For this week's OCC Regional Coordinator spotlight, we would like to direct your attention to Matthew Fahnestock! He is one of our Co-Regional Coordinators for the Mad River Gorge & Nature Preserve in Springfield, Ohio!

In 2012, Matt started his rock climbing career at Urban Krag in Dayton, Ohio. It didn’t take long before he was hooked and ready to go outdoors to find real rock to climb. Equipped with a rope, harness, webbing and belay device, Matt got his friends together to go check out John Bryan State Park where he would help introduce everyone to his new favorite sport. Once he had his climbing crew in place, weekends would regularly be spent at the Red River Gorge, and vacations would involve adventures out west to Joshua Tree and Maple Canyon to explore new rock.

Matt became involved with the Ohio Climbers Coalition in the winter of 2016 when he and some friends made their first trip out to the Mad River Gorge to check out the new climbing area that was being developed in Springfield. Though he encountered all of the tires, glass, and trash that had been dumped over the years, he also saw the beautiful cliff line that follows the river and knew that this area could be cleaned up and made into an amazing crag for climbers all around the state to enjoy. Matt was one of the regular volunteers out hauling tires, cutting honeysuckle, and sorting trash into basters to get ready for the big adopt-a-crag event this past May. He helped design and construct the kiosk everyone visits as they walk into the Gorge, and you have probably seen some of his videos showing the before and after transformation of the Gorge on the OCC social media pages. As one of our Co-Regional Coordinators, Matt will be working closely with Carl (his fellow Co-Regional Coordinator) and the Clark County Park District to plan new projects and continue the progress being made in the area.

If you have any questions about the Mad River Gorge or want to join Matt for one of the monthly Adopt-a-Crag events we’ll be having in 2018, please email him at: matt@ohioclimberscoalition.org

Thanks for all of your hard work, Matt!