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A Mammoth Cave National Park Christmas

John Yakel
Saturday, December 1, 2007

Perhaps the most unusual ornament in the White House collection, this ornament depicts the Historic Entrance to Mammoth Cave National Park. It was created by Ranger John Yakel.

Starting with a five-inch ball, Ranger Yakel sliced a hole in the side of it and applied papier-mâché to depict layers of limestone at the Historic Entrance to the cave; he dripped hot glue over the “mouth of the cave” to create the spring, and applied modeling shrubbery to the top of the ball for the forest.

“It was an experience of a lifetime,” said Ranger Yakel of the trip he and his wife, Pam, made to Washington and the November 28 reception at the White House. “First Lady Laura Bush was very gracious and welcoming, and so supportive of the national parks. The ornaments were amazing and each one was perfect for the park it portrayed. I was proud to be a part of it and represent Mammoth Cave.”

Absolutely amazing! Such creativity, imagination & talent. It looks like the real thing. Way to go John...we love it!


I saw the White House.gov page with all the ornaments but I somehow missed this one. Isn't there an old Star Trek episode where the Enterprise gets trapped in something that looks a lot like this? :-)


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