Red River Gorge climbers pump more than $8 million into economy

SLADE, Ky. (WTVQ) – Rock climbers in the Red River Gorge pump $8.7 million into that region’s economy each year with an estimated 102,000 climber visits a year, according to a new study.

Dr. James Maples, a professor at Eastern Kentucky University, first addressed the issue in 2015, but the amount of climbers has skyrocketed since then, according to the Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition.

This week, Maples released his latest study.

The final report as well as annual reports from the Coalition also paint a picture of growth in the activity across the region.

The researchers estimate on a typical trip, climbers spend an estimated $74 per
person per trip plus an additional $5-$40 for lodging. Climber expenditures support $2.6 million in local wages and an estimated 104 jobs in a typical year, according to the report.

In addition, the climbers adhere to the ‘leave no trace’ edict which helps limit their impact
on natural areas. The climbers also are well-educated with 44% holding a bachelor degree and anther 40% holding advanced degrees, according Maples’ report and the Coalition.

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