Mammoth Cave Restoration Field Camp


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.

Saturday reward trips were scheduled to Indian Cave and the Roppel Entrance both of which were outside the park. The Park Service was in the process of reviewing and changing their off trail exploration policies and had stopped all off trail activity by both employees and volunteers such as the Field Camp participants until such time as the policy review and modification was completed.

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