Low Water Levels Force Delay in Ferry Maintenance at Mammoth Cave National Park

Low water levels have forced a change of plans for maintenance and inspections of Mammoth Cave National Park's two ferryboats. Photo of the Houchins Ferry by Jess Stryker.

Low water levels have forced a delay in the planned maintenance of the Green River Ferry at Mammoth Cave National Park. While the maintenance and inspections were to be performed this week, they're now scheduled for next week.

Park Superintendent Patrick Reed says hull inspections by the U.S Coast Guard will require that each of the two ferries be idled on one day for approximately four to eight hours.

“At this point, we are unsure of the exact schedule for the inspections, so we must ask folks to check the ferry information line for current status of ferry operations,” said the superintendent.

The ferry information line is 270-758-2166.

After the inspections are complete, the Green River Ferry will be removed from the river for maintenance. However, the river must be at seven or eight feet to allow the ferryboat to be removed from the river; the river gauge at Green River Ferry measured 2 feet on Thursday.

“At this time, there is enough water to run the ferries, but not enough to pull the Green River Ferry out of the river,” said Superintendent Reed.

Sandblasting and painting the Green River Ferry will require that it be out of service for four to six weeks. The ferryboat will be moved to the adjacent parking lot on the south side of the river. About half of the parking spaces will be closed to make room for the ferry and workmen. Once Green River Ferry is returned to the river, Houchin Ferry will receive the same treatment.

While Green River Ferry is out of service, the hours of Houchin Ferry will run from 6:00 a.m. to 9:55 p.m. Houchin Ferry will not close for the season until the Green River Ferry is back in operation, park officials said.