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Recreation and Park Administration


Recreation and Park Administration




Michael J. Bradley

Mentor Department

Recreation and Park Administration


The Red River Gorge is a canyon system located in Slade, Kentucky within the Daniel Boone National Forest. The “Gateway to Red River Gorge” better known as the Nada Tunnel, leads visitors to the Red River Gorge area. It has been designated as a National Natural Landmark and is home to an abundance of sandstone cliffs, rock shelters, waterfalls and natural bridges. There are over 100 natural sandstone arches in the Red River Gorge Geological Area which are popular among rock climbers. The Red River Gorge is important to the surrounding economically devastated areas because it brings in 2.7 million dollars in total revenue for the area, and nearly 40 full-time jobs for the people. If Red River Gorge was no longer there, the surrounding areas would lose an estimated 3.6 million dollars every year in revenue. The local restaurants, lodging and other infrastructures would be negatively affected, perhaps causing some to go out of business. Due to the annual tourism flocking to Red River Gorge, it continues to increase its numbers of outdoor recreation enthusiasts yearly. Rock climbers, hikers, canoeists and campers are among the many who come to the natural beauty and landscape. Increases in tourism have caused Red River Gorge to have “great potential to become an appealing regional destination for all types of visitors.” (Tobin 2019) Since tourism to this area continues to grow, the area is missing out on an opportunity for significant economic growth. Although Red River Gorge has national recognition for several designations, there is a lack of critical visitor lodging and activity accommodations so we should invest in a destination resort for this area. Adding a destination resort will appeal to a wider variety of tourists, including outdoor enthusiasts, while continuing to raise awareness of the area.