With fall colors building, the time is near to enjoy a hike in your favorite national park. If that happens to be Mammoth Cave National Park, you can join the annual Walk in the Park next Saturday.
The walk is set for October 8, with on-site registration beginning just outside the Mammoth Cave Hotel at 9 a.m. CDT. The registration fee is $15 per person, $5 for seniors 55 and older, and $5 for children 12 and under. Participants will receive a commemorative T-shirt, drink and snack. Anyone in attendance is also eligible for drawings to win great cave country prizes, including a stay at Park Mammoth Resort; tickets to HotRods 2012 games, cave tour passes for Mammoth Cave, and much more (must be present to win).
The Friends of Mammoth Cave has chosen the Mammoth Cave Railroad Bike & Hike Trail for this event. This trail is nine miles in length and was completed in December 2007. The trail follows the remaining portions of the old berm of the Mammoth Cave Railroad southward through Sloan’s Crossing, ending at Bell Tavern in Park City, Kentucky. It is constructed of dense grade gravel, averages eight feet wide, and is designed for family use.
Walk In The Park 2011 will begin near the Mammoth Cave Hotel, allowing participants to walk approximately two miles to the overlook and then turn around and walk back to the beginning, completing the four-mile walk. However, you are more than welcome to continue along the trail, on your own.
The National Park Service will also be offering two fee-free walks on October 8 for those who feel they cannot traverse the 4-mile hike. At 10:30 a.m. there will be a choice between a guided surface hike – “Shifting Boundaries: Mammoth Cave, Enslavement and the Civil War,” (1 hr 15 min. on the Heritage Trail, a handicap accessible boardwalk); OR a cave tour – Mammoth Passage Tour-Behind the Scenes (a 2 hr. hike not suitable for children under 10; limited to first 24 adults who register on-site at the Walk event; bring your own flashlight; White-nose Syndrome decontamination procedures will apply as with all cave tours; do not wear clothing worn in other caves in the past 3 yrs.).
The park is a vital refuge for the protection of many species and plant communities and home to over 70 threatened, endangered, or state listed species. Mammoth Cave National Park is comprised of karst topography, with fascinating landscapes, luxuriant vegetation, and abundant wildlife; all of the features of a karst drainage system – vast recharge area, complex network of underground conduits, sinkholes, cracks, fissures, and surface and underground springs – are found within the site.