Mammoth Cave National Park Just Got ‘A Little More Mammoth’ via Extension of Known Caves

by Jon D. B.

The world’s longest cave system is now a little longer thanks to discoveries announced at Mammoth Cave National Park‘s 50th Anniversary celebration.

It’s official: Mammoth Cave is six miles longer. The addition of another half-dozen miles of mapped passages brings the total length of Mammoth Cave to a whopping 426 miles.

This anniversary is not for the park’s founding, however. Mammoth Cave National Park was founded in 1941. Instead, park officials made the announcement at the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Flint Ridge-Mammoth Cave connection. It was this connection that earned Mammoth Cave the title of longest cave in the world.

“The additional 6 miles of cave is spread out in various sections throughout the cave system and were mapped and documented through hours of survey work completed by our partner, the Cave Research Foundation (CRF),” announces Mammoth Cave Superintendent Barclay Trimble.

A member of the Cave Research Foundation rappels into a pit inside Mammoth Cave. (Photo credit: Rick Olson, NPS Media Release, MACA)

“It is very fitting that we can now announce the new miles during our anniversary events celebrating years of great work accomplished by the CRF. Our teams have come together to mark this important milestone and we hope the community will take advantage of some special opportunities to learn more about the CRF and even be able to speak directly to the history makers themselves,” Trimble continues.

Mammoth Cave National Park Celebrates 50 Years of the Flint Ridge-Mammoth Cave Connection, and 6 More Miles Added

Visitors to the park got in on the celebration, too. As part of the 50th Anniversary celebration, special evening programs were held over multiple nights. Within, members of the CRF discussed their efforts to survey and discover more parts of Mammoth Cave.

CRF members Roger Brucker, Tom Brucker, and Stan Sides answered questions about exploration at Mammoth Cave on September 8. On Friday, September 9, members of the original 1972 CRF discovery team (including Richard Zoph, Steve Wells, Cleve Pinnix, Gary Eller, and Pat Wilcox) came out to the park to discuss the obstacles they overcame to connect the two cave systems into one.

These events were free to the public and held in Mammoth Cave National Park’s Amphitheater. But there’s more to come! For more on all anniversary events, visit the park’s 50th Anniversary of the 1972 Connection website.

Whether celebrating this anniversary or not, Mammoth Cave is a fantastic national park that should not be missed. Above ground, rolling hills, deep river valleys, and beautiful forests capture southern Kentucky’s beauty. And below, visitors can traverse the worlds longest known cave system.

Mammoth Cave National Park also holds thousands of years of human history. A rich diversity of plant and animal life live here, too. As a result, the national park is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve.