In the first week of August the team was given a chance to spend two days working with a group from the National Speleological Society during their cave restoration camp here at Mammoth Cave National Park.
Earlier this spring flood waters damaged lights and electrical wires in the lower cave passages. While the lighting and wires had been replaced soon after the flood the old wires and light fixtures remained in place. One of our first tasks was to dig up the disconnected cables, cut them into managable lengths, and pile them for removal from the cave. Then we obscured the new wires and light fixtures from view by burying cables or stacking rocks and debris around them to preserve the natural feel of the cave for future visitors.
Our team also ventured to the lowest passage of the cave where water still flows and is actively carving out the future of Mammoth Cave. These passages were previously the site of underground boat tours until these programs were discontinued. Periodic floods and changes in the rivers course occasionally dislodge pieces of lumber that had formerly been part of the walkways, docks, or boats. We found serveral larger timbers and several bags of smaller wood fragments. We carried these heavy, water-logged pieces of timber through almost two miles of cave passages so they could be removed from the cave.
Working with NSS was a great experience and it gave us a chance to give back to the cave system for all the fun we've had there this summer!
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