Western Kentucky University

Crumps Cave Research & Educational Preserve

Crumps Cave Research & Educational Preserve

The Crumps Cave Research and Education Preserve is located approximately 25 miles northeast of the Western Kentucky University campus near the town of Smiths Grove, KY. The preserve protects the entrance to a two-kilometer-long cave system known for its large passageways and significant archaeological deposits. In 2008, the Hoffman Environmental Research Institute applied for a grant from the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund to purchase the property, then known as Cave Spring Caverns, from a private landowner. The Institute received the grant and took ownership of the 2.1 acre preserve in October of 2008.

Since acquisition, numerous inventories have been conducted at the preserve to identify and document the floral, faunal, archaeological, and biospeleological resources located in and around the cave. A world-class research facility has been established at the cave, which allows for examining epikarstic processes and the impacts of agricultural activities on the quality of karst groundwater partially through USDA funding. An extensive monitoring network has been established both in and outside of the cave to measure atmospheric/weather conditions, water chemistry parameters, cave microclimate, and bat activity.

In addition to the ongoing research and monitoring, the Preserve has become a site that provides educational opportunities for students and professionals learning about cave and karst environments. Since the creation of the Crumps Cave Preserve, students from over eight universities have visited the Preserve as participants on field trips. Professionals in the karst hydrology, archaeology, and geology fields of study have also visited the cave in order to study the data collection setup and learn about the ongoing research at the site. Thus, at the Crumps Cave Preserve the Hoffman Institute has created a site unique amongst many universities and research institutions, where cave and karst processes are studied and opportunities for education and outreach are utilized to create a better understanding of the importance of these fragile ecosystems.

Please contact us for more information or to schedule a tour of the Preserve.

 Last Modified 7/22/13