Come out National Public Lands Day (Saturday, September 24) and enjoy events planned by Mammoth Cave National Park and the Friends of Mammoth Cave. This year, Mammoth Cave celebrates its 75th year as a national park and a public land.
In creating the park, Congress noted three distinctive features of national significance:
“…extensive limestone caverns and associated topography, beautiful rivers, and rugged landscapes clothed in forests, which offered exceptional opportunity for developing a great national recreational park of outstanding service in the very heart of our nation’s densest population and at a time when the need is increasingly urgent and most inadequately provided for.”
“These word still ring true today,” said Acting Superintendent Tracy Stakely. “Mammoth Cave lies within a day’s drive of most of the eastern United States and is an exceptional recreation destination. The park offers varied recreation, in cave tours, hiking, biking, horseback riding, camping, canoeing and fishing. Many visitors return time and time again to enjoy the park experience.”
Free Mammoth Cave Discovery tours, Saturday, September 24
The park will offer free Discovery cave tours, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., in honor of National Public Lands Day. Pick up a free ticket at the visitor center, then walk down the hill to the Historic Entrance for this self-guided tour. The tour requires a walk down and up the steep hill below the visitor center, as well as 160 steps. Visit the Rotunda, one of the largest rooms, explore a vast canyon passageway, and learn about 19th-century saltpeter mining operations and the geologic origins of Mammoth Cave on each of these tours. Walk at your own pace, allowing at least 30 minutes; about 3/4 mile round trip.
Note: cave tour requirements regarding white-nose syndrome (WNS) in bats: While there are no known harmful effects to humans, WNS is responsible for the death of millions of hibernating bats across the eastern United States since its discovery in 2006. WNS was found in Mammoth Cave in winter 2012-13. To minimize the spread of WNS fungus, all participants on cave tours must walk across bio-security mats to clean footwear immediately following the conclusion of their tour.
Friends of Mammoth Cave events
Bike Your Park, Saturday, September 24
Bike Your Park is a supported Park-to-Park ride (111 miles) from Mammoth Cave to Abraham Lincoln Birthplace (Hodgenville) with seven SAG (support and gear) stops. The route begins at Historic Diamond Caverns and ride across the sinkhole plain and rolling hills on rural routes with smooth pavement and low traffic volumes. Details on the 111-mile route (or 53-mile one-way with shuttle) are athttps://www.facebook.com/mammothfriends/photos/gm.345111045879770/621425584692864/?type=3&theater
Mammoth-on, Sunday, September 25
The Mammoth-on is America's only cave, hike, and bike triathlon. The Mammoth-on begins with a ranger-led hike in Mammoth Cave, followed by a two-mile unescorted woodland hike. The final leg is a bike ride along the gravel Mammoth Cave Railroad Hike and Bike Trail to Park City, a maximum ride of 20 miles round trip.
Register for either of the Friends events via Facebook/MammothFriends; $25 per person, family rate is available. For more information, contact event organizer Helen Siewers at 270-758-2152, or by email at email@example.com