Pendergrass Murry, Bald Rock, & Miller Fork Recreation Preserves

The Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition (RRGCC) and Access Fund recorded two permanent easements to strengthen conservation and recreation protections at three climbing areas in the Red River Gorge: Pendergrass Murray (PMRP), Miller Fork (MFRP), and Bald Rock (BRRP) Recreational Preserves. The RRGCC owns all three properties, and Access Fund will hold permanent conservation and recreation easements on the properties, providing backup and support for RRGCC’s long-term commitment.

The easements are a legal agreement between Access Fund and RRGCC to protect these climbing areas, preventing any use of the properties that would significantly interfere with or impair their recreational and conservation values, which includes providing for public access and recreation with no cost or fees, specifically rock climbing, so that present and future generations may enjoy these preserves in their open space condition. Access Fund and RRGCC recorded one easement for the MFRP and a combined easement for the PMRP and BRRP, as they are adjacent to each other.

The easements allow for other compatible uses of the properties, like mountain biking and hiking. They prohibit residential development and subdivision and place restrictions on certain uses like forest management and facilities. Neither RRGCC nor Access Fund hold the oil and gas rights on the properties. However, both organizations are committed to working with the companies that manage active oil wells on the recreational preserves to ensure these uses remain compatible and safely managed.

Access Fund and RRGCC have a long history of working together to protect these properties. PMRP was acquired in 2004, the MFRP was acquired in 2013, and the BRRP was acquired in 2016. Together, we’ve worked to protect and secure access to 1,161 acres and 1,355 climbing routes in the Red River Gorge region of eastern Kentucky. The Access Fund conservation and recreation easements will help RRGCC ensure long-term stewardship, conserve these world-class climbing areas, and keep them open to public recreation for generations to come.

The PMRP, BRRP, and MFRP are located in the Red River Gorge region of Lee County, Kentucky. The recreational preserves have multiple access points. The separate northern tract of the PMRP is known as Coal Bank Hollow and accessed off of Fixer Road. The southern tract of the PMRP and adjacent BRRP are also known as Sore Heel Hollow, Flat Hollow, and Bald Rock Fork and accessed from Bald Rock Fork Road. The MFRP is accessed via Hell Creek Road. For more information on visiting the properties, go to


Photos by Zak Stoldt and Elodie Saracco