The Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition (RRGCC) and Access Fund are thrilled to announce the acquisition of 309 acres in Beattyville, Kentucky. Named the Miller Fork Recreational Preserve, the land includes several miles of cliff line, some of which has been developed but with the vast majority of it awaiting discovery and development. There is potential for more than a dozen individual crags and hundreds of high-quality routes.
The Miller Fork Recreational Preserve is located just seven miles from the popular Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve (PMRP) climbing destination in Lee County, Kentucky. The Miller Fork acquisition creates a brand new destination for climbers in the region, helping to relieve the access pressures and climber impacts on other crags in the Red River Gorge.
Previous owner and Lee County resident, Libby Roach saw the RRGCC’s involvement in community meetings, as well as climbing’s positive economic impacts on the local community. In early 2013, she approached the RRGCC with this land in the hopes of helping both the local community and the climbing community. “I care very much for Beattyville and Lee County. It is my hope that our decision to sell this beautiful land will only bring positive things to all.”
After being presented with the opportunity, RRGCC contacted the Access Fund for help. The two organizations worked together to finalize the purchase, with the Access Fund providing both a $10,000 grant and a $200,000 loan from the Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign, the revolving loan program that provides local climbing organizations with the funds and expertise needed to quickly save threatened climbing areas. The RRGCC pulled from its own funds to make up the difference and purchase the property for $245,000. The RRGCC is now calling on the community to show its support for this ambitious purchase by donating here.
“The Access Fund is proud to support RRGCC’s protection of Miller Fork’s expansive climbing,” says Access Fund Southeast Regional Director Zachary Lesch-Huie. “Their partnership with the local community and ongoing commitment to expanding public climbing access has created yet another major Red River Gorge climbing area.”
The RRGCC made history in 2012 when it paid off the Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve (PMRP), completing the largest land purchase ever by a local climbing organization. The RRGCC refinanced the PMRP loan through the Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign in 2010, saving the local community over $10,000 in interest in fees under the previous loan. Now, the more than 750 acres, 450 plus routes, and several dozen crags that call the PMRP home are secure and will always remain open to climbing.
“Like the PMRP, Miller Fork is going to change the game in the Red,” says Paul Vidal, President of the RRGCC. “Acquiring this property illustrates the strength of the climbing community in this region and its importance to the area. Without the community of climbers and businesses supporting us and pushing us to look to the future, we wouldn’t have been able to secure this climbing.” The purchase of the Miller Fork Recreational Preserve will be another step in securing access for climbers, while furthering the RRGCC’s mission of ensuring open, public access to ample, quality rock climbing opportunities. Like the PMRP, the RRGCC will own and manage the property in perpetuity.
More information, including information regarding trail and route development, will be forthcoming as the RRGCC develops and implements its infrastructure plan.
About the Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition
The Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition works to ensure open, public access to quality outdoor rock climbing opportunities in and around Red River Gorge, Kentucky. The Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition works to encourage the conservation of the natural environment on publicly managed and privately owned land by protecting, promoting, and ensuring responsible climbing.
About the Access Fund
Having just celebrated its 20th anniversary, the Access Fund is the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment. The Access Fund supports and represents over 2.3 million climbers nationwide in all forms of climbing: rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, and bouldering. Six core programs support the mission on national and local levels: climbing management policy, stewardship and conservation, local support and mobilization, land acquisition and protection, risk management and landowner support, and education. For more information, visit www.accessfund.org.