1994

 After last years rescue many had wondered if that was the last Field Camp but, here we are again! The 1994 Mammoth Cave Restoration Field camp was the sixth annual event and was held from July 31 to August 6. As Bob Ward had assumed some extra temporary duties with the Park Service he would not be able to spend as much time with us this year as in the past. Rick Olsen would be filling in for Bob and spending the majority of his time this week working with us. Norm Rogers was again camp coordinator this year.

 An additional guest this year was Tina Tyvek who had appeared late last year at camp. She was one of the suits used to clean the Snowball Dining Room (with appropriate clothing) and had been sending cards and letters from all around the world to Norm Rogers since last years camp.  Unfortunately Tina was fatally injured  Sunday afternoon when a van driven by one of the participants backed into her lawn chair and knocked her to the ground.  She must be a hardy caver as she was miraculously resurrected later in the week.

 Sunday evening brought the normal introductions and outline of this years projects. The projects were trail patching in main cave, graffiti removal in the restrooms at Great Relief Hall, wood removal along Echo River Trail and entrance modification and gate replacement at the Bedquilt Entrance of Colossal Cave.  A special presentation of a No Popeye Pancake T-shirt was made to Carole Rogers

 

Monday one small crew started working at the Bedquilt Entrance where a concrete base for the entrance gate had restricted the normal drainage into the cave. This was to be removed (partially) and a new gate installed further into the cave to return the drainage pattern to a more natural state.

A second crew  of about 15 began some trail patching  near Gothic Avenue while a third crew of 6 or so started graffiti removal in the restrooms at Great Relief Hall.  The trail patching was completed in short order and this group then moved to Audubon Avenue for a more extensive trail patching job.  Previous trail patching had used material removed from near the end of Audubon Avenue.  The Park Service had decided that this was a bad idea and future trail repairs were to be made with materials at the repair site.  So... with no surplus material where it was needed the plan was to break up the hard packed trail surface, mix it with water (from the entrance waterfall) and then smooth it out making a new smooth surface and eliminating the potholes in the trail.  Easier said than done, it proved to be a lengthy task.

 

Tuesday work continued at the Bedquilt entrance with a few people swapping places with the other crews.  The graffiti removal in the restrooms continued.  The graffiti was mainly scratch marks made in the natural surface patina rather than smoked names that were common in other areas. The removal process consisted of wetting the surface and lightly rubbing it with brushes, rags  etc. to blend in the dark and light areas.  The results were quite good.  The Audubon Avenue trail patching continued with the work area taped off as this was on an active tour route.

 Wednesday work in the restrooms was completed.  The Bedquilt Entrance project continued and the trail patching in Audubon Avenue was finished.  A crew was sent to Cascade Hall to remove the wood from the former boat storage rack. Part of the crew remained behind to dismantle the remainder of the boat rack.  They quickly discovered it was made of reinforced concrete rather than wood as they had assumed.  After a short period of attacking this monster with sledge hammers and doing no damage to it they decided to abandon the project.  They must of gotten confused on the way out because they were soon in unfamiliar passage and it took them a couple of hours to get back to familiar passages again.

 Tina Tyvek was recovering and had found a new friend - GI Joe.

 Thursday the majority of the camp went to Echo River Trail to remove wood.  The plan was for one bag load per person to be removed and then hauled all the way out of the cave.  There were still a few working on the Bedquilt Entrance project.  After the wood was out of the cave work for today ended.  Thursday evening was a reward trip on the Frozen Niagara tour route. We entered the New Entrance and exited the Frozen Niagara entrance just like the tourists.  No hard hats, no packs and electrically lighted passages and a slow and easy tour with time to photograph and enjoy the cave.

 Friday the entire Field Camp crew went to the Bedquilt Entrance to remove the debris from that project.  This consisted of the old gate, a steel monster that took four people to haul up the hill, the broken concrete from the former gate base and the tools used on the project.  We formed a chain gang part of the way up the hill and passed the broken concrete from person to person till we reached the end of the line.  Then we moved on up the hill and repeated the process until the top was reached.  The debris was loaded into a waiting trailer and removed from the area.

 Friday evening at supper Tina Tyvek suddenly went into labor.  Bob Ward was there and was called upon to deliver the baby.  The delivery was successful with the baby upon arrival having a tattoo that resembled the tattoo of one of the Field Camp participants.

 

Saturday and another Field Camp was successfully concluded.  A reward trip into Colossal cave was taken by many and ended almost as a through trip out the Bedquilt entrance.  Actually they got to the Bedquilt gate but had no key so they had to return back the way the came in.  Some chose to take regular tours and enjoy the cave with the rest of the tourists.

             1995

The seventh annual Mammoth Cave Restoration Field Camp was held on  August 7 -11, 1995. This year the camp started on Monday evening rather than Sunday due to facility scheduling conflicts at Maple Springs.  On Monday a quick trip into the Frozen Niagara  area was made by Bob Ward and four others along with a photographer and reporter from an area newspaper to demonstrate  what we would be doing there this week.  As usual the first evening brought introductions and an outline of projects presented by Bob Ward from the NPS and camp coordinator Norm Rogers. Projects included lint removal in the Frozen Niagara area, wood removal from the Echo River area and a assisting the American Cave Conservation Association (ACCA) with a move from their current office to a new office above the ACCA Museum.

