12/13/2007

Red River Gorge, KY LAC Process Nears Completion

12/13/2007

By Bill Strachan, Executive Director Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition

The Limits of Acceptable Change process for Red River Gorge is nearing an end. After two more LAC Workshops scheduled for January 2008, the recommended alternative is expected to be given to Daniel Boone Forest Supervisor, Jerome Perez for a final decision. The alternative that the LAC group strongly supports is Alternative 2, Balance Recreation and Protection of Resources. The end of the LAC process brings climbers hope that the development of new sport routes in the Gorge will be allowed to resume. A moratorium on new sport route development has been in place for almost five years. The moratorium was initiated during the revision of the Forest Plan for the entire forest and was extended through the three year LAC process.

Another ongoing Forest Service process of interest to climbers is the development of a Heritage Resource Management Plan for Red River Gorge. LAC participants were updated on the status of this process by Forest Archaeologist, Chris Jenkins during the most recent workshop held on December 6, 2007. Mr. Jenkins explained that he is currently working on digesting an 800-page report documenting heritage resources in the Gorge. He said that he needs a couple more months working on the report before he can write the management plan. He thinks that after he is through digesting the report, he can write the Heritage Resource Management Plan in about six weeks. Throughout these Forest Service processes the RRGCC has periodically consulted with the Access Funds Policy Director, Jason Keith.