Trail Days

Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition Receives Corporate Sponsorship from ATS Construction

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

May 6, 2015. Lexington, KY – As many are aware, the recent rains and flooding in Miller Fork Recreational Preserve and the Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve took a heavy toll on the roads and bridges. The RRGCC put out a call to help and our community came through in a big way! Many of you donated and several hardy souls helped put our washed away bridges back in place. One member of the local community came up big in a way we didn’t anticipate and we are very grateful!
Mr. Bernard Benningfield, a Powell County resident, contacted the RRGCC after noting the damage caused by the recent flooding. He offered his services and those of the company he works for, ATS Construction. In a meeting with RRGCC President Bentley Brackett, Mr. Benningfield expressed his desire to work with the RRGCC to address our immediate needs and foster a relationship for the future. He offered to fix the road leading into the MFRP, with ATS donating the manpower, equipment, and expertise to get the job done.
ATS Construction is a third generation family-owned road construction company based in Lexington, KY. They have several locations across the Central Kentucky Bluegrass Region and work all across the area.
Mr. Benningfield and ATS certainly came through on their promise to go the extra mile. Work began on Friday morning and continued into Saturday afternoon. Huge improvements were made, not only repairing the road but also re-routing it in order to lessen the chance of a washout happening again. Five culverts were upgraded and replaced, and two new culverts were installed. A 500 foot section of road was relocated to higher ground, the rest of the road was graded, and poor drainage areas were addressed. The existing parking lot was also graded. All told, 150 tons of stone were laid.
We cannot express our gratitude to Mr. Benningfield and ATS Construction enough. As a local resident, Mr. Benningfield is very active in his community. A member of the Powell County Search and Rescue Team, Mr. Benningfield is also an avid hiker who enjoys spending time in the Red River Gorge with his wife, Lisa. He has clearly shown that he is an excellent steward of the land and community he loves!
The road leading to the MFRP is in the best shape it has ever been! While there is still work to be done to ensure the road stays in good condition, it is now completely passable, making it easier for you to enjoy the land you own!

About the Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition
The Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition is a 501(c)(3) non-profit working to ensure open, public access to quality outdoor rock climbing opportunities in and around Red River Gorge, Kentucky. The RRGCC works to conserve the natural environment on publicly managed and privately owned land by protecting, promoting, and ensuring responsible climbing. The RRGCC is an affiliate of the Access Fund and a member of the Land Trust Alliance, operating according to the LTA’s national land trust standards and practices. For more information, visit
About ATS Construction
ATS Construction is a third generation family owned road construction company with operations that have served the Central Kentucky’s Bluegrass Region since the 1950’s. ATS Construction delivers superior service and quality workmanship while utilizing a safety-oriented approach. We are a full service highway contractor, which employs a dedicated, well trained, professional workforce capable of performing all types of highway and road projects. The ATS team of engineering, project management, technical consulting, estimating, and material testing personnel can meet the needs and schedule of your project–including Public Works, Commercial, Industrial, Farms and Private Residential. Our well-maintained fleet of equipment utilizes the latest computer and GPS systems to ensure your project is completed to your specifications. We strive to deliver the highest quality product at an economical price and will go the extra mile to deliver your project on time and on budget. For more information, visit

Trango Trail Day Wrap-up!

Monday, May 11th, 2015

On Saturday, May 2, dozens of volunteers gathered in the PMRP for a Trango-sponsored trail day, with the main focus being to rehabilitate one of our most well-loved crags, The Shire. Trango provided the materials and even brought swag for the workers! After a brief information session headed by RRGCC Land Manager Mike Driskell, the volunteers headed off to their respective work areas.

A small team tackled the repair of the Sore Heel shortcut bridge, which had been split in two in the recent flooding. They spent all day salvaging parts from the old bridge and putting together a new (higher!) bridge.

Further up the trail, another group worked on reinforcing the Sore Heel shortcut trail, repairing a small footbridge and armoring the trail to better handle flooding.

At The Shire, the bulk of the volunteers busily worked on completely re-doing the base. The old terracing, which was badly deteriorated, was torn out. New, more stable terracing was put in place using treated lumber the volunteers hauled up from the parking lot. The shortcut trail that bypassed the main trail and headed straight up the hillside was closed and covered up. A new trail that will better handle wash-out was put in, complete with stone steps to minimize erosion’s affect on the trail. By the end of the day, it looked like a brand-new crag!

We also got to meet the kind EKU professors who are doing the RRG Economic Impact Study, as they kicked off their Spring in-person data collection phase on the same day!

