Pre-Meeting Field Excursions

Join the USGS Karst Interest Group, CRF, and workshop organizers for a pre-meeting field trip at Mammoth Cave, May 15-17, 2020. The weekend trips offer a closer look at Mammoth Cave National Park and Biosphere Reserve and a chance to do some wild caving, learn about regional hydrogeology, or sip local wines. Check out what we have planned!

The excursion will be based out of CRF’s Hamilton Valley Field Station just outside of Mammoth Cave National Park and includes four trip options to choose from (shown below) on Saturday, May 16, and a canoe trip on the Green River on Sunday, May 17. There will be shuttles to Bowling Green on the evening of May 17, though lodging at Hamilton Valley is available for an additional night.

There will also be a half-day field trip (local show cave or Mammoth Cave tourist trail) offered on Monday, May 18, available on a first-come, first-serve basis for the first 13 people to express interest during registration. Please indicate interest for this option in the ‘Special Instructions’.

Trip #1: Carmichael Entrance to Violet City Mammoth Cave. Embark on a journey that spans just a few hundred feet on the surface, but winds through the labyrinth of Mammoth Cave for up to 5 hours! Participants will descend into the Carmichael Entrance and explore the depths of the world’s longest cave, learning about history, biology, geology, and cave resource management along the way. Encounter gypsum lined passages, dripstone formations, narrow canyons, and large rooms. Enjoy lunch in the historic snowball dining room and ultimately resurface at the Violet City Entrance. Cave trip is considered physically demanding to very strenuous and may include stairs, steep inclines, narrow passages, and uneven terrain. Leader: Rick Toomey

Trip #2: Roppel Cave. Follow your Cave Research Foundation guides into the Daleo Entrance of Roppel Cave, the only entrance to the Mammoth Cave system owned and managed by a conservation organization, the Southeastern Cave Conservancy. Crawl, climb, and walk through a series of complex loops, canyons, overflow tubes, and seemingly illogical passage intersections. Observe cave streams that flow in all directions of the compass. Roppel Cave is the epitome of a caver’s cave. The trip is considered physically demanding to very strenuous and may include short climbs, long crawls, uneven terrain, wet caving, and narrow canyons. Leader(s): Members of the Cave Research Foundation

Trip #3: South-central Kentucky’s Sinkhole Plain. Explore this unique hydrogeologic environment where surface and subsurface drainage interact and in turn pose a number of challenges to surrounding communities. Activities include a visit to Crumps Cave Education and Research Preserve, lunch in the field, stops at karst features and vistas along the sinkhole plain, and demonstrations of how people in south-central Kentucky live amidst a variety of karst hazards. Leader: Ben Miller

Trip #4: Our Biosphere Reserve. Enjoy the beautiful surface and subsurface landscapes of the Mammoth Cave Area Biosphere Reserve as we explore how our community is working together to manage and protect fragile karst resources. Activities include an onsite presentation about Green River Lock and Dam #6 removal and how this affects aquatic biodiversity and hydrology, farm fresh lunch and wine tasting at a local vineyard, and hear about recent conservation efforts at a local show cave. Leader: Chris Groves

Lodging is available at Hamilton Valley. Be sure to select the ‘with lodging’ option at registration if you would like to reserve a space. The Hamilton Valley facility has 10 bunk rooms that hold 4 bunks each. The main building has restrooms, showers, and wireless internet. Internet is available in the main living area of the facility (access is not available in bunk rooms). You are expected to bring your own toiletries, towels, bed linens (twin size), and pillow with you to use at Hamilton Valley. There are some linens available for loan to international guests. Please indicate your needs in the ‘Special Instructions’ during registration. Accommodation is also available at The Lodge at Mammoth Cave National Park and numerous local motels in either Cave City, Park City, or Glasgow, Kentucky.

Basic Registration includes guided tours with lunch each day and BBQ dinner Saturday evening. Registrant is responsible for making lodging arrangements and transportation to/from Hamilton Valley where Saturday and Sunday tours begin.

Basic Registration with lodging will include the basics (shown above) as well as bunkhouse-style lodging and a light continental breakfast each morning. Shuttle service to/from Bowling Green for guests without transportation can be provided on Friday (May 15) and Sunday (May 17). Please indicate your needs in the ‘Special Instructions’ during registration.

shown in USD
Basic Registration $125 (Trip options #1-3)    $150 (Trip #4)
Basic Registration with lodging $175 (Trip options #1-3)    $200 (Trip #4)

More details on gear requirements, safety, and WNS protocol will be posted in the coming months.