2013 Fee-Free Days Announced

The Department of the Interior has announced the fee-free days for 2013, including National Public Lands Day on September 28. A fee-free day is when parks, refuges and range-lands offer free entry or waive the standard amenity fee for visitors.

Along with NPLD, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the entire Veterans Day weekend are fee-free for the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management. There are several additional fee-free days specific to agencies, such as the National Park Service providing free entry on August 25th to celebrate the 97th birthday of the national park system. Read the Department of the Interior press release on the fee-free days.

Maple Springs area to remain closed through December 1

MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky., August 30, 2013 - The Maple Springs
Trailhead and Maple Springs Loop Road in Mammoth Cave National
Park will remain closed through December 1, 2013, to allow for
completion of the expansion of the trailhead and construction of Big
Hollow Trail, according to Superintendent Sarah Craighead.  Maple
Springs Group Campground will be open by reservation only
September 1 through November 30, 2013.

“We had hoped to have the trailhead open for the fall season, but
we have experienced delays,” said Craighead.  “We appreciate our
visitors’ patience as we work to improve park facilities.  There are
still more than eighty miles of trail available, both in the
backcountry and the frontcountry of the park, so there is no
shortage of places to enjoy the fall colors in the park.”
This fall, hikers and horse users may access the backcountry trails
via the trailheads at Lincoln, First Creek, Temple Hill, and White
Oak.  North of Green River, bicycles are permitted on White Oak
Trail; 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.

Closed sections of Sal Hallow Trail and Buffalo Trail will reopen
September 1, but may not be accessed from Maple Springs; access
to the leg of Raymer Hollow that connects with Maple Springs Loop
Road will remain closed.  Trails originating from Good Spring United
Baptist Church are now closed permanently and will be demolished. 
Notices of trail access/closures will be posted at each trailhead. 
Signs indicting “trail closed” will be posted in the backcountry.

The construction at Maple Springs, outlined in Mammoth Cave’s
2009 trail plan, will:

·        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 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 will remain.

“We want to remind our backcountry trail users to be sure to park at
the trailheads,” added Chief Ranger Brad McDougal.  “During
construction, some sections of Green River Ferry Road-North will be
posted as no parking zones for traffic safety.”