cover of book

Rock Climbing in Kentucky's Red River Gorge: An Oral History of Community, Resources, and Tourism
by James N. Maples
West Virginia University Press, 2021
Paper: 978-1-952271-15-1 | eISBN: 978-1-952271-16-8 | Cloth: 978-1-952271-14-4
Library of Congress Classification GV199.42.K42R436 2021
Dewey Decimal Classification 796.522309769

Tells the fascinating story of the Red’s climbing community through interviews with the people who lived that history and considers how sustainable ecotourism might contribute to the region economically.

Rock Climbing in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge documents, for the first time, fifty years of oral history from this famous climbing community. Through extensive interviews, Maples reconstructs the growth of rock climbing in the region—including a twice-failed dam project, mysterious first routes, unauthorized sport-route growth on public lands, and a controversial archaeological dig. The book details five decades of collaborations to secure ongoing access to some of the world’s most beautiful and technically demanding routes and the challenges along the way.

More than a recounting of the past, however, Rock Climbing in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge uses the region’s extraordinary history to argue that climbing has the potential to be a valuable source of sustainable economic activity in rural areas throughout Appalachia today and in the years to come. The book concludes by offering policy recommendations and lessons learned about building beneficial partnerships among climbers, local communities, and public land managers to encourage community development and ecotourism alongside preservation.

See other books on: Community | Kentucky | Mountaineering | Oral History | Tourism
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