Study: Rock climbers spend $3.6M annually in Red River Gorge

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Red River Gorge

SLADE, Ky. (AP) – Rock climbers hope a new study of their economic impact in the Red River Gorge will help make the case for opening more public land in the area for climbing.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports researchers from Eastern Kentucky University surveyed more than 700 climbers at crags on public and private land in 2015.

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The study found that climbers spend an estimated $3.6 million annually in six counties around the gorge. Much of that was for lodging, food, retail purchases and recreation activities.

There have been discussions about greater access to crags on public land in the gorge. Climbers hope the study will re-energize those talks.

Jon Kazmierski, district ranger for a section of Daniel Boone National Forest, has asked climbers to identify possible places to open new climbing routes so the Forest Service can analyze them.