The Maple Springs Trailhead and Maple Springs Loop Road in Mammoth Cave National Park, which have been closed all summer due to construction projects, will remain closed through December 1.
The work includes expansion of the trailhead and construction of Big Hollow Trail, according to Superintendent Sarah Craighead. Maple Springs Group Campground will be open by reservation only September 1 through November 30.
"We had hoped to have the trailhead open for the fall season, but we have experienced delays," said Superintendent Craighead. "We appreciate our visitors' patience as we work to improve park facilities. There are still more than eighty miles of trail available, both in the backcountry and the frontcountry of the park, so there is no shortage of places to enjoy the fall colors in the park."
This fall, 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 Railroad Bike & Hike Trail, Licklog Road, Crystal Cave Road, Great Onyx Road and Union City Road.
Closed sections of Sal Hallow Trail and Buffalo Trail may not be accessed from Maple Springs; access to the leg of Raymer Hollow that connects with Maple Springs Loop Road will remain closed. Trails originating from Good Spring United Baptist Church are now closed permanently and will be demolished. Notices of trail access/closures will be posted at each trailhead. Signs indicting "trail closed" will be posted in the backcountry.
The construction at Maple Springs, outlined in Mammoth Cave's 2009 trail plan, will: ″expand parking at Maple Springs Trailhead from 14 spaces to 35 spaces (15 for trailers, 20 for vehicles, and two will be handicapped accessible);″ construct a multi-use trail to connect the Maple Springs Research Station, Maple Springs Group Campground, Maple Springs Trailhead, and the new Big Hollow Trail;″ construct an 8-mile, multi-loop Big Hollow Trail for hikers and bikers; and ″eliminate the trailhead and trail access from Good Spring United Baptist Church yard." Road access to the church and cemetery will remain.
"We want to remind our backcountry trail users to be sure to park at the trailheads," added Chief Ranger Brad McDougal. "During construction, some sections of Green River Ferry Road-North will be posted as no parking zones for traffic safety."