As anniversary dates approach, officials hope to ensure park’s continued vitality
With thousands of visitors each year and millions of dollars in economic impact, Mammoth Cave National Park plays a big role in the economic vitality of the region.
Park administrators want to make sure that continues and are seeking public input for a foundation document about the park’s future.
“This is the very beginning of putting together a general management plan,” Superintendent Sarah Craighead said. “We are really revisiting the mission of the park – what are the stories that we should be telling the American public? What are the threats and what are the opportunities? What this is not is an implementation or an action plan. It may suggest future planning that we might need to do. For instance, someone in saying the conservation corps buildings are important and need care may spur us to remember to do planning about how to care for them.”
Craighead said the foundation document is a building block of strategic thoughts for plans. All national parks are coming up with the foundation plans in advance of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary in 2016. The same year is also the 75th anniversary of Mammoth Cave National Park and the 200-year anniversary of the cave offering tours to the public. Mammoth Cave was part of a series of show caves in the region before becoming a national park.
Cave administrators are asking the public to help formulate the plan. They are asking:
•What is most important about Mammoth Cave National Park?
•What should the American people know about Mammoth Cave National Park? What are its most important stories?
•What are the greatest threats to Mammoth Cave National Park?
•What opportunities for visitor experiences, recreation, or resource protection efforts would you like to see at Mammoth Cave National Park?
So far, no one has commented for the document.
“Typically what we will find is that people will look at the questions and consider them for a few days before making any comments,” Craighead said. “Generally, when we look at public comments, we will categorize them into (those that) are pertinent to this plan, and we can look at them in context. And others … we might hold onto them for future action plans.
“We are looking for anybody’s thoughts on this,” she said. “And we are more than happy to have as many comments as possible.”
Written comments may be submitted until July 29 through the NPS planning website at parkplanning.nps.gov/MACA.