Get ready for this year's
Pedal for the Park - 
May 10, 2014

Click on our new logo to register
online or here for mail-in form. Click here for more information.
The Friends of Mammoth Cave National Park, works in cooperation with the National Park Service, to fund projects and programs that protect, preserve, and enhance the natural and cultural resources, and the visitor experience of Mammoth Cave National Park. We can only accomplish our goal with the support of individuals and organizations that care about Mammoth Cave and want to help ensure that its magic endures forever.
Last year's
Walk in the Park
Sept. 28, 2013.
Thanks to all who came and had a great time.

Let's do it again this year, Sept 27th.
Superintendent's message:

Mammoth Cave is a special place, well protected as a national park, a World Heritage Site, and as the core area of an International Biosphere Reserve.  It is known around the world for its premiere karst landscape, biodiversity, and of course, the longest cave.

That’s the big picture, but how did each of these designations come to be?  Through people who had a passion for the park.  You could call them friends of the park.  People like you!

You can help protect and promote Mammoth Cave by becoming a Friend.

The Friends of Mammoth Cave:

•    add a margin of excellence to the park and increase the stewardship of the caves, forests, rivers, and rugged karst terrain of Mammoth Cave.
•    find and build new partnerships to fund a wide variety of park programs and research.  
•    get kids into the woods and into the cave by funding bus transportation to schools that could not afford a field trip without the Friends’ help.
•    provide a means to accept donations to further the park’s educational efforts and research.
•    recruit volunteers who donate their sweat-equity in the park’s resource protection projects.

We truly appreciate the work of our Friends.

Sarah Craighead

See photos of last year's ride in our Gallery
Here's the latest news
Friday, April 04, 2014

MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky., April 3, 2014    Its time to work on First Creek Trail, said Russell Runge, Acting Superintendent at Mammoth Cave National Park, following a planning meeting.  As a result, 1.5 miles of First Creek Trail, from Temple Hill Trailhead to the bridge near First Creek Lake, will be closed for the next six weeks while an American Conservation Experience work crew repairs and rebuilds the trail.
Click title to read the east of the story

Monday, March 31, 2014
MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky., March 31, 2014 - Are you longing to see flowering dogwoods and tulip poplars?  Do you like to notice the seasonal changes in trees and plants from year to year?

Mammoth Cave National Park as a Project Budburst Partner is asking the public to watch and record the leafing, flowering and fruiting cycles of ten plant species.  Project Budburst is a network of people, citizen scientists, across the United States who monitor plants and collect ecological data as the seasons change.
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Raymer Hollow Trail reroute complete
Monday, March 24, 2014
(MAMMOTH CAVE, March 24, 2014)  Seventeen American Hiking Society volunteers and a crew of Great Onyx Job Corps urban forestry students worked in Mammoth Cave National Park last week to reroute a mired section of Raymer Hollow Trail.  The work is complete and the trail is open again.
“We really appreciate the volunteers and the Job Corps students,” said Superintendent Sarah Craighead.  “The park did not have the manpower to do the work, and it would have been months before we could reopen Raymer Hollow Trail, had it not been for the American Hiking Society and the Great Onyx students.”
The American Hiking Society volunteers came to Mammoth Cave from across the country and donated 510 hours of their time to lop limbs, cut small trees by hand, dig and rake, grub roots, and drag tree limbs.  Each day they walked one mile into the work site, and one mile out.
Nine Great Onyx students, under the direction of their instructor John Pitonyak, cut and cleared 17 large, downed trees along a two-mile section of the trail.

Mammoth Cave National Park releases Finding of No Significant Impact for its EA on Improvements to Concession Facilities
Friday, March 21, 2014
(MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky. – March 21, 2014) Superintendent Sarah Craighead announced today the next step toward completing the Mammoth Cave National Park Improvements to Concession Facilities environmental assessment: a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Preferred Alternative has been signed by NPS Regional Director Stan Austin and is now posted online.

