HENDERSON, Ky (WEHT) – Two members of Congress are looking to expand a local national park, expecting multiple impacts with it.

Congressman Brett Guthrie (KY-02) and U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced the Mammoth Cave National Park Boundary Adjustment Act in the House and Senate, respectively.

Officials say this bill would expand the park to protect wildlife, preserve cultural heritage and bring more tourism.

Some background includes:

  • Authorizing 980 acres of land expansion that includes the Green River watershed
  • This southern boundary expansion specifically includes the coordinates 135/177, 967 in Edmonson and Barren Counties
  • Allowing the Mammoth Cave National Park Service to acquire habitat land owned by The Nature Conservancy
  • Numerous cave passages, including Coach Cave and James Cave that have prehistoric and historic artifacts that the National Park System can conserve and manage
  • Tourism to Mammoth Cave National Park created $69.2 million in economic benefits in 2021 and expansion of the land is expected to increase its economic impact on the community

Guthrie says putting the cultural heritage artifacts and habitats under the care of the Mammoth Cave National Park Service prompted the introduction of the bill.

“As the world’s longest known cave system full of biodiversity and history, Mammoth Cave National Park is not only a treasure to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, but also a treasure to the rest of the world,” he said. “I’m proud to partner with Leader McConnell on this effort to expand Mammoth Cave National Park for National Park Service employees and volunteers to conserve and people to enjoy for generations to come.”

McConnell says the park plays a crucial role in the region’s economic growth and is proud to partner with Guthrie to protect the habitats that the National Park Service protects and preserves.