Oregon Caves Community Open House June 23, 2007
Press Release June 13, 2007
Community Open House at Oregon Caves National Monument
On Saturday, June 23, Oregon Caves National Monument will be hosting its annual Community Open House with free admission for the general tour of the cave and an opportunity for visitors to enjoy the historic lodge and its restaurants, Ranger programs, and nature walks through an old-growth forest. Tours can accommodate only 16 people. Tours begin at 9:00 am and the last tour going out is at 6:00pm.
Oregon Caves is located about 20 miles from Cave Junction. The last eight miles of this road steeply twists its way into the mountains to the main parking lot of the monument situated at an elevation of 4,000 feet. A leisurely drive of these 20 miles will get you to the monument in about 45 minutes. Temperatures outside the cave can be warm but you should bring a light jacket or sweater for the 90 minute tour of the cave. Temperature in the cave averages 44 F. Good walking shoes are recommended, especially if you want to hike on one of the four loop trails at the monument. Cameras are OK to take into the cave, while backpacks or large purses are not. Visitors in wheelchairs can access only the first room of the cave. Children under 42 inches cannot go on the general tour of the cave.
A large visitation is expected for the Oregon Caves Community Open House so upon arriving, walk ten minutes from the parking lot to the Oregon Caves visitor center and sign up for a cave tour. The visitor center is in the building above the road on the left as you walk into the historic district from the main parking lot.
After signing up for a tour, plan to enjoy scheduled Ranger programs, take nature walks, and visit the Oregon Caves Chateau, a National Historic Landmark. Young people who want to earn a Junior Ranger badge can pick up an activity book in the visitor center. Once the activities are completed, the book can be redeemed in for a badge. For those who would like to enjoy a hike in the woods, there are three short loop trails that depart from the historic district. Young people who want to earn trail buttons can pick up the trail activity sheets, hike the trail and complete the sheet to earn the trail button.
Food service is available at the monument with lunches and dinner available at the Chateau dining hall and coffee shop.
There have been many changes at Oregon Caves over the past ten years. Staff and volunteers completed the largest cave restoration project of any cave in the United States. Over 1,300 tons of rubble was removed, the trail route reconstructed, and new lighting installed. In the 1990's, fossils were discovered in the cave. The monument is recognized for having the most complete jaguar fossil in the United States, the oldest grizzly bear fossil in North America, and the largest collection of salamander fossils in the nation. Some of these fossil bones are located along the tour route. Other research has recently confirmed the cave to contain a large community of cave adapted life, all of which are endemic only to this cave. The tour of the cave will tell you these stories as well as give you an opportunity to see the formations and hear the sounds of the marble halls of Oregon Caves.
For further information about the Oregon Caves Community Open House, call (541) 592-2100 extension 262
Did You Know?
The grylloblattid, one of the half-dozen endemics found at Oregon Caves, contains anti-freeze properties in its blood to prevent freezing! Photo credit courtesy of Piotr Naskrecki.