Congressman Brett Guthrie and U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell introduced the Mammoth Cave National Park Boundary Adjustment Act in the House and U.S. Senate, respectively.
Mammoth Cave is one of seven Kentucky national parks and happens to be the world’s longest-known cave system.
“Mammoth Cave National Park is home to thousands of years of human history and a rich diversity of plant and animal life,” said the National Park Service. “Earning it the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve.”
This bill would expand Mammoth Cave National Park to protect wildlife, preserve cultural heritage, and bring more tourism to Kentucky’s Second District.
“As the world’s longest known cave system full of biodiversity and history, Mammoth Cave National Park is not only a treasure to the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” said Congressman Gutherie. “But also a treasure to the entire world.”
This won’t be the first time Mammoth Cave has been expanded. The Cave Research Foundation discovered a passageway in 1972 that connected the Flint Ridge Cave System to Mammoth Cave, earning its title as the longest cave system in the world.
During the 50th anniversary of the Flint Ridge-Mammoth Cave connection, an extra six miles of the cave were mapped and documented. This comes a year after an additional 8 miles of the cave were mapped and documented.
According to McConnell’s office, the legislation would expand 980 acres of “critical habitat” land into Edmonson and Barren counties, including the Green River watershed.
The property includes numerous cave passages like the Coach Cave and James Cave, which are known to contain prehistoric and historic artifacts that can be conserved by the National Park System.
“This extensive cave network has been inspiring Kentuckians and drawing visitors from all corners of the globe for generations,” said Sen. McConnell. “Beyond its role in driving tourism to our Commonwealth, the park also plays a crucial role in the region’s economic growth, supporting good jobs for the people of Kentucky.”
Mammoth Cave National Park generated $69.2 million in economic growth in 2021. According to Sen. McConnell’s office, this expansion is expected to increase the park’s economic impact on the community.
The 426 total miles is just what has been officially mapped out and the total depth is still unknown.