We’re a group of dedicated volunteers trying our best to make sure the nation’s best climbing destination, the Red River Gorge, will always have open access to climbing. It’s a hard battle, at times trying, but one we all care passionately about. We believe that, through coordination among climbers and local landowners, we can find ways to make climbing in Eastern Kentucky sustainable and beneficial for all. We hope you do, too, and that you want to help us realize those goals.
Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition
PO BOX 22156 | Lexington, KY | 40522-2156
We are dedicated to securing and protecting open, public access to rock climbing in the Red River Gorge area of Kentucky and promoting conservation of the environment on the lands where we climb.
We value the world class rock climbing opportunities found in and around the Red River Gorge as a national treasure deserving of our best efforts to preserve for all climbers to enjoy, experience, and appreciate. We also value rock climbing and other forms of human-powered recreation as being good for both individuals and local communities.
Our vision is to build and maintain a strong grassroots organization to provide the public service of ensuring that ample, quality outdoor rock climbing opportunities are available to meet the needs of current and future climbers. Recognizing that climbing access is a privilege, not a right, the RRGCC seeks to promote responsible climbing and strives to build and maintain positive relationships with public land managers and private land owners who have control over climbing areas.
Our strategy is to first secure the highest quality climbing opportunities, whether on public or private land, then make climbing sustainable for climbers and the environment, and finally to provide exemplary stewardship of the natural environment on the lands where we climb. It is also our strategy to educate climbers about access issues, encourage them to take “ownership” (responsibility) for their behavior and its impact on access, and then to become “Citizen Trustees of Climbing” through direct participation.
The Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition was founded in November 1996 after climbing access issues arose in the Red River Gorge portion of the Daniel Boone National Forest. In February 2000, the RRGCC and the DBNF entered into a Memorandum of Understanding that provided a framework through which these access issues could be addressed. From 2004 to 2008, an RRGCC committee participated in a series of DBNF Limits of Acceptable Change meetings, successfully advocating for the adoption of an LAC alternative that balances recreational use with resource protection. We are currently negotiating a revised MOU with the Forest Service that would expand the RRGCC’s role in helping the DBNF address climbing management concerns.
Knowing that climbing access is always at the discretion of the owner, the RRGCC took the bold step in 2004 of directly purchasing 750 acres of land in Lee County, Kentucky and created the Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve. After paying off the mortgage on this property in 2012, we bought an additional 310 acres of land in Lee County in 2013 and created the Miller Fork Recreational Preserve. In 2012, the RRGCC Board adopted Land Trust Standards and Practices in furtherance of our endeavor to provide, in perpetuity, protection and stewardship of the climbing areas that we own and manage.