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ACCA/American Cave Museum

PostPosted: Nov 27, 2007 6:48 pm
by graveleye
My wife and I just took a trip to Michigan for Thanksgiving, and it has become habit for us to detour through Kentucky on our return trip. A couple of years ago I found a nice hotel in Horse Cave, Kentucky that makes a perfect spot to camp the night. The last time we were there, we looked at the entrance to Hidden River Cave, which is an impressive sinkhole right in the middle of town, and made it a point to return the next trip.

This time, I planned the trip better and contacted them beforehand to see about a wild trip in the cave to make our journey complete. Can't have a real holiday with out a caving trip!!! We worked it out and they agreed to let us go in the cave on Sunday. While we were there, we gladly joined the ACCA and made a donation too.
To make a long story short, they rolled out the welcome mat for us, and Shannon and I got to do something we both always wanted to do - get off trail in a show cave. There was something cool about climbing over the railing and heading off down the passage to see what the tourists don't get to see. I would love to write a long rambling trip report about our trip and how cool Hidden River Cave is, and what a success story it is, but what is really more important is the ACCA and the American Cave Museum. I was truly impressed.

First off, I can't say enough about how friendly and accommodating they were. I could have sat and visited with them all day long if it weren't for the long ride back to Georgia. The museum really is a piece of work too. It occurred to me that the museum, while interesting to cavers, really is an invaluable resource for non-cavers - tourists and common folk. A lot of the theme is education on how important karst management and protection is to not only the caves, but the people that live above them. We've all seen stories about all the many horrendous abuses to caves and cave life, intentional or unintentional, and the museum addresses that, and emphasizes to everyone just how important caves are to everyone living in karst areas. The Hidden River Cave is also part of the museum, and is a perfect, living example of just how vital cave systems are.

I could go on and on, but I'll keep it short and say that I really got the impression that this is a fine organization, and the museum is more than a huge asset for the caving community, and more importantly it's a huge asset for the caves. I really want to extend my gratitude for the hospitality that they showed us during the way-too-short time we were there.

If there are any other ACCA members about, I'd like to hear from you. I would like to get to know the organization better since I am the new guy.


PostPosted: Nov 27, 2007 7:04 pm
by wyandottecaver
dont happen to know who your guides were? I know Chris Clark and Rose from ACCA

PostPosted: Nov 27, 2007 7:19 pm
by graveleye
Chris was our main guy and was just super nice. There was a young lady there too and I think her name was Bonnie, but I can't recall for sure.

PostPosted: Nov 28, 2007 8:46 am
by Komebeaux
I have been a member for many years. I can remember when you could barely walk into Hidden River Cave without the stench choking you up.

Re: ACCA/American Cave Museum

PostPosted: Jan 3, 2008 4:56 pm
by TNCave
I too have recently visited the ACCA headquarters and museum. I was amazed at the interpretive and educational displays. This is the best assemblage of karst education displays I've seen. If you haven't been in a few years, it's definitely worth another look.


Re: ACCA/American Cave Museum

PostPosted: Jan 4, 2008 9:05 am
by graveleye
I really can't say enough for these folks. They were really welcoming to us as cavers, and were just nice and knowledgeable people too. They don't do this for everyone, but they let us go off trail which was a real trip. I've always wanted to just climb over the rail in a commercial cave and keep going and I finally got my wish. Hidden River is a wonderful cave with a lot to offer. I'm looking forward to our next visit up there - I might even take my vacation in Horse Cave this year.

Re: ACCA/American Cave Museum

PostPosted: Jan 4, 2008 3:32 pm
by Scott Parvin
My family and I have been going there for years. We usually spend a few days at Mammoth, including hiking to some of the less well known areas of the Park. We always visit the museum, and try to catch a play at Horse Cave Theater if it's in season. We haven't been in a few years, but I'd love to go back.