We owe a huge thanks to Trango for sponsoring the trail day and providing the materials, to Rob Moore for all of the time and effort he dedicated to the planning and execution, and to Miguel’s for supplying lunch to the hungry volunteers!

Our work, however, is not done! We have another Trango Trail Day on Saturday, May 16 to finish the work at The Shire. We need your help to make this happen! Please RSVP at:

JATD 2014 Recap

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Recap by our Land Manager, Mike Driskell

All told, over a mile of trail built, 15 new signs in 8 locations, one large 35 foot bridge, and one smaller 12 foot bridge done.

Months of hard work, planning, and layout culminated in what in my opinion was one of our most successful and unhindered trail days ever. Despite the weather, over 100 folks came out to support, maintain, and show a little love and understanding for the crags we call home. The long hours in the woods and the days away from home all ended in one of the most satisfying events for me personally all year long. Cheers to those of you that paved the way, to those of that came out this time, and to those that shall come after who will enjoy our success (and hopefully come to appreciate it as we do).

Roger Bess, Eric Cox, & Josh O’Bryan – This large crew built the new bridge across creek to access Highlands, Monastery, Middle Earth, Corner Pocket, Neverland, etc. Constructed of large (and very heavy) telephone poles donated by AT&T (that donation was facilitated by Dedra Brandenburg and Lee County Tourism). The were stored at and delivered by Culver Supply, owned by Robert Stamper.

Jay Weekly & Katie Gamble – Installed new signage in 8 new locations and signs for 8 new crags. They were made and routed by Driskell Home Repair and DHR was assisted by Travis Peek, Geoff Graham, and Josh O’Bryan.


Pat Marrinan – This crew carried out a new foot bridge (built By DHR) to its new home over .25 miles back. They dug into the earth and built a solid base for its new home.

Art Cammers & Patrick Miller – Cut in new trail, armored bases, and improved existing layout of current trail at the Monastery. Furthered access trail to Middle Earth.

Dan Beck & Quinn Hill – Built first section of “Highlands area” trail re-route of of creek, including stairs and approximately 150 yards of trail. This re-route avoided several creek crossings that would add maintenance and upkeep costs.

Dan Chandler & Joel Handley – Built trail across a difficult and wet low lying area including significant armoring and drainage. This section avoided several more creek crossings, further reducing our maintenance costs.

Blake Maddox & Elemental Climbing Club – Armored a significant problem area where ATVs cross creek when water is high. To prevent erosion and maintain the ability for local users to use it, we armored the area using large stones, gravel, and creek rock. Efforts will also prevent further erosion to new bridge built with the assistance of the Access Fund Traveling Trail Crew.

Hannah & Andrew Tolliver – These guys were the independent force in the PMRP’s Flat Holler area, building a trail to the Shipyard – a new crag that includes 22 new routes. They were also able to make significant progress towards the famed “Waterfall Arch” in the Flat Holler area – a new multi-use trail destination!

Adam Gregory & Jesse Sterr – Installed some amazing new stairs moving into an awesome and well-built trail system that leads to the Hal Gardner Memorial Crag (currently under development). They covered approximately 100 yards or better with less than 15 cats!


Lago Linda Hideaway – Linda opened her campground and pavilion to our sweaty, dirty lot and gave us a place to convene and organize in the morning, and eat, party, and sleep at night!

Red River Rockhouse – Aaron and crew kicked off the evening festivities with delicious meat and veggie burgers, pasta salad, and cole slaw!

Miguel’s Pizza – Miguel and his staff supplied delicious veggie and meaty wraps for all the volunteers for a mid-day refueling!

Mike Creech Band – Kept everyone moving throughout the night to their fun and upbeat tunes, going with the flow and switching to a few Limbo-inspired songs when an impromptu Limbo tournament broke out!

Train the Trainer 2014

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Who: People who are interested in helping as trail leaders at future trail days

What: A day dedicated to learning good trail building and maintenance technique

When: Saturday, May 31, 2014 from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm

Where: Meet at Pine Crest before heading out to the MFRP

Why: To develop a larger land management group and seek out those interested in becoming an integral part of the land management process.

Please register below if you will be participating, and thank you!

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2014 MFRP Fall Trail Day RSVP

Friday, March 14th, 2014

Please RSVP for Miller Fork’s Fall Trail Day!

