Daniel Boone National Forest plans to improve Red River Gorge

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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.

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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.

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Kaitlyn Shive joined the ABC36 News Team in January 2021 as a Multimedia Journalist. Kaitlyn comes to us from Joplin, Missouri, where she worked as an MMJ and Fill in Anchor for KOAM News/Fox 14 for over a year and a half. She is a Kentucky girl at heart, growing up in Louisville for a good portion of her life before her family moved to Mason, OH in 2012. She graduated from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University with a Bachelors Degree in Broadcast Journalism. She also graduated with specializations in Marketing and Media, and with a Social Media Certificate. She is thrilled to be back in the Bluegrass State and to be closer to friends and family in the Cincinnati and Louisville areas. She can not wait to get to know the Lexington, Kentucky area and its people. If you have a story idea or tip, she is just a DM or email away. You can contact her on Facebook: kaitlynshiveTV, on Twitter: KaitlynShiveTV or by email: kshive@wtvq.com. Kaitlyn Shive ABC 36 Reporter 859-333-3390 kshive@wtvq.com