Access Fund to Refinance Pendergrass-Murray Loan, Saving Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition Thousands

Date: 6/7/2010

The Access Fund announced today that it will provide Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition with short-term financing to pay off the current seller-financed loan on the Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge.

The Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve is a classic Red River Gorge destination, hosting more than 500 climbs, ranging from 5.4 to 5.14c, and new climbs constantly being discovered and developed. The steep, beautiful sandstone walls are overhanging and pocketed and offer technical, dynamic, and endurance climbing. The property hosts several hundred climbers each weekend, with the three parking lots often reaching capacity by noon.

A $65,000 loan will be supplied by the new Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign, a revolving loan program that provides local climbing organizations with the funds and expertise needed to act quickly to save threatened climbing areas. The Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition purchased the property in January of 2004, making it the largest direct land acquisition to date by rock climbers.

Through aggressive fundraising and two grants from the Access Fund, the Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition has paid down a significant portion of the original loan. By refinancing the remainder of the loan under the Access Fund’s new program, the Coalition will save approximately $10,000 in interest and fees that can be invested in other projects that benefit the Red River Gorge climbing community. The refinance will also eliminate the risk of losing the property to a private third-party, since a missed annual payment under the previous seller-financed loan would have returned the property to the seller and the funds raised by climbers would have been lost.

The refinance deal will set aside approximately $15,000 for land management costs of the Pendergrass-Murray property, as well as funds to allow RRGCC to pursue more climbing areas in the region.

This is the fifth Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign project, with active loans totaling over $200,000. Of these funds, $17,000 has been paid back, returning funds to the revolving loan program to be invested into other climbing conservation efforts by local climbing organizations and the Access Fund. For more informaiton, visit www.accessfund.org/aflcc.