Mammoth Cave Restoration Field Camp


Roy Vanhoozer

Hi everyone, We had a great camp and got a lot done. 29 people attended, mostly grizzled veterans, but at least 4 new recruits. We were unable to work on the bridge in Echo River as the water was too high. A quick outline of what occurred during the camp:

On Monday, we did lint removal in Houchens Narrows and the Rotunda. This is the paved entrance area inside the Historic Entrance. 5 pounds of lint were removed from the Houchens Narrows (the area before you get to the saltpeter pits in the Rotunda). Another garbage bag full of lint was removed in the Rotunda. Interesting items found by lint-niks included a fluorescent light bulb, an M-80 fire cracker, coins, and a tinker toy piece.

On Tuesday, we went to El Ghor and Silliman Ave. to remove all bags and other debris from Pam's Paradise to the elevator. (The elevator is out of service, so there is quite a pile behind it). When we finished moving all the bags up, we went to work removing the lights, ballasts, and wire from the old tourist trail. We started about 1.5 miles down trail from the Snowball Dining room. It was quite a day with a lot of walking and hard work. A small group also went in the Historic Entrance to assist scientific research by a biologist with the NPS. This group conducted cave radio depth location by means of a cave radio they brought with them. The NPS was very appreciative of their efforts. After supper, a small group of 6 RFC cavers went on an educational trip to Dogwood and Adwell Caves.

On Wednesday, we returned to Silliman and continued taling down light fixtures. We then moved all the lights, ballasts, and wire already taken down to Rhoda's Arcade. Breaking early for the day, we went on an educational trip down Marion and Dan Ave. (If you get off the elevator and turn left you are going down Marion Ave.) There are a lot of histotic signatures in Marion, and a great deal of gypsum in Dan Ave. It was a very enjoyable trip.

On Thursday, we went to Long Cave to remove the remnants of an old concrete gate. A team of cavers with sledges broke apart large blocks of concrete in the entrance, while others carted the waste up the hill to a dumptruck. When we finished this project, the dumptruck was full, with Rick Olsen impressed by the effort of the RFC cavers. After supper, John Benton conducted his slide presentation on Floyd Collins for the camp. Bonnie Curnock unveiled her t-shirt creation for the camp. A beautiful shirt with cameos of camp members such as Larry Reece, Norm Rogers, John Vargo, who really helped make the camp what it is today.

On Friday, we went to Great Relief Hall and cleaned out the debris in the cave passages behind the bathrooms. There was quite a bit of lumber, a lot of trash, and some concrete. All of it was removed to Vanderbilt. We broke early to get back to camp for the NPS provided picnic and the awards program. Larry Matiz was given a special award by Rick Olsen in honor of all his past efforts in the camp.

Saturday, the educational trip was Welcome Ave. which runs from Cascade Hall to Ganter Ave. and was the old high water escape route.

It was a great week and I hope everyone enjoyed it, I know I did. Thanks everyone for making it such a fun time while we worked at restoring the longest cave in the world!