Dogs: A Continued Access Problem in Red River Gorge, KY


By Bill Strachan, Executive Director, Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition

Muir Valley Nature Preserve is a 400-acre piece of private land with 7+ miles of cliff line near Red River Gorge, Kentucky that the owners, Rick and Liz Weber, have graciously opened for climbing development. Upon opening the area to climbing they institute the following rule with regards to dogs:

Dogs must be kept on leashes at all times everywhere in Muir Valley. They must be restrained at the base of climbs such that they cannot interfere with and/or distract belayers or damage plants in the area

Due to continuing problems with dogs at Muir Valley, Rick Weber posted the following announcement on the www.redriverclimbing.com website:

Effective January 1, 2008, dogs will no longer be permitted in Muir Valley. This date can and will be moved up if flagrant infractions and incidents continue. Until then, dog owners who disregard the leash rule will lose visitor privileges.


Climbers not following the dog rule at Torrent Falls were one of the primary reasons that public access to climbing there was closed. Again, we are reminded of why it is important know and follow all rules when climbing in the Red River Gorge area regardless of whether on public or private land. If these rules are ignored, more restrictions or even closure may follow.