Crews at Mammoth Cave National Park have their hands full trying to clean up the park after last week's powerful storm, which downed trees and power lines throughout the park. For the time-being, the park is open under "emergency status."
While the visitor center and Mammoth Cave Hotel are open, only limited tours of the historic section of the cave are being offered.
The park is operating under the Incident Command System. Safety is the park's first priority for visitors and staff. Last week's ice storm left hazards in the woods -- broken trees and branches still hang overhead. Most of the park remains closed.
"We are asking visitors and area residents to heed the closure signs in the park," says Superintendent Patrick Reed. "We are dealing with the results of the storm and will open other areas of the park as soon as it is safe. There are many hazards in the woods at this time."/quote]
Park roads open to traffic include Mammoth Cave Parkway, Brownsville Road (Hwy 70), Cedar Sink Road (Hwy 422), and Park Ridge Road. All other park roads and trails are closed.
Sawyer crews from all over the Southeast are in the park: teams from Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Big South Fork National Recreation Area, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the Eastern Cherokee Nation have been called in to help with the cleanup.
The park was able to resume some operations south of Green River by Saturday, January 31, when the hotel and cave tours reopened. Some south-side roads remain closed.
Damage from the storm was much more severe north of Green River. It took park crews three days to “bust” a single lane through the Green River Ferry Road-North; the road remains closed as crews clean up hazardous logs and debris on the road and shoulder.
This week park staff will begin to assess other park roads, trails, cemeteries, and backcountry resources.