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Contact: Vickie Carson, 270-758-2192
Mammoth Cave National Park Superintendent Patrick Reed announced today that the park will offer free Mammoth Cave Discovery tours and a Mammoth Passage tour on Tuesday, June 21, as part of the National Park Service's "fee-free days" for 2011 – an effort to encourage Americans to get out and experience their National Park areas.
"June 21 is the first day of summer and the longest day of the year," said Superintendent Reed. "It is also called 'the longest day of play'. We invite you to get outside, come play in the park and enjoy a free cave tour."
On June 21, visitors must pick up their free Discovery tour tickets at visitor center ticket office between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. CT, and then walk to the Historic Entrance to begin their tour. Visitors may pick up their free tickets for the 4:45 p.m. Mammoth Passage tour prior to tour departure from the visitor center; the Mammoth Passage tour is limited to 40 people.
The Discovery tour and Mammoth Passage tour enter the cave at the Historic Entrance, then trace through Houchins Narrows, the Rotunda, nitre mining artifacts, Audubon Avenue, and Rafinesque Hall. These are some of the mammoth passages for which the cave was named.
Being a self-guided tour, the Discovery Tour gives visitors the freedom to travel at a brisk walk or a slow stroll. Visitors are required to navigate the steep hill to and from the cave entrance, as well as 64 steps into and out of the cave. Allow at least 30 minutes for the tour, a ¾-mile round trip from the visitor center. Ranger guides are stationed along the route inside the cave to answer questions.
The ¾-mile, 1¼ hour Mammoth Passage tour requires a walk down and up the hill below the visitor center, as well as 68 steps at the Historic Entrance.
Camping fees and fees for other tours of Mammoth Cave will not be waived on these days. The Park does not charge a general entrance fee.
Additional fee free days in 2011 are:
- July 1, establishment of Mammoth Cave NP;
- September 24, Public Lands Day;
- October 22 & 29, for Edmonson, Hart, Barren and Warren County residents; and
- November 11-13, Veterans Day weekend.
New 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 more than a million hibernating bats across the eastern United States since its discovery in 2006. WNS has not been found in Mammoth Cave to date, however, park staff are taking precautions to minimize the spread of WNS fungus to or 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 on bio-security mats immediately following the conclusion of their tour.
- NPS -