Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
Mammoth Cave National Park will celebrate the third annual National Caves and Karst Day on Thursday, June 6 by offering free surface programs to highlight the park’s expansive karst landscape. The park observes National Cave and Karst Day along with the National Cave Association and caves around the United States who are holding special events to raise awareness of the importance of caves and karst in our lives.
Karst landscapes are formed primarily by the dissolution of soluble rocks, typically limestone or dolomite, and is characterized by the presence of caves, sinkholes, sinking streams, springs, and subterranean rivers. Mammoth Cave is the world’s longest known cave and is currently mapped at 412 miles. The cave is a prime example of karst topography in the south central Kentucky region, and has been recognized as an UNESCO World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve.
The free National Cave and Karst Day activities include a ranger led porch talk, nature tracks program, surface hikes, and an evening program entitled “A Journey Down the Drain: The Story of Sinkholes.” The park will have a limited number of Junior Ranger Cave Scientist activity books on hand for children to complete to earn a special badge and title of Junior Cave Scientist. All surface activities are free with no reservations required.
The park also offers several cave tours such as the Grand Avenue, River Styx, Frozen Niagara, and Domes and Dripstones tours that focus on cave geology. Fees for these tours vary and tickets can sell out quickly. It is recommended that visitors make tour reservations through www.recreation.gov prior to arrival.
For the full schedule of National Caves and Karst Day programs at the park, please visit the June calendar at www.nps.gov/maca/planyourvisit/calendar.htm.