Free Mammoth Passage cave tours January 20
Contact: Vickie Carson, 270-758-2192
(MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky., January 13, 2014) Circle the dates on the calendar and plan your trip – America’s 401 national parks will offer free admission on nine days in 2014, including several holidays! Mammoth Cave National Park will provide free Mammoth Passage tours on Monday, January 20, 2014.
“You are invited to come out and enjoy the day,” said Superintendent Sarah Craighead. “We offer free Mammoth Passage tours to say thank you to our friends and neighbors, and as a way to introduce newcomers to the world’s longest cave. Please join us!”
The 2014 fee-free days are:
• January 20: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
• February 15-17: Presidents Day weekend
• April 19-20: National Park Week’s opening weekend
• August 25: National Park Service’s 98th birthday
• September 27: National Public Lands Day
• November 11: Veterans Day
On January 20, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the park will provide free guided Mammoth Passage tours. Each tour is limited to 40 people; visitors must pick up their free tickets at the visitor center prior to departure times. Mammoth Passage tours will depart from the visitor center at 10:00, 11:00, 1:00, 2:30, and 3:00. Mammoth Passage is a ¾-mile, 1¼ hour cave tour, and requires a walk down and up the hill below the visitor center, as well as 68 steps at the Historic Entrance.
Note: tour requirements regarding white-nose syndrome (WNS) in bats: While there are no known harmful effects to humans, WNS is responsible for the deaths of millions of hibernating bats across the eastern United States since its discovery in 2006. WNS was found in outlying caves and passageways Mammoth Cave in winter 2012-13, but has not yet been found in the toured sections. Park staff are taking precautions to minimize the spread of WNS fungus in and from Mammoth Cave. When going on a Mammoth Cave tour, do not wear clothing or shoes that have been worn in other caves or mines. All participants on cave tours must walk across bio-security mats to clean footwear immediately following the conclusion of their tour.
“America’s national parks welcome more than 280 million visitors a year,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “With more than 84 million acres of spectacular scenery, 17,000 miles of trails, 5,000 miles of shoreline, 27,000 historic and prehistoric structures, and 100 million museum items and an infinite number of authentic American stories to tell, national parks offer something for every taste.”
“National parks not only protect and preserve the places we most value, they also add enormous economic value to nearby communities and the entire nation. Visitor spending represents a $30 billion annual benefit to the national economy and supports more than 250,000 jobs,” said Jarvis.
In 2012, Mammoth Cave National Park’s 508,000 annual visitors spent $33 million in the park and the surrounding area; visitor spending supports 508 jobs.