Red River Gorge Climbers' Coalition

The Red River Gorge Climbers' Coalition (RRGCC) is an advocacy group for rock climbers in the Red River Gorge, Kentucky. It owns over 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) of climbing spots, mostly in the Daniel Boone National Forest.

Red River Gorge Climbers' Coalition (RRGCC)
Company typeLocal Climbing Orgization
Founded1996 (1996)
Eastern Kentucky
Area served
Red River Gorge Region

History edit

The Red River Gorge Climbers' Coalition was founded by local climbers Shannon Stuart-Smith and Kris Snyder in November 1996 as a local climber's advocacy group to protect climbing at the Red River Gorge. Rock climbing in the Red River Gorge area had originally occurred primarily on the public lands of Daniel Boone National Forest and was therefore subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest Service. In 1996 the Forest Service issued for the first time ever a Rock Climbing Management Guide for the Red River area. This guide, or RCMG, was viewed negatively by climbers. As a direct result of the issuance of the RCMG, Shannon and Kris decided to form a climbers' coalition to champion climbers' interests and to try to improve relations between the Forest Service and climbers. Their main concern was twofold, re-writing the RCMG to include climbers' input and thereby "improving" it and educating and empowering climbers to ensure the long-term future of climbing.[citation needed][promotion?]

The RRGCC has grown to a several hundred member all volunteer advocacy group that continues to work with the US Forest Service on ensuring access to climbing in the Daniel Boone National Forest. The Coalition has also expanded its efforts to include working with the Natural Bridge State Park, and many local private land owners as well.[citation needed] On February 7, 2000, the Red River Gorge Climbers' Coalition and the U.S. Forest Service signed a Memorandum of Understanding.[1]

Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve (PMRP) edit

Climber on Convicted (5.13a) in The Motherlode area
One of the numerous pumpjacks within PMRP

The Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve, or the PMRP, is 750 acres (3.0 km2) of land now owned and maintained by the RRGCC. This land, now open to the public, is a commitment to preserving and sustaining climbing access in the Red River Gorge indefinitely.[2]

In the 1990s, as climbing grew in popularity as a sport, the RRGCC Coalition formed with the intent of permanently securing access to climbing in the Red River Gorge region. However, being on the East Coast, most of the climbing opportunities were available only on private property or Forest Service land. In 1996, the USFS enacted a bolting ban on its land, effectively ending the development of sport climbing in those areas.[3]

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the potential for development, particularly sport climbing, was discovered in the Southern Region, where steep sandstone walls are overhanging and pocketed and offer technical, dynamic, and endurance climbing. As word spread and climbers flocked to the Bald Rock Fork and Coal Bank Hollow areas, conflicts arose between climbers and oil companies in the region, especially related to limited parking causing road blocks. The first well known and developed areas "The Motherlode" lies on private land just outside PMRP (See BRRP below). With over 50 routes in 5.11-5.14 range, it is one of the most well known destination for hard climbing in the region. Other climbing areas in PMRP hosts more than 500 climbs, ranging from 5.4 to 5.14d.[citation needed]

In 2004, when more than 750 acres (3.0 km2) of land in the Southern Region came available, the RRGCC, recognizing the opportunity to secure access in the area, moved quickly to purchase the land. Negotiating with the Murray family, the Coalition and the Murray's reached an agreement and the ownership of the land was transferred to the RRGCC. To finance the purchase, the RRGCC worked out an owner-financed mortgage of 8% a year for 10 years. With a few maintenance costs, the final yearly costs translate to nearly $30,000 per year. The last mortgage payment was made in 2012, and the RRGCC fully owns the PMRP.[4] The payments are financed from private donations and from support of The Access Fund, a national climbing advocacy organization.[5]

Miller Fork Recreational Preserve (MFRP) edit

Sitting just east of the PMRP, across highway 11, is the Miller Fork Recreational Preserve, 309 acres (1.25 km2) of land now owned by the RRGCC. In May 2012 the RRGCC, with the help of The Access Fund, closed a deal on acquiring this land. The RRGCC now owns the land fully after completing payments in 2017.[6]

Ray Ellington's newest book, Miller Fork Climbing, released in October 2015, explores the hundreds of new routes along the walls of the MFRP.[7]

Bald Rock Fork Recreational Preserve (BRRP) edit

In January 2017 the RRGCC purchased 102 acres of land that include "the Motherlode", "the Chocolate Factory", "The Bear's Den" and "the Unlode". The purchase of this area secured access to 226 routes, ranging from 5.2 to 5.14c.[8]

Notes and references edit

  1. ^ RRGCC & DBNF Memorandum of Understanding, Retrieved on July 13, 2008
  2. ^ "PMRP". Red River Gorge Climbers' Coalition. Retrieved 2021-11-28.
  3. ^ DBNF - Rockclimbing, USFS, November 7, 2007 Retrieved on July 13, 2008
  4. ^ Red River Climbers' Coalition - The PMRP, Retrieved on July 13, 2008
  5. ^ "Access Fund News from June 7, 2010". Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
  6. ^ "The MFRP » Red River Gorge Climbers' Coalition". Retrieved 2021-11-28.
  7. ^ "Miller Fork Climbing". Retrieved 2016-05-07.
  8. ^ "Rock Climbing in Bald Rock Fork Recreational Preserve (BRRP), Red River Gorge". Mountain Project. Retrieved 2021-04-25.