is possible that free flight usage could have been altogether retracted.
High Rock Improvement Project (12/13/2011)
This grant for $3,150 from the Site Preservation Fund represents the Capital Hang Gliding Association, CHGPA’s excellent example of the commitment it takes to carry this free flight sport to the next generation and beyond! High Rock, near Thurmont Maryland is a national treasure for Hang Gliding. Perched 1,200ft above the surrounding area in the Catoctin mountain range, High Rock is the oldest cliff launch site in the East, and it is the closest hang gliding site in proximity to the many pilots who live in the Washington DC Area. Management of the site is shared between CHGPA and the Maryland Hang Gliding Association, MHGA. It is a significant site which has suffered from erosion, affecting the safety and accessibility of the launch and landing zone.
The launch pad was poured from concrete atop the foundations of a historic lookout pavilion. However, erosion has eaten away the surrounding fill and placed the steps out of reach for anyone carrying a glider. Numerous attempts to scramble up to the launch compromised safety, especially windy conditions strong enough to soar the ridge. Upon being informed, and with the help of assistance from the FFF, the CHGPA and MHGA were able to coordinate and hire a contractor to improve the access by pouring a large concrete staircase to the ramp.
The traditional landing field for the site sits directly below launch on private land that has been saved for the landing of gliders. The private road to the landing field has been used since the beginning of high flight, but was washed away due to erosion and a deteriorated culvert. Even 4WD SUVs were unable to navigate the road. This causes an unacceptable safety risk in case emergency access is required. The CHGPA and MHGA also coordinated with the landowner to install a new culvert and repair the road leading to the landing field as an additional part of the project.
2011 Men's HG Competition Funding Request (4/16/2011)
This was a grant of $2,945 from the Men’s HG Comp Fund toward the US Men’s Hang Gliding Team. This primarily covered pilot Entry fees in the 2011 World Hang Gliding Championships at Monte Cucco, Italy. The US was awarded 6 pilot slots. The team consisted of Dustin Martin, Zac Majors, Jeff Shapiro, Jeff O’Brien, Derreck Turner, and James Stinnet. Considering that the funds were available, the goal of the FFF in funding this effort was to support the team as best as we could.
2011 US Paragliding Team Comp Request (4/16/2011)
This was a grant for a total amount of $4,350 from the Paragliding Competition Fund toward the US Paragliding Team. This covered pilot entry fees at the Paragliding Worlds held in Piedrahita, Spain. Attending pilots were to be Josh Cohen, Jack Brown, Brad Gunnuscio, Meredyth Malocsay, and Nick Greece. The team leader was Rob Sporrer. Considering that the funds were available, the FFF’s goal in funding this effort was to support the team as best as we could.
2011 US Red Bull X-Alps Team (06/07/11)
This was a grant of $750 from the Paragliding Competition Fund. This was a token amount, but the FFF wanted to be supportive of this kind of competition initiative which shows creativity and challenge in new ways. We knew the event would draw important media coverage to the Sport of Paragliding and hence we were eager to support increased coverage of the sport.
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