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Red Flag! Help protect access to the Red River Gorge’s most popular crag.

Owners and operators of Muir Valley, in the Red River Gorge, Kentucky, Rick and Liz Weber, have announced their plan to gift the valley to the climbing community.

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Map of Muir Valley Climbing Areas Owners and operators of Muir Valley, in the Red River Gorge, Kentucky, Rick and Liz Weber, have announced their plan to gift the valley to the climbing community.

In 2003, the Webers purchased the 350 acres of land that would become the most popular climbing destination in the eastern half of the country. Over the past ten years the Webers have invested over a million dollars of their own money, along with grants and some generous donations, to develop and protect Muir Valley for the climbing community. Muir Valley saw about 40,000 visitors last year, who had access to parking lots, free maps and guides, restrooms, well maintained trails, bridges and stairways and the Muir Valley Rescue System, which has saved many lives, as well as engraved plaques that mark each of the 400 sport and trad climbs—all at no cost.

Although the Webers still climb and are active in their community, they are in their 70s and concerned about the future of Muir Valley.

“We don’t know how long we are going to live,” Rick Weber said in an interview with Outside Magazine last year. “It doesn’t do the climbing community any good to just be clueless as to what it takes to run a place like that.”

In 2004, Friends of Muir Valley [FOMV] was formed to assist the Webers in making access available for climbing in the Valley. The plan, created by the Webers, FOMV and the Access Fund, is to transition the maintenance and operation of the area over to FOMV entirely by March 31, 2015. For this to happen, FOMV must raise $200,000 in 2014 to cover maintenance expenses (which average $60,000 per year) and other expenses associated with the transfer of ownership. The Webers will be receiving none of this money. It has always been the Weber’s plan to one day gift Muir Valley to the climbing community so that it can remain the world-class climbing area that it is.

FOMV is partly relying on donations from appreciative climbers who have enjoyed the high quality climbing and free amenities of Muir Valley over the past decade. To show your support, please visit the Friends of Muir Valley website, to make a donation.