Posts Tagged ‘caving’

Group from United Nations, China visits WKU as part of joint research project

A team representing the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Chinese government visited WKU this week for fieldwork and to discuss cooperative research under way to study atmospheric carbon dynamics.

Chris Groves explains details of groundwater monitoring equipment to Chinese scientists within WKU-owned Crumps Cave.

The group, which included scientists from UNESCO’s International Geoscience Program and the Chinese Geological Survey, visited sites at the WKU-owned Crumps Cave Educational Preserve and Lost River Cave. Research is under way there, with sister sites in China, to measure rates at which atmospheric CO2 is consumed by the dissolving of limestone in the world’s karst regions, which are areas like in south central Kentucky where caves, sinkholes and underground rivers are common. Rapidly changing atmospheric concentrations have been linked to increased rates of climate change, and so much work is underway to understand ways in which CO2 is being added to, or subtracted from, the atmosphere… Read more on the WKU News Blog!

Welcome new team members!

ImageThis week has been intense for our new summer tour guides and guest service employees. They are discovering the rich cultural history of the cave and valley area as well as the biology, geology and ecology that makes a visit to Lost River Cave an unique experience.

New team member Crys Smith noted, “There is so much to know about Lost River Cave… It’s not overwhelming, it is eye opening!”

New team member Sabir Khayaliyer was most excited about our vibrant ecology, but he didn’t fail to mention how good the Linzie’s sandwich was that we had for our welcome lunch.

“This is a fantastic team! We are blessed this year with confident, personable individuals who are sure to make this one of the best years Lost River Cave has ever had,” added Wildflower Gift’s Manager Sylvia Risher.

Our Executive Director Rho Lansden couldn’t have agreed more. She believes this team really has a grasp of our mission to restore, preserve and protect Lost River Cave. Lansden observed the team’s excitement about becoming part of the Lost River Cave culture.

Writings on the Wall

Men at Lost River Cave when the dam was being built.

Lost River Cave Historical Photo

With over 600 known miles of cave passages networking their way through South-Central Kentucky, many residents of these areas are well aware of our unique underground. Even with this, massive subterranean caves in the region are still being forgotten and our children continue to grow up without ever experiencing this frontier. Perhaps this can be accounted to a lack of knowledge, or maybe you’re just not quite ready to shell out $150 for a headlamp that boasts a 200 lumen light… especially when you’re not even sure what the heck a lumen is. Regardless of the reason, caves remain a valuable, entertaining, and hands-on way to educate our children on a variety of topics ranging from safety to science, to interpretive storytelling.

Every cave has a story to tell, from the writings on the wall, to the way the carbonic acid carved its way through the soluble bedrock; and nearly every caver will agree it is a major reason to venture into the dark (with at least three sources of light of course).  Did you know over a dozen names of both Confederate and Union soldiers are written on the cave walls with smoke at Lost River Cave? All of these soldiers called the Lost River Valley home during their respective encampments. Of course, this is merely a speck of Lost River Cave’s timeline that has spanned hundreds of thousands of years.

With so much raw maturity, it’s no wonder why caves remain such a beautiful and fragile environment. For many first time cavers, simply seeing this maturity from an up-close perspective is enough to instill a genuinely profound, lasting respect for the natural world which, as you can imagine, truly helps in our conservation efforts of these karst features.

Rewind to the days of oil lanterns and manila rope, when the excitement of caving lay in the thrill of discovery. When early guides like Stephen Bishop, who discovered most of what is today Mammoth Cave, would spend days at a time traversing passages, that back then, had more than likely never seen a footstep.  It’s what keeps cavers coming back; the thought that, at any point, only a handful of people have ever witnessed the same jaw-dropping formation.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way advocating throwing on an old pair of Levis, grabbing the closest BIC lighter and taking to the underground. Proper caving requires much more organization and planning. There’s equipment to gather, people to inform, batteries to check, and maps to read. All of which can result in a serious headache for the under-experienced. Then, there’s the final issue of tracking down a knowledgeable guide. This has to be someone who’s undoubtedly familiar with the cave and knows the challenges the group may face (I say ‘group’ because a general rule is to never go caving in groups of less than three

Kid's Discovery Cave Crawl

Now, beginning April 14, Lost River Cave can help your children ‘dig deeper’ into this environment by way of our new Kid’s Discovery Cave Crawl. This tour is designed for children ages 6-12. It not only gives children an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Civil War soldiers and famed speleo-explorers while learning safe caving practices, but also allows them the chance to fulfill one of their earliest fascinations… to get dirty. And by dirty, we mean REALLY DIRTY!

 

Guest Writer

Outdoor Adventure Journalist, Danny Dresser

A Moment in History

Senior Class of Woodburn 1934

Woodburn School - 1916

After 77 years Elizabeth Law, now Elizabeth Creek, returned to Lost River Cave.

In the days before school trips, her senior class of 1934 came to Lost River. Elizabeth had attended the Woodburn school since third grade. The class of 14 students  were allowed to scramble down the bluffs for a look at the river and massive cave entrance. She recalled that there were no buildings, just the cave.

After her tour, Elizabeth remarked that she was glad to have the opportunity to come back today. She loved the cave and her tour guide Jordan. She left saying “Everything is so beautiful!”

8th Annual Earth Day Invasive Plant Pull

It’s time to root out and destroy pesky plant invaders with at the 8th Annual Invasive Plant Pull!  In celebration of Earth Day, Lost River Cave and Valley invites you to spend an afternoon to help re-invigorate the valley floor, on Saturday, April, 23th from 1:00PM – 4:00PM. Bring your entire family and join other community members as they band together in an attempt to eradicate invasive plants from the Lost River Valley.

Pre-register so we can plan a plant plot for you to help pull pesky plants from the valley. Early-bird registrants will receive free Invasive Plant Pull t-shirts, Free Boat Tours, Door Prizes, and Gift Shop Discounts.  Volunteers can pre-register by visiting us online at http://www.lostrivercave.com to download the application. Applications can also be picked up at Lost River Cave and Valley located at 2818 Nashville Road in Bowling Green, KY or calling us at 270-393-0077.

The Invasive Plant Pull is an annual event at Lost River Cave & Valley offering individuals a chance to gain volunteer experience while teaching you to detect invasive plant species wherever you see them. With your help Lost River will one day be rid of the pesky sprouts that run rampantly over the 25-acre valley floor. Clearing plants like winter creeper and privet is easy work that provides much needed elbow room for our long suffering native plants. Your handiwork will be rewarded when you see that sunshine, rain and nutrients are helping to re-invigorate the forest floor with a carpet of ferns and native flowers that provide food and shelter for the valley’s native and migrating animals.

 

FRIENDS OF LOST RIVER is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The organization is committed to environmental education, community building, and natural resource preservation. Lost River Cave has been visited by travelers from all over the world who come to experience Kentucky’s Only Underground Boat Tour.