The National Mall is a national park in downtown Washington, D. C. the capital of the United States. The National Park Service administers the National Mall, which is part of its National Mall, a smaller designation, sometimes referred to as the Mall proper, excludes both the Capitol grounds and the Washington Monument grounds, applying only to an area between them. The National Mall contains a number of museums and memorials and receives approximately 24 million visitors each year, in his 1791 plan for the future city of Washington, D. C. The National Mall occupies the site of this grand avenue. The Washington Monument stands near the site of its namesakes equestrian statue. Mathew Careys 1802 map is reported to be the first to name the area west of the United States Capitol as the Mall, during the early 1850s, architect and horticulturist Andrew Jackson Downing designed a landscape plan for the Mall. Over the next century, federal agencies developed several naturalistic parks within the Mall in accordance with Downings plan.
Two such areas were Henry Park and Seaton Park, in addition, railroad tracks crossed the Mall on 6th Street, west of the Capitol. Near the tracks, a market and a railroad station rose on the north side of the Mall. Greenhouses belonging to the U. S. Botanic Garden appeared near the east end of the Mall, the plan differed from LEnfants by replacing the 400 feet wide grand avenue with a 300 feet wide vista containing a long and broad expanse of grass. Four rows of American elm trees planted fifty feet apart between two paths or streets would line each side of the vista. Buildings housing cultural and educational institutions constructed in the Beaux-Arts style would line each outer path or street, on the opposite side of the path or street from the elms. In subsequent years, the vision of the McMillan plan was followed with the planting of American elms. In accordance with a plan that it completed in 1976, the NPS converted the two innermost boulevards into gravel walking paths, the two outermost boulevards remain paved and open to vehicular traffic.
Although the Navy intended the buildings to provide quarters for the United States military during World War I. Much of the area became Constitution Gardens, which was dedicated in 1976. From the 1970s to 1994, a model of a triceratops named Uncle Beazley stood on the Mall in front of the National Museum of Natural History. The life-size statue, which is now located at the National Zoological Park in Northwest Washington, in 2003, the 108th United States Congress enacted the Commemorative Works Clarification and Revision Act
Lowell National Historical Park
Lowell National Historical Park is a National Historical Park of the United States located in Lowell, Massachusetts. In 2019, the park is scheduled to be included as Massachusetts representative in the America the Beautiful Quarters series, unlike many other mill towns, Lowells manufacturing facilities were built based on a planned community design. Specifically Lowell was planned as reaction to the communities in Great Britain. Lowell attracted both immigrants from abroad and migrants from within New England and Quebec who lived in the dormitories, the textile industry in New England experienced a sharp decline after World War II and by the 1960s, many of the Lowells textile mill buildings were abandoned. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, several important forces came together from which emerged the Lowell National Historical Park, together these circles of interest became a collaborating force led by United States Senator and Lowell native Paul Tsongas to enact legislation for a national park.
In 1978, the United States Congress established the Lowell National Historical Park, the Lowell Historic Preservation District, and the Lowell Historic Preservation Commission. The visitor center provides a free self-guided tour of the history of Lowell, a footpath along the Merrimack Canal from the visitor center is lined with plaques describing the importance of various existing and former sites along the canal. The Boott Mills along the Merrimack River, on the Eastern Canal, is the most fully restored manufacturing site in the district, the Boott Mill provides a walk-through museum with living recreations of the textile manufacturing process in the 19th century. The walking tour includes a detour to a memorial to local author Jack Kerouac, a walkway along the river leads to several additional unrestored mill sites, providing views of restored and unrestored canal raceways once used by the mills. Additionally, the park includes the Patrick J Mogan Cultural Center, which focuses on the lives of Lowells many generations of immigrants
Shiloh National Military Park
Shiloh National Military Park preserves the American Civil War Shiloh and Corinth battlefields. The Battle of Shiloh began a struggle for the key railroad junction at Corinth. Afterward, Union forces marched from Pittsburg Landing to take Corinth in a May siege, the Battle of Shiloh was one of the first major battles in the Western Theater of the American Civil War. The two-day battle, April 6 and April 7,1862, involved about 65,000 Union troops under Ulysses S. Grant and Don Carlos Buell and 44,000 Confederates under Albert Sidney Johnston and P. G. T. The battle resulted in nearly 24,000 killed, the two days of fighting did not end in a decisive tactical victory for either side —the Union held the battlefield but failed to pursue the withdrawing Confederate forces. However, it was a strategic defeat for the Confederate forces that had massed to oppose Grants. The battlefield is named after Shiloh Methodist Church, a log church near Pittsburg Landing. Pittsburgh Landing is the point on the Tennessee River where the Union Forces Landed for the Battle, after the Battle of Shiloh, the Union forces proceeded to capture Corinth and the critical railroad junction there.