 Tuesday work began on the lint removal in the Frozen Niagara area with a crew of six.  The wood removal project was started along Echo River Trail however due to high water it was determined that this project was not practical.  Wood that was above the water was collected and removed from the cave and this project was abandoned after the first day. It will be resumed at a later date when lower water levels permit.

 

Wednesday  the lint removal continued with a different crew.  An alternate project to the wood removal was started. This project was removal of the fencing and handrails between the Echo River boat dock and the Sands of The Sahara areas.  Material removed was transported to the normal staging area at the bottom of the steps in Mammoth Dome.  A reward trip was taken to Great Onyx Cave this evening however it was guided and time limited as it began about 7:30 and we had to be out in time to make the last ferry at 9:55.

Thursday was the day to assist the ACCA with their move.  The move was about half a block down the street in Horse Cave, Ky.  With their limited staff it was expected to take them a month or so to complete the move.  With the assistance of the field camp crew the move was accomplished in four hours.  Following the move we viewed the museum exhibits and were given the Hidden River Cave tour by one of the guides. Those who wished were permitted by the ACCA to enter and explore Hidden River Cave.  The remainder spent the rest of the afternoon shopping, visiting area tourist attractions and generally relaxing.

Friday a couple of people returned to Frozen Niagara to clean up the work area and remove the tools.  The remainder completed the handrail removal project and formed the typical chain gang up the stairs and fire tower to remove the debris staged at Mammoth Dome to Little Bat Avenue. From there the debris was carried through Little Bat Avenue, Audubon Avenue and up and out of the Historic Entrance to a waiting truck.  This completed another years activities.

 

 

1996 

The eighth annual Mammoth Cave Restoration Field Camp was held on August 11 -17, 1996. The official start was as usual  at supper time on Sunday evening.  After the meal introductions were made and Bob Ward, the Park Cultural Resource Specialist, outlined the projects for this years camp.  Norm Rogers was again the Field Camp Coordinator.

 

We  started the camp on the same day as the annual Church Revisited program.  This is a recreation of past church services held in the cave.  This was held in the Methodist Church area of the cave starting about 8:15 PM and ending about 9 PM. Many of the Field Camp participants took the opportunity to attend this inspiring event.

 Monday, the project for today began with four people heading to the elevator entrance with tools while the remainder entered the Carmichael Entrance.  All would meet at Ole Bull's Concert Hall where two Echo River Tour boats (or if you prefer 4 half boats) had been stored. A prior weekend trip had moved the boats from near Cascade Hall and our project was to remove them the rest of the way out of the cave. 

 

We drilled holes in the boats air tanks to drain out any remaining water  then moved them about a quarter mile by dragging, lifting and carrying them to the last point in the passage where power was available.  At this location the boat halves were cut into three sections with an electric saw then carried out to a staging area near the elevator.  We encountered problems with the saw on the last half boat and it was left to be finished when the saw was repaired.  By about 3 PM the cut up sections had been moved to the staging area and work for today was completed.

Tuesday, today's projects saw six people start the lint removal project on Broadway while the remainder headed to Echo River for wood removal.  Due to the success of prior wood removal efforts and the increased silting of the area the wood removal project met with little success.  Very little wood was found and removed.  After lunch the river rats proceeded to remove some remaining handrails at Echo River and all wood and handrails were removed to an area just outside the gate at the Historic entrance.

 Wednesday, four people went to the Doyle Valley entrance (a 60 foot pit) with Rick Olsen while the rest went to continue lint removal on Broadway.  The Doyle Valley crew did flowstone cleaning with the assistance of a 2000 gallon pumper truck from the Cave City Fire Department.  This was a real hose job, stringing fire hose down the pit and hosing off formations. 

On Broadway about 1000 feet of passage was cleaned of lint for a distance of 3 feet  from each side of the trail. This ended at near the Corkscrew.  Following dinner a trip to Great Onyx Cave was enjoyed by many of the camp participants.

 Thursday, the entire crew went to Horse Cave, Ky. to assist the ACCA with landscaping and wall building at the entrance to Hidden River Cave.  We built about 20 feet of a stone wall along the trail to the cave continuing the project started by other groups. Rigged off the fence at the street level Larry Bundy trimmed brush. Others groomed the flower beds at the entrance.  This project was finished about noon and some of the group took the afternoon to explore the cave while others went shopping or saw other tourist attractions.  It was noted during the morning that cigarette lighters would not function on the sinkhole floor and it was necessary to go 15 to 20 feet above the floor to get them to light.  Those working in the sinkhole did not have any significant problem with what was an obvious lowered oxygen level.  Those who went on the afternoon exploration trip did experience some increased shortness of breath and heightened anxiety levels.  It would appear that there was a lack of air circulation in the sink and cave on this day.

 Friday, was a clean up day with a small crew going to the Historic Entrance to remove tools and material from the lint removal activities and also the river clean up debris at the entrance (most of which had already been removed by the maintenance people). The remainder went to the elevator entrance to finish cutting up the last boat section in El Ghor and removal of all the pieces up the elevator and onto a waiting trailer.  A small crew started trail clean up at Ole Bull's Concert Hall to remove any traces of the grooves and aluminum skid marks left on the passage floor from dragging the boats down the passage.  Work for this year was completed about 2 PM.

 Saturday, reward trips into Roppel Cave were conducted consisting of an easy 4 hour trip (that wasn't quite as easy as some had anticipated) and a harder 7 hour trip that included some quite beautiful passage and gypsum formations.

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