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Plan Now to Attend "Roots in the Cave" at Mammoth Cave National Park


The late cave explorer Edmund Turner is credited with discovering the Great Onyx Cave at Mammoth Cave National Park. NPS photo.

Mark your calendars to attend the annual Roots in the Cave seminar at Mammoth Cave National Park, where this year's program looks at turn-of-the-20th-century cave explorer Edmund Turner.

The program, set for November 12-13, will focus on the exploits of Mr. Turner, who is credited with the discovery of Great Onyx Cave, only to die penniless and was buried in a pauper’s grave at the Mammoth Cave Baptist Cemetery on Flint Ridge. Roots in the Cave is sponsored by the Mammoth Cave Hotel and Mammoth Cave National Park.

“Roots in the Cave is an annual fall event that explores the family histories and lore of those people who once lived on what is now parkland,” said Superintendent Patrick Reed. “Mammoth Cave became a national park in 1941, but before that time this land held 600 farms and 30 communities. Roots in the Cave pulls descendents together to share stories and research.”

Greg Davis, the hotel manager, said one of the highlights of this year's program will be to "place a headstone on Edmund Turner’s long neglected grave."

“Other events and discussions will bring to light pieces of Turner’s life story, such as he explored Salts Cave accompanied by young Floyd Collins. Turner was an expert caver who has received little recognition," said Mr. Davis.

To register for Roots in the Cave activities contact the Mammoth Cave Hotel at 270-758-2225. Registration is $20 per person; all proceeds will be applied to the cost of Turner’s headstone.

Activities for registered participants include: A panel discussion on Edmund Turner by Roger Brucker and Norman Warnell; a guided walk to Stephen Bishop’s homeplace; unveiling of the Turner headstone; and a tour of Great Onyx Cave (limited to 40 people). A genealogy display in the Rotunda Room on November 12-13 will be open to the public.

For hotel reservations call 270- 758-2225; rooms are $49.00 single or double.

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