National Cave Day highlights importance of caves to environment, local economies

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Caves have been around for a long, long time, which is why on June 6, National Cave Day is recognized and celebrated across the country.

For thousands of years, people have been fascinated with caves, driven by a desire to explore what lies beneath our feet.

“It’s just adventure for a lot of folks,” said Annie Holt, nature center director at Lost River Cave. “I began caving before I could drive. It was just the adventure idea of there’s a hole in the ground, let’s go see what’s in there!”

Each cave has its own story.

Memories from the past just buried in secluded and dark caverns, waiting to be unearthed.

“It just opens up a part of history that you can’t get from a textbook in a classroom,” said Holt.

“It tells us that we don’t know everything about our past,” added Dave Wyrick, chief of interpretation at Mammoth Cave National Park.

Caves do so much more than just teach us about history, though.

They’re role in the ecosystem is vital to life on this planet.

“They are aquifiers for a groundwater source that provides water for about 25% of the world’s population,” Holt said.

Caves can have a big hand in impacting the economy of small cities, too, bringing in large amounts of visitors to town in places such as Cave City, home to Mammoth Cave, and Bowling Green, home to Lost River Cave.

“They come here, they spend the night,” said Holt. “They’re utilizing our hotels. They’re going to eat in our restaurants.”

These cavernous spaces of darkness and jagged rocks have taught us so much, but there’s still plenty that people can learn from these systems of natural beauty.

“It helps them see that the underground isn’t exactly the same everywhere you go,” Holt said. “There are different things happening.”

Mammoth Cave National Park celebrated National Cave Day with special activities and tours for their guests.

Lost River Cave partnered with the City of Bowling Green for a special, cave-themed trivia game with prizes for the winners.