“We carefully reviewed the comments received from the public,” said Craighead.  “Overall, people were interested in some kind of change to the facility.  Unfortunately, our budget is limited and we will do what we can.  In the end, the practical solution is still Alternative B, which we presented as the preferred alternative in the environmental assessment.”

The environmental assessment examined two alternatives in detail, addressed the environmental impacts of each alternative, and identified a preferred alternative. The FONSI explains why the Selected Alternative (Alternative B) will have no significant effects on the human environment. It is based on the environmental assessment and the comments received from the public, agencies, and staff during the public review period, which concluded December 28, 2013. The FONSI summarizes the public comments received, lists the responses to those comments, and identifies the changes to the text as a result of the public and agency comments.

The FONSI for the Preferred Alternative is posted on NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment website (  Hard copies are available for viewing at the park visitor center and the superintendent’s office.

Friday, March 07, 2014

MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky.,  March 6, 2014 -  A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 508,054 visitors to Mammoth Cave National Park in 2012 spent $40.4 million in communities near the park.  That spending supported 574 jobs in the local area.
(click title to read rest of article)

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

(MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky., March 5, 2014) 
Dave Wyrick’s life is spiced with variety.  From his hometown of Carlsbad, N.M., Wyrick has lived and worked from Washington State, to Washington, D.C., from Fort Sumter, S.C. to an historic ranch in Montana, from bluffs over the Mississippi River in Natchez to the great Mammoth Cave of Kentucky.

This month, Wyrick will dust off his caving  gear from his years at Carlsbad Caverns to begin his new position as the chief of the division of interpretation and visitor services at Mammoth Cave National Park
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Campgrounds, picnic areas open for the season
Saturday, March 01, 2014

(MAMMOTH CAVE – February 28, 2014)  Park campgrounds and picnic areas will open for the season in the coming weeks.  Mammoth Cave Campground, Maple Springs Group Campground, and the headquarters picnic area will open March 1.  The campground and picnic area at Houchin Ferry will open March 14.  At this time, the ferry service at Houchin Ferry remains closed.

Sites at the Mammoth Cave Campground, near the visitor center, are available on a first-come, first-served basis March 1 - May 14 and September 16 - November 30; reservations are recommended May 15 – September 15.

Maple Springs campsites, by reservation only, are designed for groups of up to 24 people, and four of the sites accommodate campers with horses.  The reservation period for Maple Springs is March through November.

To make campground, picnic shelter, or cave tour reservations, call 877-444-6777, or go online at   Mammoth Cave Campground, Maple Springs Group Campground and the picnic shelters are closed December 1 - February 28.

White-nose syndrome found in tour routes of Mammoth Cave
Monday, February 24, 2014

(MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky., February 24, 2014)  White-Nose Syndrome (WNS), a disease that is deadly to bats, has been found to be present along the toured passageways of Mammoth Cave.  Park staff discovered WNS in remote sections of Mammoth Cave last year, including colonial hibernacula.

WNS was first detected in New York State in 2006 and has killed millions of cave-dwelling bats in eastern North America.  As the disease progresses, bats become active during months when they would normally be in hibernation.  Mortality rates of bats have reached almost 100 percent in multi-year infected caves. 

“We have observed some increase in bat activity, which may be due to the illness,” said Superintendent Sarah Craighead.  “We have also found several dead bats in the last few weeks.”

“It is important to remember that White-Nose Syndrome affects bats, not humans,” added Craighead.  “As with all our wildlife, we caution visitors not to approach animals, including bats.  If contact should occur, please notify a ranger.”

Tours and research are continuing at Mammoth Cave National Park, accompanied by extensive education and outreach on WNS, and adherence to approved cleaning methods recommended by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Visitors must walk through bio-security mats as they exit cave tours.

Safety concerns cause temporary closure of Raymer Hollow Trail
Thursday, February 13, 2014

(MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky., February 12, 2014)   Park staff have determined the best way to deal with a large mud-mire that has developed along Raymer Hollow Trail is to temporarily close the 6.2-mile trail in the backcountry of Mammoth Cave National Park.

