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Program 1010

Mammoth Cave/Green River Watershed
Season 10 Menu

Kentucky’s Last Great Places | Introduction | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Edmonson County

For more information:
Mammoth Cave National Park, P.O. Box 7, Mammoth Cave, KY 42259, (270) 758-2180
About the Green River from the Nature Conservancy

Mammoth Cave/Green River Watershed

We all know that Mammoth Cave is a “great place.” With more than 350 miles of passageways mapped (and possibly hundreds more still to go), it’s the world’s largest cave system. It’s a national park and one of Kentucky’s top tourist attractions. And it has been designated both a World Heritage Site—along with such natural and cultural resources as the Great Barrier Reef, the Taj Mahal, and the Egyptian pyramids—and an International Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.

But the subterranean wonders are not all that make this area special. The karst topography of the region, where rain and groundwater interact with underlying limestone, has created thousands of caves and sinkholes and a wide range of surface features. And the protection afforded by the national park has allowed an amazing variety of plants and animals to flourish—including 71 different mussels and more than 150 species of fish. The watershed of the Green River, which flows through the middle of the park, is one of the top five surface water systems in the United States in terms of species diversity. That biological richness makes it one of the top priorities for the Kentucky Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, which is working to protect as much of the 1,350-square-mile watershed as possible.

Richie Kessler of the Nature Conservancy serves as our guide to the Green River region. As he and Dave (a native of the region) explore Edmonson, Green, and Hart counties, they visit Three Hundred Springs, where water gushes from the ground and 100-foot waterfalls tumble into the Green; Hundred Acre Pond, an unusual wetland created by a sinkhole that no longer has a drainage outlet; and a large sinkhole with a cave entrance and underground stream. They also canoe along the river and seine for mussels, and Dave gets in a little fishing.

Kentucky Life Program 417 includes a segment on the wildflowers of Mammoth Cave National Park.

Kentucky’s Last Great Places | Introduction | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

SEASON 10 PROGRAMS: 1001100210031004100510061007
100810091010: Kentucky’s Last Great Places1011101210131014

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