Thursday, May 12, 2011

Hiking and backpacking in the Red River Gorge

“The amount of use in the Red per square foot far exceeds most other national forest units and is actually on par with most national park units,” says Charlie Rowe, a forest service ranger who leads a volunteer maintenance crew inside the Red.

Last week I posted a blog about our recent hike along the Auxier Ridge Trail in the Red River Gorge. Coincidentally, in the latest issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, is a feature article about the Gorge, The mag provides a good overview of the national geological area in eastern Kentucky, and includes recommendations for day hiking and backpacking to some of the best destinations in the Red.

I thought the quote from the article (italicized above) offered a pretty interesting stat that I had never heard. The statistic is even more amazing when you consider that the Gorge was almost destroyed by the Army Corp of Engineers in the early 1960s. In order to stop the periodic flooding of towns downstream, the Corp proposed to build a dam that would've transformed the Gorge into a large lake. The battle to "Save the Red River Gorge" lasted for decades, and included a Dam Protest Hike on November 18, 1967. Participating in this hike was Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, which helped to draw national attention to the situation.

The battle to save the Gorge was effectively won when the Red River was designated as a National Wild and Scenic River on December 3, 1993.

You can read the full BRO article by clicking here.

For more information about the Gorge, please click here.


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