“Some horsemen identified a ‘mud hole’ where their horses sank up to their bellies,” said Superintendent Sarah Craighead.  “This area is a hazard to park visitors and the natural and cultural resources we are mandated to protect.  Because of the rocky and challenging terrain there is no easy reroute.  We will need some time to assess the trail and surrounding area before we decide how to proceed.  This is a remote area where trees were damaged by the 2009 ice storm and blow-down – the remedy will take some time as well.”

Raymer Hollow Trail and the Raymer Hollow backcountry campsite are temporarily closed.  Other trails and campsites are available.

The park’s backcountry holds approximately 70 miles of trails.  All routes are open to hikers, with Raymer Hollow closed about 52 miles are open to horse use, and 12 miles are open to mountain bikers.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
(MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky., February 11, 2014)  Greg Davis, general manager of the Mammoth Cave Hotel, heads to the barn, retiring after 41 years in the tourism industry.

Davis has been involved in the hospitality industry since 1968, primarily in and around Mammoth Cave National Park.  A leader in the community and active in local organizations, Davis has welcomed and shown Kentucky hospitality to millions of visitors over the span of his career.  Since 2001, Davis served as general manager of Mammoth Cave Hotel.
(click title for more)

Free Mammoth Passage cave tours February 15-17
Monday, February 10, 2014
For Immediate Release

(MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky., February 10, 2014)  In honor of Presidents Weekend, Mammoth Cave National Park will provide free Mammoth Passage tours on February 15-17, 2014.

“We all need a break from this winter weather, and a place to relax and refresh,” said Superintendent Sarah Craighead.  “Mammoth Cave is the perfect place to do just that.  Take a hike, ride a bike, bring your horse, or tour the Mammoth Passage for free.  Enjoy your national park.”

On Presidents Weekend, the park will offer free guided Mammoth Passage tours.  Each tour is limited to 40 people; visitors must pick up their free tickets at the visitor center prior to departure times.  Mammoth Passage tours will depart from the visitor center at 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 1:00, 2:30, and 3:00.

Mammoth Passage is a ¾-mile, 1¼ hour cave tour, and requires a walk down and up the steep hill below the visitor center, as well as 160 steps.

Note:  tour requirements regarding white-nose syndrome (WNS) in bats:
While there are no known harmful effects to humans, WNS is responsible for the deaths of millions of hibernating bats across the eastern United States since its discovery in 2006.  WNS was found in outlying caves and passageways of Mammoth Cave in winter 2012-13, but has not yet been found in the toured sections.  Park staff are taking precautions to minimize the spread of WNS fungus in and from Mammoth Cave.  When going on a Mammoth Cave tour, do not wear clothing or shoes that have been worn in other caves or mines.  All participants on cave tours must walk across bio-security mats to clean footwear immediately following the conclusion of their tour. 

Visit the Presidents Day page on for a calendar of events, as well as travel itineraries and lesson plans about the presidents.

Friday, January 10, 2014
Click title to register. This year we are using to make your entry easier. You may also click this logo to register.

Maple Springs and Big Hollow to open Saturday December 14
Wednesday, December 11, 2013

MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky., December 11, 2013 – The Maple Springs Trailhead, Maple Springs Loop Road and Big Hollow Trail in Mammoth Cave National Park will open to the public on December 14, 2013. 

“It is with great pleasure that I make this announcement – Big Hollow Trail and Maple Springs Trailhead are open and ready for use,” said Superintendent Sarah Craighead.  “Having these areas closed since spring has been a hardship on park visitors, and we appreciate their patience.  There are still a few items to complete, and when those are finished we will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate.  We ask all trail users to take care of the trails and use them wisely.”

In July, Craighead signed an agreement with the Southwest Kentucky Mountain Bike Association (SWKyMBA) which established its members as the primary caretakers of the new 8-mile Big Hollow Trail.

