International Designations

A brown entrance sign to the national park
Entering Mammoth Cave National Park along Brownsville Road.

NPS Photo

Mammoth Cave is a special place to many people. It has become recognized as a place of significance not only to people in the United States of America but to those from around the world. Together, with your help, we can keep Mammoth Cave flourish for generations to come.

The logo for the UNESCO World Heritage Site

World Heritage Site

In 1981, at the fifth session of the World Heritage Committee in Sydney, Australia, Mammoth Cave National Park was inscribed as a world heritage site. This international designation is governed by the World Heritage Convention of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The UNESCO World Heritage Convention recognizes Mammoth Cave as the most extensive cave system in the world and for its unique examples of cave and karst landscape geology. Nearly every type of cave formation is known within the site and Mammoth Cave is the richest cave-dwelling wildlife known, with more than 130 species within the cave system.

The logo for the UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve

Biosphere Reserve

In 1990, Mammoth Cave National Park was designated as the core area of the Mammoth Cave Area Biosphere Region by the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme. The biosphere area was then increased from 60,000 acres to 909,276 in 1996. The area was recognized because of its unique biodiverse flora and fauna and cultural significant features of prehistoric people.

The Mammoth Cave Area Biosphere Region, governed by the Biosphere Reserve Advisory Council, works to better understand the role that humans have on the natural world and provide ecologically minded economic development for the area. This is done by serving three main functions:

  1. Conservation of important biological resources.
  2. Development of environmentally sound economic growth.
  3. Support for research, monitoring, education, and information exchange related to conservation issues.

Last updated: October 4, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 7
Mammoth Cave, KY 42259-0007


(270) 758-2180

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