On September 22,2000, sites associated with the Corinth battlefield were added to the park, the Siege and Battle of Corinth Sites was designated a National Historic Landmark on May 6,1991. Shiloh Military Park Landmarks Total area,3,996.64 acres Federal area,3,941.64 acres Nonfederal area,55 acres The Shiloh National Military Park was established on December 27,1894. In 1904, Basil Wilson Duke was appointed commissioner of Shiloh National Military Park by President Theodore Roosevelt, the park was transferred from the War Department to the National Park Service on August 10,1933. As with all historic areas administered by the National Park Service, the National Park Travelers Club held its 2013 convention at Shiloh. Shiloh National Cemetery is in the northeast corner of the adjacent to the visitor center. Buried within its 20.09 acres are 3584 Union dead, there are two Confederate dead interred in the cemetery. The cemetery operations were transferred from War Department to the National Park Service in 1933, the Shiloh battlefield has within its boundaries the well preserved prehistoric Shiloh Indian Mounds Site, which is a National Historic Landmark.
The site was inhabited during the Early Mississippian period from about 1000 to 1450 CE, memphis and Charleston Railroad List of Mississippian sites The National Parks, Index 2001-2003. Washington, U. S. Department of the Interior. S, geological Survey Geographic Names Information System, Shiloh National Military Park Shiloh National Military Park at Find a Grave
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park is a national park in the southern Sierra Nevada east of Visalia, California, in the United States. It was established on September 25,1890, the park is south of and contiguous with Kings Canyon National Park, the two are administered by the National Park Service together as the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. They were designated the UNESCO Sequoia-Kings Canyon Biosphere Reserve in 1976, the park is famous for its giant sequoia trees, including the General Sherman tree, the largest tree on Earth. The General Sherman tree grows in the Giant Forest, which five out of the ten largest trees in the world. The Giant Forest is connected by the Generals Highway to Kings Canyon National Parks General Grant Grove, the parks giant sequoia forests are part of 202,430 acres of old-growth forests shared by Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Indeed, the preserve a landscape that still resembles the southern Sierra Nevada before Euro-American settlement. Many park visitors enter Sequoia National Park through its entrance near the town of Three Rivers at Ash Mountain at 1,700 ft elevation.
The last California grizzly was killed in this park in 1922, the California Black Oak is a key transition species between the chaparral and higher elevation conifer forest. At higher elevations in the front country, between 5,500 and 9,000 feet in elevation, the landscape becomes montane forest-dominated coniferous belt, found here are Ponderosa, Jeffrey and lodgepole pine trees, as well as abundant white and red fir. Found here too are the giant sequoia trees, the most massive living single-stem trees on earth, between the trees and summer snowmelts sometimes fan out to form lush, though delicate, meadows. In this region, visitors often see deer, Douglas squirrels, and American black bears. There are plans to reintroduce the bighorn sheep to this park, the vast majority of the park is roadless wilderness, no road crosses the Sierra Nevada within the parks boundaries. 84 percent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is designated wilderness and is only by foot or by horseback. Sequoias backcountry offers a vast expanse of high-alpine wonders, covering the highest-elevation region of the High Sierra, the backcountry includes Mount Whitney on the eastern border of the park, accessible from the Giant Forest via the High Sierra Trail.
On the floor of canyon, at least two days hike from the nearest road, is the Kern Canyon hot spring, a popular resting point for weary backpackers. From the floor of Kern Canyon, the trail ascends again over 8,000 ft to the summit of Mount Whitney, in the summertime, Native Americans would travel over the high mountain passes to trade with tribes to the East. By the time the first European settlers arrived in the area, smallpox had spread to the region. The first European settler to homestead in the area was Hale Tharp, Tharp allowed his cattle to graze the meadow, but at the same time had a respect for the grandeur of the forest and led early battles against logging in the area
Independence National Historical Park
Independence National Historical Park is a United States National Park in Philadelphia that preserves several sites associated with the American Revolution and the nations founding history. Administered by the National Park Service, the 55-acre park comprises much of Philadelphias most-visited historic district, Independence Hall was the principal meetinghouse of the Second Continental Congress from 1775 to 1783 and the Constitutional Convention in the summer of 1787. Across the street from Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, a symbol of American independence, is displayed in the Liberty Bell Center. Carpenters Hall, the site of the First Continental Congress, is located on Park property as well and it contains City Tavern, a recreated colonial tavern, which was the favorite of the delegates, and John Adams felt was the finest tavern in all America. Most of the historic structures are located in the vicinity of the four landscaped blocks between Chestnut, Walnut, 2nd, and 6th streets. The park contains Franklin Court, the site of a dedicated to Benjamin Franklin.