“Southwest KyMBA is very excited to hear the news of the opening of the Big Hollow Trail to mountain bikers, hikers and trail runners,” said SWKyMBA Chairman Chip Winger.  “As the Big Hollow Trail stewards, we would kindly ask all user groups to maintain proper trail etiquette while utilizing the trail.  Thanks in advance for your cooperation – see you on the trail.”

SWKyMBA’s guidelines for responsible trail use and etiquette provide a common sense approach for all visitors:
1.Do not use trails when they are muddy.
2.Be wary of freeze/thaw conditions, when temperatures drop below freezing at night and climb above freezing in the day.  A trail can quickly become the consistency of peanut butter and should be avoided.  During freeze/thaw, use only when the trail is frozen.
3.When encountering opposite traffic both users should go to their right and stay on the trail. 
4.When passing a slower trail user while traveling in the same direction, pass on the left and be courteous by letting other trail users know of your whereabouts and intentions.

In accordance with its 2009 trail plan, the park contracted with the Lightsey Corporation to:
•expand parking at Maple Springs Trailhead from 14 spaces to 35 spaces (15 for trailers, 20 for vehicles, and two will be handicapped accessible);
•construct a multiuse extension of Raymer Hollow Trail to connect the Maple Springs Research Station, Maple Springs Group Campground, Maple Springs Trailhead, and the new Big Hollow Trail; 
•construct the new 8-mile, multi-loop Big Hollow Trail for hikers and bikers; and
•eliminate the trailhead and trail access from Good Spring United Baptist Church yard.  (Road access to the church and cemetery remains.)

Mammoth Cave National Park now provides more than 90 miles of trails.  All trails are open to hikers.  Northside trails, with the exception of Big Hollow, are open to horse-use.  North of Green River, bicycles are permitted on Big Hollow and White Oak trails; south of the river bicycles are permitted on the Mammoth Cave Railroad Bike & Hike Trail, Licklog Road, Crystal Cave Road, Great Onyx Road and Union City Road.

End of season for campgrounds, picnic area
Friday, November 22, 2013

(MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky. – November 21, 2013)  December marks the end of the season for certain services at Mammoth Cave National Park, including the picnic area and campgrounds.

The picnic area, Maple Springs Group Campground and Mammoth Cave Campground (near the visitor center) will be closed December 1, 2013, through February 28, 2014.  Houchin Ferry campground will remain closed through the winter.  

Backcountry campsites on the north side of Green River will be available through the winter months. (end)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013
By Hope S. Philbrick

“Caves are like snowflakes,” says Dave Foster, geologist and executive director of Hidden River Cave and the American Cave Museum. “No two are alike. You need to see them all. They’re all different”

Indeed, after a week touring seven of the underground attractions Kentucky has to offer along Interstate 65-Kentucky Cave Country stretches from Bowling Green to Louisville, if driving north-it’s clear that a whole other world lurks beneath the bourbon distilleries, thoroughbred farms, quilt barns and museums, Lincoln historic sites and rolling fields of bluegrass that you may already think define the state.

Until you see what’s under Kentucky, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. (click title to read more)

Friday, July 26, 2013
MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky., July 26, 2013 - On July 22, 2013, Mammoth Cave National Park Superintendent Sarah Craighead signed an agreement with the Southwest Kentucky Mountain Bike Association which establishes its members as the primary caretakers of the new 8-mile Big Hollow Trail. (click title for more)

Friday, March 29, 2013
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has analyzed the economic impacts of designating critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act for the Diamond Darter in West Virginia and Kentucky. On Friday, March 29, 2013, we will publish a notice of availability of the draft economic analysis in the Federal Register and reopen the comment period for thirty days. This will allow the public the opportunity to comment both on the proposal to list the diamond darter as endangered with critical habitat and on the draft economic analysis. (click title for more)

See photos of last year's walk in our Gallery
{Student Transporation Grants}
Working Together for a Better Park
Photos courtesy the U.S. National Park Service
Friends of Mammoth Cave National Park