Study to Measure Economic Impact of Climbing in the New River Gorge


Access Fund has teamed up with New River Alliance of Climbers and Eastern Kentucky University to conduct a research study on the economic impact of climbing in the New River Gorge area of West Virginia. Photo courtesy of Daniel Gajda

Economic impact data helps Access Fund and local climbing organizations advocate for climbing access and conservation opportunities. We use this data to help show landowners and local officials the value that climbing can bring to local communities.

Climbers generate millions in adventure tourism dollars and help create jobs in towns and counties across the country. Because climbing often takes place in remote areas, it can help sustain rural and economically depressed areas in the country.

Access Fund is helping to fund this study with a grant from our Climbing Conservation Grant Program. Dr. James Maples and Dr. Michael Bradley, faculty at Eastern Kentucky University, will study climbers’ visitation patterns, interests, and behaviors in the New River Gorge region to measure the climbing community's contribution to the local economy.

If you climb in the New River Gorge, please consider taking this short online survey to help prepare the researchers for the longer-term field study beginning in May of this year.