Kayah Gaydish was an incredibly selfless steward of various wild lands in the Carolinas. She spent much of her professional career and also her free time maintaining trails, working to clear invasive species, and making key partnerships with land owners so that volunteers could conduct this important work. In her memory, we have awarded 3-4 people per year since 2017 a "Kayah Gaydish Stewardship Award".
This year's recipients are:
Connor Mark: Connor has been a steady volunteer with the CCC for the past four years. He is a professional arborist and has volunteered with the CCC to clear dozens, if not hundreds of downed trees off of boulders, cliffs, and trails for the sake of improved climber access. Connor just moved to California, so it may just take him a few extra days to get to the latest blow down!
Matt Windsor: Matt is the superintendant of Pilot Mountain State Park. Matt has been a pivotal figure for climbers at Pilot, working with our volunteers and CCC regional reps to help maintain one of the more popular climbing areas in the Carolinas.
Christine Kelly: Chris is a biologist with the NC Wildlife Commision. She has worked with the CCC and climbers for years on peregrine monitoring. This past year, she trained several CCC volunteers in peregrine monitoring. She is continually travelling to our many cliffs during peregrine season to ensure that the peregrine closure bouldaries are beneficial for both the peregrines and surrounding climbers.
Tim Pharis: Tim is the lead ranger at Rocky Fork State Park, TN. Tim was the pivotal person for opening the Whitehouse cliffs within Rocky Fork State Park to climbing as of June 2020. He was also the leader of building the Whitehouse Cliffs Trail and continues to support trail maintenance and climbing access at Rocky Fork.