The park contains historical artifacts, such as the Syng inkstand which was used during the signings of both the Declaration and the Constitution. The park can be reached by taking SEPTAs Market-Frankford Line to the 5th street station, the convention organized a pact among the colonies to boycott British goods starting December 1,1774 and provided for a Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia. On May 10,1775, the Second Continental Congress assembled at the Pennsylvania State House after the Battles of Lexington, Congress adopted the Olive Branch Petition in July 1775, which affirmed American loyalty to Great Britain and entreated King George III to prevent further conflict. The petition was rejected—in August 1775, the Kings Proclamation of Rebellion formally declared the colonies to be in a state of rebellion. In February 1776, colonists received news that Parliament passed the Prohibitory Act, Congress unanimously adopted its final version of the Declaration on July 4, marking the formation of the United States of America.
Historians believe that the Old State House Bell, now known as the Liberty Bell, was one of the bells rung to mark the reading of the Declaration on July 8. After 1781, the government operated under the Articles of Confederation. This resulted in the Philadelphia Convention, which met from May 14 to September 17,1787 at the Pennsylvania State House, the Convention was dominated by controversies and conflicting interests, but the delegates forged a Constitution that has been called a bundle of compromises. At the convention, delegate James Madison presented the Virginia Plan, large states supported this plan, but smaller states feared losing substantial power under the plan. Roger Sherman combined the two plans with the Connecticut Compromise, and his measure passed on July 16,1787 by seven to six—a margin of one vote, other contentious issues were slavery and the federal regulation of commerce, which resulted in additional compromises. The Residence Act of 1790 empowered President George Washington to locate a permanent capital along the Potomac River, robert Morris, a representative from Pennsylvania, convinced Congress to designate Philadelphia as the temporary capital city of the United States federal government.
From December 6,1790 to May 14,1800, the same block hosted federal, county, Congress Hall, which was originally built to serve as the Philadelphia County Courthouse, served as the seat of the United States Congress
Rocky Mountain National Park
The park is situated between the towns of Estes Park to the east and Grand Lake to the west. The eastern and westerns slopes of the Continental Divide run directly through the center of the park with the headwaters of the Colorado River located in the northwestern region. The main features of the park include mountains, alpine lakes, the Rocky Mountain National Park Act was signed by then–President Woodrow Wilson on January 26,1915, establishing the park boundaries and protecting the area for future generations. The Civilian Conservation Corps built the main route, named Trail Ridge Road. In 1976, UNESCO designated the park as one of the first World Biosphere Reserves, in 2016, more than four and a half million recreational visitors entered the park, which is an increase of about nine percent from the prior year. The history of Rocky Mountain National Park began when Paleo-Indians traveled along what is now Trail Ridge Road to hunt and Arapaho people subsequently hunted and camped in the area.
In 1820, the Long Expedition, led by Stephen H. Long for whom Longs Peak was named, approached the Rockies via the Platte River. Settlers began arriving in the mid-1800s, displacing the Native Americans who mostly left the area voluntarily by 1860, lulu City and Gaskill in the Never Summer Mountains were established in the 1870s when prospectors came in search of gold and silver. The boom ended by 1883 with miners deserting their claims, the railroad reached Lyons, Colorado in 1881 and the Big Thompson Canyon Road—a section of U. S. Route 34 from Loveland to Estes Park—was completed in 1904. The 1920s saw a boom in building lodges and roads in the park, prominent individuals in the effort to create a national park included Enos Mills from the Estes Park area, James Grafton Rogers from Denver, and J. Horace McFarland of Pennsylvania. The national park was established on January 26,1915, Precambrian metamorphic rock formed the core of the North American continent during the Precambrian eon 4. 5–1 billion years ago.
