Red River Gorge

Speak up for the Red River Gorge!

dscf1318 - Red River Gorge
New management plans for the Red River Gorge
Virtual Public Meeting 
Tuesday, November 10, 2020
5-6:30 pm 
Read on for details and instructions on how to join the meeting
If you’ve visited the Red River Gorge within the past decade, it’s hard to overlook the impacts of increased recreation. Social trails, vanishing plant life, trash, ATV abuse, and incursions into the Clifty Wilderness plague the area. The Forest Service announced a dual planning process to update the Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC) for the Gorge in conjunction with creating a Comprehensive River Management Plan (CRMP) for the Wild and Scenic Red River. These plans should set standards and a monitoring plan to protect the character of the Red River Gorge and the Red River. However, this kind of process tends to foster development by adding amenities to accommodate more people. Now is the time to protect the ecological, geological, cultural and historical characteristics of the Red River Gorge. 

What is a “Limits of Acceptable Change” plan?
Limits of Acceptable Change is a process which requires land managers to define desired resource conditions and take action to maintain or achieve those conditions. It is designed to measure impacts rather than limit the number of visitors. The Forest Service has explicitly stated that their main objective is to improve visitor safety, enhance the visitor experience, increase public access, and build more facilities.  However, this approach may lead to more degradation in the Red River Gorge.

What is a Comprehensive River Management Plan?
The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act preserves rivers with outstanding remarkable values (ORV) such as scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural and other values. Segments of the Red River were protected under the Act in 1993. This includes 9.1 river miles designated as “wild” surrounded by the Clifty Wilderness and 10.3 river miles flowing through the Gorge designated as “recreational.” A CRMP will address the current status of the Red River, outline goals and desired conditions, determine user capacities, and create a monitoring strategy. A good plan requires quality input for citizens.

The development of a new LAC plan should include an analysis of: 

  • How the 2008 LAC plan worked and/or failed to protect the Red River Gorge
  • ​The need for more law enforcement officers and rangers
  • Dealing with deferred maintenance of current amenities
  • Maintaining expanded amenities in the future
  • Social trail obliteration and trail closures
  • Impacts to threatened and endangered species
  • A robust plan for monitoring
  • Compliance with all environmental and public land laws

Now is your chance to be a voice for the Red River Gorge!

The Forest Service is hosting a virtual public meeting about the Red River Gorge on Tuesday, November 10,  2020, from  5:00-6:30 pm EST via Microsoft Teams. Join the meeting here.

Click here for a PDF with instructions for how to connect to the meeting using a mobile device or computer.

Follow the Forest Service’s public Facebook group called “Future of the Red: Management in the Red River Gorge.” It contains information about the LAC and CRMP processes and more details about Tuesday’s meeting. Join the group here.

Follow Kentucky Heartwood’s “Protect the Red River Gorge” Facebook event where we will also be posting updates and relevant information as we get closer to the meeting date. Click here to follow our event page.

Kentucky Heartwood remains committed to providing a thorough analysis of proposed agency actions using the best available science and the law. Protecting and restoring biological integrity to the Daniel Boone National Forest guides our efforts. As the LAC and CRMP process develops, we will be providing analysis, information, and volunteer opportunities to help protect this well-loved area in our region. Click here to sign up for Kentucky Heartwood’s email alerts.

If you value this work, please consider donating to Kentucky Heartwood. We’re a small group, and every bit helps.

​Thanks! We couldn’t do it without you!