MAMMOTH CAVE, KY – Mammoth Cave National Park will receive approximately $6.5 million from the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) to rehabilitate about one mile of cave trail inside Mammoth Cave starting in fall 2022. The project will address deferred maintenance associated with these facilities, visitor safety, tour experience, and natural and cultural resource protection from the New Entrance to the Frozen Niagara entrance.
“The funding we’ve received through GAOA will allow us to fix deteriorated cave trails and greatly improve the visitor experience in this busy section of Mammoth Cave,” said Superintendent Barclay Trimble. “The current trail has not seen any major improvements since the 1930’s when the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed the path used today. Once this project is complete, we will have a safer and more comfortable tour route and provide even better protection to the cave’s sensitive resources for the next generation of cave visitors.”
The Cave Trail Rehabilitation Project will harden the existing cave trail using concrete and paving stones and replace narrow stairways to improve both the visitor experience and emergency personnel access. New benches will be installed in the Fairy Ceiling gathering area and the Frozen Niagara section will see an improvement to the overlooks in the main Drapery Room and Crystal Lake. These improvements will greatly enhance the visibility of these features to the public once the project is complete.
The exact date of construction has not been set but work is expected to begin in November 2022 and last until summer of 2023. During construction the Grand Avenue, Domes and Dripstones, Frozen Niagara, Introduction to Caving, and Wild Cave Tours will be unavailable, but the park offers several other tours through Mammoth Cave that are unaffected by the project. Please visit our Cave Tours website for more information on our cave tour schedules and descriptions.
In 2021, Mammoth Cave National Park received 516,000 visitors who spent an estimated $47.9 million in local gateway regions. These expenditures supported a total of 643 jobs, $25.5 million in labor income, $40.9 million in value added, and $69.2 million in economic output in local gateway economies surrounding Mammoth Cave National Park.
Infrastructure funding from GAOA and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law are part of a concerted effort to address the extensive deferred maintenance and repair backlog in national parks. Supported by revenue from energy development, GAOA’s Legacy Restoration Fund provides up to $1.3 billion per year for five years to make significant enhancements in national parks to ensure their preservation and provide opportunities for recreation, education, and enjoyment for current and future visitors.