Expansion of trailhead parking and construction of the Big Hollow Trail at Mammoth Cave National Park will require the closure this summer of the Maple Springs Trailhead, Maple Springs Group Campground and Maple Springs Loop Road.
The trailhead and road will close May 20; the group campground will close June 1.
“The National Park Service as a whole promotes outdoor recreation as a way to get fit and stay healthy,” said Superintendent Sarah Craighead. “This plan has been in the works for four years and is part of the park’s Comprehensive Trail Management Plan. As a point of explanation, the funds allocated for this project are not affected by the sequester, and the closures in the Maple Springs area are for construction purposes and not related to the sequester.”
Mammoth Cave’s 2009 trail plan outlined the need to:
* Expand parking at Maple Springs Trailhead from 14 spaces to 35 spaces (15 for trailers, 20 for vehicles, and two will be handicapped accessible). The work is scheduled to be completed by September 1, 2013;
* Construct a multiuse trail to connect the Maple Springs Research Station, Maple Springs Group Campground, Maple Springs Trailhead, and the new Big Hollow Trail. The work is scheduled to be completed by December 1, 2013;
* Construct a trail dedicated to bike use and hikers. The 8-mile, multi-loop Big Hollow Trail will be located in the hilly country of the park north of the Green River and east of the Green River Road. The work is scheduled to be completed by December 1, 2013.
The Maple Springs Loop Road and Trailhead will close this Monday to accommodate construction. Notices of trail access/closures will be posted at each trailhead. Signs indicting “trail closed” will be posted in the backcountry.
The Maple Springs Group Campground will close June 1. From May 20 to May 31, visitors camping at the group campground may access trails via Sal Hallow; access to Raymer Hollow will be closed.
Construction at the trailhead and for the new trail will be funded through the Recreation Fee Program, which allows the park to retain 80 percent of the fees collected for cave tours and at the campgrounds. The park contracted with Lightsey Construction Company to do the work.
“Planning is complete, environmental compliance is finished, and a contractor has been selected,” said Superintendent Craighead. “Work will commence May 20. We want our trail users to be aware that this construction will impact their use of the Park trails during the summer season, however, the temporary inconvenience will result in long lasting improvements.”
This summer, 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 RR Bike & Hike Trail, Licklog Road, Crystal Cave Road, Great Onyx Road and Union City Road.