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MFRP Winter Trail Day RSVP

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

We knew scheduling a winter trail day would be a bit of a gamble… Unfortunately, the weather for the end of the week before 12/7 is calling for much more rain than we’d like leading up to a trail day, so we’re going to cancel and reschedule for a weekend with conditions more conducive to trail work. Thank you to all who RSVP’d, and to SEALgrinderPT (whose generous donation we will apply to lunches when we reschedule the trail day)! We’ll keep our eyes on the forecast and stay in touch!

Train the Trainer 2013

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Who: People who are interested in helping as trail leaders at future trail days

What: A day dedicated to learning good trail building and maintenance technique

When: June 15, 2013 from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm

Where: Flat Holler trail head, PMRP (walk to (but not up) the hill that leads to the Sore Heel parking lot, and then walk forward a little, and then a bit left)

Why: To certify folks in the community to run trail days for the RRGCC!

Please register below if you will be participating, and thank you!

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2013 Spring Trail Day Recap

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Write-up by Mike Driskell, RRGCC Land Manager

We came, we saw, we did stuff.

The trail day this last Saturday was a big success! We had 30 people attend what was a beautiful day out. I’m not much of a writer but our accomplishments are worth writing about.

Dave Jasperson led a crew moving the bridge on the trail off the Motherlode parking area to a more sustainable location. It turned out awesome and should last years to come!

Josh O’Bryan led a crew installing culverts on sections of the trail off the Sore Heel parking area to divert water from coming off the trail and the road.

Jesse Sterr and Josephine Neff led the crew spreading gravel. We had some delivered to the Coal Bank area to help with the holes until the road crew can begin work. We also had some delivered to the Sore Heel area to try and improve conditions on the hill. We also dropped a load in the Sore Heel parking to fill in the muddy areas and expand the parking some.

Peter McDermott led the crew that was cutting trees in preparation for the Flat Holler parking area – hopefully to be open by June of this year.

THE BIG PROJECT OF THE DAY – led By Paul Morley, Stephanie Meadows, and Travis Peek

Image courtesy of Travis Peek

Image courtesy of Travis Peek

The last creek crossing on the way to the Darkside was composed of 3 very slick logs. Paul Morley and Stephanie Meadows donated the material, planed the project, and saw to its execution. Accompanied by the RRGCC Assistant Land Manager Travis Peek and a very capable crew, they produced a fantastic bridge that far outclasses the joke of a crossing we had before!

We also began repairs to the gate leading to the Darkside. I ran out of time, but will have it wrapped up this weekend. If you can lend a hand, gimme a call: 5024178902

Good things happened and it could not have been done without your help! It’s the people who made things happen that we owe our thanks to.


Peter McDermott

Eleanor Krause

Andrew Bundy

Amelia Bryant

Jereme Ransick

Travis Long

Josh O’Bryan

Bill Strachan (RRGCC Executive Director)

Dave “the Animal” Jasperson

Tim Fraser

Will Sweeney

Sally Minges

Pat Marrinan

Tim Black

Grant Sperry

Chuff-on-John Sites

Dan Chandler

Michael Miller

Angela Cecil

Brent Dupree

David King (RRGCC BOD Member)

Many Hostetlu

Sarah Brengosz

Amy Schneider

Benton Mcdaris

Sara Liles

Logan T Smith

Quinn Hill

Josephine Neff (RRGCC BOD Secretary)

Curtis Gayle Dyer

(Sorry if I left anyone out or butchered your name)

Special thanks to Travis Peek, the Assistant Land Manager. Without his help, it could not have happened! Thanks, brother.

Spring Trail Day #2 – April 30th

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Gonna try and do a trail day on Saturday, April 30th. Will be focusing on the multi use trails in Flat Holler. Starts at 10am in the Sore Heel Parking Lot & ends when folks are tired or get pulled off to climb!  Its a smaller one and is a bring your own lunch, I will bring some drinks.  Hope to see you there!

Johnny & Alex Trail Day 2010

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Come one, come all to the 6th annual Johnny & Alex Trail Day, August 14th, 2010.  Like in years past we will be depending on the Red River Gorge climbing community to come out and take care of the land you own, the Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve (PMRP), in honor of two great men of the Red, John Bronaugh and Alex Yeakley.  We will be building and maintaining trails and, after a hard day’s work, have a great party with music, food, and “beverages” at Lago Linda Hideaway.  More details will come so be sure to stay tuned.  You can also follow us on Facebook!

Thanks for your interest in JATD! We’ve already placed our orders for lunch and dinner and such.. meaning that if you’re planning on coming, we probably weren’t. And that’s fine.. just make sure to bring some lunch, dinner, snacks, beverages.. anything that will keep you in good spirits and working hard on the land you own 😉