Mammoth Cave National Park added 3 new photos.
2 weeks ago
Mammoth Cave is known for being the longest surveyed cave in the world, but up until 1972 the park's namesake cave system was only considered to be the third longest, well behind the nearby Flint Ridge Cave. In July of 1972, the Flint Ridge Cave system, surveyed then at 87 known miles, was the world’s longest cave, while Mammoth Cave was only 58 miles in length. However, in September of 1972, both systems would change in a big, long way.
Patricia Crowther, a cave explorer with the Cave Research Foundation (CRF), discovered a peculiar, unexplored passage inside of Flint Ridge. After following the lead, the expedition team discovered writing on the wall—a name that read “Pete H.” Pete Hanson was a former cave guide that worked at Mammoth Cave and responsible for discovering a section of the cave known as “New Discovery” in 1938. Upon seeing the writing on the wall, the CRF team realized they crossed from the Flint Ridge System into Mammoth Cave. However, their time was up and they needed to return to the surface to inform others of their safety.
The team was back in action just one week later. On September 9, John Wilcox summoned strong, thin cavers including Steve Wells, Gary Eller, Cleve Pinnix, Richard Zopf, and Patricia Crowther to make and survey the official connection between Flint Ridge and Mammoth Cave. After crawling and wading through a passage only four feet high and filled with three feet of water, the team popped out into a room known as Cascade Hall and happened upon a tourist trail. Patricia Crowther and the CRF “drove the golden spike” connecting the two cave systems and in the process discovered the longest cave in the world at 144.4 miles in length!
As the team completed the survey, they began thinking about the daunting eight-hour return trip. Luckily, Cleve Pinnix, a park ranger at Mammoth Cave, produced a key for the cave entrance and the team took the Snowball Dining Room elevator out of the cave to the surface.
Today, Mammoth Cave lies at 405 miles long with no end in sight. #FindYourPark and walk in the footsteps of these and other brave explorers! ... See MoreSee Less
I remember that summer , my first year as a seasonal guide at Mammoth Cave when they made the connection. It's amazing how fast 45 years goes by. Susan Holman.
There's a book which I believe is titled, "The Longest Cave" which is the whole account of connecting the 5 known caves of the area together.
Great memories with my two boys in mammoth cave and on the trails, fun fun days
Oh wow, hadn't heard this story before. Great stuff!
Too bad no one is allowed to explore the whole thing anymore, as it's "owned" by NPS.
That story brought tears to my eyes every time I told it at Washington Hall!
I just went to the cave in May. It's truly amazing.
Was there as kid it is pretty neat
That some awsome info
Corey D Allen
Mammoth Cave National Park added 3 new photos.
4 weeks ago
While most visitors to Mammoth Cave National Park come to enjoy the natural and historic wonders belowground, Kentucky has its fair share of curiosities on the surface. The honey locust (Gleditsia tricanthos) is a thorny star along the park’s Heritage Trail--few trees sport thorns that are several inches in length!
These thorns are thought to be a defensive adaptation against megafauna, like giant ground sloths and mammoths, which once roamed North America. Although the honey locust protected its leaves from these creatures, the dispersal and spread of the tree species once depended on the megafauna’s consumption of the seed pods to enhance germination.
Honey locust seeds are often dispersed by animals consuming and passing the seed. As the megafauna disappeared from North America, birds, cattle, and other animals became responsible for spreading honey locust across the landscape. The thorns themselves, however, are an outdated defense mechanism, as deer and other animals can easily dodge the widely spaced spikes.
Today, these trees are evidence of a bygone era of giant herbivores. Visitors can discover the honey locust and other curiosities by walking along the Heritage Trail at Mammoth Cave National Park. The trail is a free accessible ½ mile boardwalk loop open year-round.
You can #FindYourPark and discover more botanical wonders hidden in plain view at your national parks! ... See MoreSee Less
I recommend to everyone I speak with to go to Mammoth Cave! I was only there for a short hike but loved the experience.
Is the Cave gonna be closed for tours due to flash flooding we planned on going this Friday n then to Sweetwater Tn for the Lost Sea ?
saw one of these at Big Bone lick, dont see this up north in Michigan
Jim Workman Remember when one of these attacked you?
Matthew Fox 🐺