LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – According to district ranger Jon Kazmierski…visitation at the Red River Gorge has been continuously popular since the 90’s and so much so that between 2004 and 2008 the U.S. Forest Service came up with different management tools to handle the increase in visitors.
“In the last decade we’ve seen even more increasing use and more visitor impact to the precious resources of the Red River Gorge that are now causing us to take a fresh look and think about the other tools in the toolbox we discussed in 2008” said Kazmierski.
And after growing concerns of visitor safety and negative impacts to cultural, botanical and archaeological resources, he says a planning project has been put together to show you what they have in mind for a better experience for all.
“There’s a lot of places across the country that have faced this situation and have gone to things that were now proposing, designated campsites, only having fires in designated camp rings, providing hardened access to the red river where people don’t have to bushwhack to get down and in and out of the river” added Kazmierski.
As well as possible road and parking reconstruction, three boat launches, five river access points, sixty picnic sites, and easy to follow trails.
“As we see those increases of the national forest we need to build the appropriate level of infrastructure and we don’t want to build anymore than we have to, have to maintain and have the smallest footprint of the landscape but there’s no doubt that having a small footprint of infrastructure will make the recreation use a lot more sustainable.”
Drafts of the plan are set to be released on the Daniel Boone National Forest website on Thursday, June 24th.
From there, you have 30 days to comment and provide your own ideas.
“Overall the more structure experience I think is going to make this a much safer and enjoyable public land experience” added Kazmierski.