“Friends of Red River Gorge assists the U.S. Forest Service in its mission to preserve and protect the Red River Gorge by raising funds, public awareness, and providing volunteers for needed projects. We also serve inner city and disadvantaged youth by promoting the Gorge as a classroom for history, social studies, science and biology and as a laboratory for demonstrating career options in outdoor and recreational services.”

executive director dave mccreary

Dave McCreary, Executive Director

Dave brings 22 years of marketing and market research consulting experience to our group as well as a decade of corporate management experience.  Over the years he has taught as a part time instructor in Political Science at the University of Kentucky and has been a student of Aikido and Kendo.

“I grew up in Harlan “where the sun comes up about 10 in the morning and the sun goes down about 3 in the day”, so at some level I need terrain and trees around me to feel safe.  I remember my first RAGBRAI (an annual week-long rolling bicycle party across Iowa) I felt incredibly uneasy on that flat Iowa plateau of endless corn and hogs.  I finally figured out it was because that was the most exposed to the elements I’d ever been.  I was geologically naked!  That’s why the Gorge feels like home, like a pair of old jeans that fit perfectly.  I first started going to the Gorge in 1979 while a freshman in college.  In the mid-1990s I was a Boy Scout leader with Oscar Geralds, a long-time defender of the Gorge, lawyer and Chairman of the local chapter of the Sierra Club.  Oscar’s influence deepened my love and appreciation of the Gorge and set an example for stewardship.  For 41 years I’ve hiked, camped, biked, climbed and canoed my way thru RRG and I’m driven to preserve it for my daughter Ann and generations to come, so they can enjoy it … and feel clothed!”

chairman david kloiber

David Kloiber, Chairman

An entrepreneur and financial manager by trade, David is also President of the Kloiber Foundation and active in other community groups as well.  Through philanthropy, grants, and serving on government boards and commissions, he continues to work to better the lives and futures of not just his own children, but of all those who call central Kentucky home.  

“As a family, we’ve been going to the Gorge for a few years now.  Before that, I’d been going with friends since high school.  A couple of years ago, I took a family vacation with my wife and children to several of our nation’s National Parks.  This experience, including witnessing the work of the National Park Association and Friends groups at each park inspired me to bring such aid to Red River Gorge.”

treasurer larry nelson

Larry Nelson, Treasurer

Larry is an IT manager who has been coming to the RRG since 1981.  He is also a licensed realtor and has served on nonprofit boards in the past.  He generously brings this combination of skills and knowledge to our board and ongoing efforts.  When off the motorcycle, Larry is an avid day hiker who has camped, backpacked and scrambled over most of the Gorge in the last forty years. 

“Like all of our board, I have an abiding conviction that the Gorge is special and must be responsibly stewarded for the coming generations.  This stuff does not just do itself.  It requires commitment and some sacrifice by a few to protect it for the many.   I see this as a service to our community and our environment.”

secretary jim capillo

Jim Capillo, Secretary

Jim has been a lawyer, the first full time Juvenile Court prosecutor in Kentucky, a defense attorney, a Major at Lexington Fayette corrections and organized FOP lodge 83 for Lexington corrections officers.  Jim has educational experience having taught business law and criminal law at several colleges and universities.  He is also an active swim meet official and diving judge for youth sports.

“I spent the first quarter of my life (including College and Law School) in New York City. From my perspective, a natural bridge was the 59th Street Bridge (of Simon and Garfunkel notoriety). When I relocated to Central Kentucky, friends took me to the Gorge, and I developed a close affinity with real nature. I kept going back. I became a proselytizer, bringing guests and family members to see the wonders of geology and erosion. I eventually got my entire family to move closer to me, and, as a result, closer to nature. While growing up, my bucket list included seeing a bald eagle in free flight. I have done so; together with untold other raptors and beautiful species, none of which would be possible on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway or the “F” train. I believe we need to protect these treasures.”

board member lauren brooke

Lauren Brooke, Board Member

Lauren Brooke is a partner at the law firm of Smith, O’Toole & Brooke, with offices in Richmond and Lexington. She is admitted to practice in Kentucky and is a member of the Kentucky and Fayette County Bar associations. Lauren earned her B.S. degree from The University of Massachusetts at Amherst and her J.D. degree from the University of Dayton School of Law.  She is an avid Yankees and Giants fan, and rescues animals in her spare time, including two dogs of her own. Lauren is involved in many charitable organizations across the Bluegrass, and loves to hike, attend sporting events, and anything having to do with the outdoors!

“If I had to distill my thoughts and feelings down to one sentiment, it would best be voiced by Rachel Carson, ‘Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.’  It’s Rachel Carson’s quote, but I like it.”