During the Paleozoic era, western North America was submerged beneath a sea, with a seabed composed of limestone. Concurrently, in the period from 500–300 million years ago, the region began to sink while lime, eroded granite produced sand particles that formed strata—layers of sediment—in the sinking basin. About 300 million years ago, the land was uplifted creating the ancestral Rocky Mountains, fountain Formation was deposited during the Pennsylvanian period of the Paleozoic era, 290–296 million years ago. Over the next 150 million years, the uplifted, continued to erode. Wind, rainwater and glacial ice eroded the mountains over geologic time scales. The Ancestral Rockies were eventually buried under subsequent strata, the Pierre Shale formation was deposited during the Paleogene and Cretaceous periods about 70 million years ago. The region was covered by a deep sea—the Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway—which deposited massive amounts of shale on the seabed
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is a 70,000 acres protected area designated a National Recreation Area administered by the U. S. Department of the Interiors National Park Service. This section of the river is the core of the historical Minisink region, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area was established in 1978 after the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers transferred condemned lands along the Delaware River to the National Park Service. It scuttled controversial plans to build a dam and reservoir along the Delaware near Tocks Island. This project would have established a large lake 37-mile long after flooding the valley, the surrounding land was to be organized as the Tocks Island National Recreation Area. These plans encountered resistance from environmental activists, embittered residents displaced after their property was confiscated by eminent domain. After the costly Vietnam War, government appropriations for the project dwindled in the face of opposition, in addition, a geological safety assessment revealed the dam would be built too close to nearby active fault lines.
The recreation area includes parts of Sussex and Warren counties in New Jersey, and Monroe, the Appalachian Trail runs along much of the eastern boundary of the park and is maintained and updated by the New York - New Jersey Trail Conference. The park has significant Native American archaeological sites, in addition, a number of structures remain from early Dutch settlement during the colonial period. Outdoor recreational activities include canoeing, camping, cycling, cross-country skiing, horseback riding and hunting are permitted in season with valid state licenses. The Delaware River is prone to floods—some resulting from snow melt or rain run-off from heavy rainstorms. However, record flooding occurred in August 1955 in the aftermath of two hurricanes that passed over the area within the span of one week. On 19 August 1955, the gauge at Riegelsville, Pennsylvania recorded that the Delaware River reached a crest of 38.85 feet above flood stage. A project to dam the river near Tocks Island was in the works before the 1955 floods, but several deaths and severe damages resulting from these floods brought the issue of flood control to the national level.
The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed the construction of the dam, in addition to flood control and recreation, the dam would be used to generate hydroelectric power and provide a clean water supply to New York City and Philadelphia. Starting in 1960, the area of the Recreation Area was acquired for the Army Corps of Engineers through eminent domain. Approximately 15,000 people were displaced by the condemnation of property along the Delaware River. An estimated 3,000 to 5,000 dwellings and outbuildings were demolished in preparation for the dam project and this included many irreplaceable historical sites and structures connected with the valleys Native American and colonial heritage. The plan was embroiled in controversy and engendered strong opposition by environmental groups and it transferred the property to the National Park Service in 1978
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park is a national historical park operated by the National Park Service that seeks to commemorate the Klondike Gold Rush of the late 1890s. Though the gold fields that were the goal of the stampeders lay in the Yukon Territory, the park comprises staging areas for the trek there. There are four units, including three in Municipality of Skagway Borough, Alaska and a fourth in the Pioneer Square National Historic District in Seattle, a fuller appreciation of the story of the Klondike Gold Rush requires exploration and discovery on both sides of the Canada–United States border. National historic sites in Whitehorse and Dawson City, Yukon, as well as in British Columbia, the visitor center in Skagway is located in railroad depot building at Second and Broadway and is a good place to begin tours either led by a ranger or self-guided. Junior rangers can plan their activities further and earn their badges further up Broadway at the Pantheon Saloon, White Pass & Yukon Route Railway Broadway Depot.
Now serving as the parks Visitors Center and Headquarters, the depot was the first building the railway built for this purpose, the structure served this purpose at least until the 1950s. However, together with the administration building and the railway itself. It was the only railway in the United States taken over for this purpose. The building was transferred to NPS in 1976 with restoration completed in 1984, White Pass & Yukon Route Railway Administration Building. The bottom floor houses the museum while additional park offices are located upstairs. Located next to the depot, the Daily Alaskan noted during the year of its completion in its May 3,1900 edition that it the headquarters was by far the finest wooden structure in the city. As with the depot, it was vacated in 1969, transferred to NPS in 1976, the building serves as the NPS and Parks Canada Trail Center, and is one of the first structures visitors to the park arriving by ship see. Originally it stood on piers by the wharf, completed in 1902, in 1922, it was sold to Martin Itjen who had learned to profit from the summer tourist trade by greeting passers-by and selling tours of the towns attractions.
Relocation of railway tracks in 1946 isolated the house, which after two intermediate moves ended up on Sixth, NPS acquired the structure in 1978, moving it to its current position 300 feet west of its original location. Restoration was completed in 1991 to return the home to the 1921-1941 period, the building was most famously used as a base of operations by con man and outlaw Jefferson Soapy Smith who ended up in Alaska by way of Denver. He and his gang defrauded and tricked miners for only three months before Smith was shot to death in spectacular fashion on the Skagway wharf, Martin Itjen bought the saloon in 1922, and outfitted it as a museum with animatronic figures of Soapy Smith and his associates. Even after selling it in 1950, the museum remained in operation until 1986, donated to NPS in 2007, the building was refurbished to its old glory as it would have been seen by visitors back in 1967, and reopened in April 2016. Verbauwhedes Cigar Store and Cribs, a gunsmith, gas station and travel agency occupied the premises at one time or another through 1977 when NPS purchased the buildings
El Malpais National Monument
El Malpais National Monument is a National Monument located in western New Mexico, in the Southwestern United States. The name El Malpais is from the Spanish term Malpaís, meaning badlands, due to the extremely barren and it is on the Trails of the Ancients Byway, one of the designated New Mexico Scenic Byways. The lava flows, cinder cones, and other features of El Malpais are part of the Zuni-Bandera volcanic field. This volcanically active area on the southeast margin of the Colorado Plateau is at the intersection of the Rio Grande Rift Basin, with its deep normal faulting, and these two features provide the crustal weaknesses that recent magmatic intrusions and Cenozoic volcanism are attributed to. Taylor to the north, and the Zuni Mountain anticline to the northwest, some of the oldest Douglas Fir trees on earth, of the Pseudotsuga subspecies Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir, can be found living in El Malpais Monument. The area around El Malpais was used for resources and travel by Oasisamerica cultures, Native Americans, archaeological sites remain in the park.
The Department of Defense did use the site as a range to train pilots during World War II. After the war, the Bureau of Land Management became the administrator of the area, in 1987, President Reagan created El Malpais National Monument and designated it a unit of the National Park Service. It is jointly managed with the nearby El Morro National Monument, El Malpais has many lava tube caves open to explore with a free caving permit, available at NPS-staffed facilities. There are currently four caves accessible by permit and Xenolith caves in the El Caldron area, a nearby scenic overlook at Sandstone Bluffs offers spectacular panoramic views over the monuments lava flows. The U. S. National Park Service protects and they operate two Visitor Centers with natural history displays, literature and staff with helpful information. El Malpais Visitor Center is just south of Exit 85 off I-40 in Grants, the El Malpais Information Center is 28 miles down Highway 53 south of I-40 Exit 81. The adjacent El Malpais National Conservation Area is protected and managed by the U. S.
Bureau of Land Management and they staff the El Malpais National Conservation Area Ranger Station 8 miles down State Highway 117 south of I-40 Exit 89. The Cibola National Forest conserves large natural areas, the second portion of the book Brave New World by Aldous Huxley takes place on the savage reservation, which is located on land encompassing the parks area. The malpais is the setting for a story, Flint by Louis LAmour. Flint is a business man who thinks he is dying of cancer. A scene in Cormac McCarthys novel Blood Meridian takes place on the malpais, the Volcanic Eruptions of El Malpais, A Guide to the Volcanic History and Formations of El Malpais National Monument. BLM, El Malpais National Conservation Area website Offbeat New Mexico – El Malpais TopoQuest USGS Quad Map
Chamizal National Memorial
The 54. 90-acre memorial park serves primarily as a cultural center and contains art galleries, a theater, and an amphitheatre. A museum, which details the history of the U. S. –Mexico border, is located inside the visitor center, the National Memorial was authorized on June 30,1966. It was established as a National Park Service unit on February 4,1974, fees and permits required to use the theater. Fees for picnic facilities for groups of 50 or more, Park grounds,5 a. m. -10 p. m. daily. Closed Thanksgiving and New Years Day, visitors center and galleries open 10 a. m. -5 p. m. Administration office open 8 a. m. -4,30 p. m, National Register of Historic Places listings in El Paso County, Texas Official NPS website, Chamizal National Memorial NPS image archive
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a United States National Lakeshore located along the northwest coast of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan in Leelanau and Benzie counties near Empire, Michigan. The park covers a 35-mile-long stretch of Lake Michigans eastern coastline and this Northern Michigan park was established primarily because of its outstanding natural features, including forests, dune formations, and ancient glacial phenomena. The lakeshore contains many features including the 1871 South Manitou Island Lighthouse. In 2011, the won the title of The Most Beautiful Place in America from Good Morning America. In 2014, a section of the park was named the Sleeping Bear Dunes Wilderness by the United States Congress, the park was authorized on October 21,1970. The parks creation was controversial because it involved the transfer of private property to public. The federal governments stance at the time was that the Great Lakes were the third coast and had to be preserved much like Cape Hatteras or Big Sur, which are National Seashores.
The residents living in what is now Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake shore believed they were stewards of the land and did not want it to be overrun by tourists. The government eventually won out in part by supporting the schools to offset the lost property tax revenue. The park is named after an Ojibwe legend of the sleeping bear, according to the legend, an enormous forest fire on the western shore of Lake Michigan drove a mother bear and her two cubs into the lake for shelter, determined to reach the opposite shore. After many miles of swimming, the two cubs lagged behind, when the mother bear reached the shore, she waited on the top of a high bluff. The exhausted cubs drowned in the lake, but the mother stayed and waited in hopes that her cubs would finally appear. The bear was a small tree-covered knoll at the top edge of the bluff that and erosion have caused the bear to be greatly reduced in size over the years. In 2014,32,500 acres of the park were designated as the Sleeping Bear Dunes Wilderness by the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Conservation and Recreation Act.
This was the first wilderness protection bill to be passed by the United States Congress in five years, Glen Haven existed as a company town from 1865 to 1931. Originally, a dock for Glen Arbor, the site became a fuel supply point for ships traveling up. Here Charles McCarty decided to open his own business and built a dock to supply the ships with wood, in 1863, McCarty built the Sleeping Bear House. It was expanded a few years to accommodate travelers, in 1928, it was remodeled into the inn for summer vacationers
Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave National Park is a U. S. national park in central Kentucky, encompassing portions of Mammoth Cave, the longest cave system known in the world. Since the 1972 unification of Mammoth Cave with the system under Flint Ridge to the north. The park was established as a park on July 1,1941. It became a World Heritage Site on October 27,1981, the parks 52,830 acres are located primarily in Edmonson County, with small areas extending eastward into Hart County and Barren County. It is centered on the Green River, with a tributary, with 405 miles of surveyed passageways Mammoth Cave is by far the worlds longest known cave system, being over twice as long as the second-longest cave system, Mexicos Sac Actun underwater cave. Mammoth Cave developed in thick Mississippian-aged limestone strata capped by a layer of sandstone and it is known to include more than 390 miles of passageway, new discoveries and connections add several miles to this figure each year. Mammoth Cave National Park was established to preserve the cave system, the epikarstic zone concentrates local flows of runoff into high-elevation springs which emerge at the edges of ridges.
It is in underlying massive limestone layers that the human-explorable caves of the region have naturally developed. The limestone layers of the column beneath the Big Clifty, in increasing order of depth below the ridgetops, are the Girkin Formation. Genevieve Limestone, and the St. Louis Limestone, for example, the large Main Cave passage seen on the Historic Tour is located at the bottom of the Girkin and the top of the Ste. Each of the layers of limestone is divided further into named geological units and subunits. One area of research involves correlating the stratigraphy with the cave survey produced by explorers. This makes it possible to produce approximate three-dimensional maps of the contours of the layer boundaries without the necessity for test wells. The upper sandstone caprock is relatively hard for water to penetrate, the sandstone caprock layer has been dissolved and eroded at many locations within the park, such as the Frozen Niagara room. At one valley bottom in the region of the park.
Known as Cedar Sink, the features a small river entering one side. Mammoth Cave is home to the endangered Kentucky cave shrimp, a sightless albino shrimp, the National Park Service offers several cave tours to visitors. Some notable features of the cave, such as Grand Avenue, Frozen Niagara, two tours, lit only by visitor-carried paraffin lamps, are popular alternatives to the electric-lit routes