Enthusiasts have begun establishing dozens of new rock-climbing routes on the sandstone cliffs of Breaks Interstate Park, which could boost efforts to make the area an adventure tourism destination and create jobs.
The commission that governs the park, which includes land in Kentucky and Virginia, approved a plan earlier this year to manage climbing in the 4,600-acre park, which didn’t previously allow rock climbing.
An organization called Access Fund announced June 6 that the park had been opened for climbing.
There are 50 to 75 climbing routes open now, but there is potential for hundreds more, said Zachary Lesch-Huie, southeast regional director for Access Fund, which works to protect access to climbing areas.
Kentucky is renowned among climbers from around the world for the number, variety and high quality of routes on the sandstone cliffs of Red River Gorge.
Breaks, as it is called locally, is smaller, but Lesch-Huie said it has great crags, easy access to routes and good amenities, including camping and lodging in the park.
Access Fund said the gorge at Breaks is lined with miles of orange and gray sandstone cliffs similar to those at nearby Obed Wild and Scenic River in Tennessee and the New River Gorge in West Virginia…