FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 20th, 2011
Contact: Bill Downey
December 19th 2011 (Portsmouth, NH) – Bill Downey, owner of Portsmouth Kayak Adventures, today announced the creation of a non-profit organization called the Friends of Mt. Washington Avalanche Center (MWAC).
The Friends of MWAC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization established to support the Mt. Washington Avalanche Center’s efforts including avalanche advisories, search and rescue, and avalanche educational programs. Friends of MWAC will achieve this mission through donations, sponsorships, grants and by hosting fundraising events.
The numbers of backcountry enthusiasts have grown over the years. However, the funding for education, forecasting, and rescue have declined. In fact, in the next two years budget cuts of 25% are predicted by the Androscoggin Ranger District of the White Mountain National Forest. “We’ve established this group in order to assist the MWAC in maintaining the quality of services we’ve come to know and appreciate,” says Downey.
Friends of MWAC recently hosted their first fundraising and educational event at the end of November at Portsmouth Kayak Adventures. The Backcountry Skiing – Intro to Alpine Touring event attracted approximately 75 people who learned about the latest gear available in the industry. Attendees also had an opportunity for questions and answers and learned about MWAC’s services and responsibilities from Snow Ranger Jeff Lang of MWAC.
New Hampshire is the only state in the nation where the Fish and Game Department transfers Search and Rescue to the Forest from December 1st – Spring. The MWAC is operated by the Androscoggin Ranger District of the White Mountain National Forest and is the only American avalanche center east of the Rockies. With the rich history of skiing and climbing here, it is also the oldest forecasting program in the country. The Friends of Mt. Washington Avalanche Center’s Board of Directors consists of Downey, John Knieriem, Marta Downing, Nick Diana, Micum Davis, Craig Taylor, Peter Miller, and Bruce Sommers.
To become a member of the Friends of MWAC, visit www.friendsofmwac.org and sign up for the enewsletter or donate directly on the website. For more information about the services offered by the MWAC, go to: www.mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org.