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Blanchard Caverns celebrates 40 years | Environment

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Blanchard Caverns celebrates 40 years
Blanchard Caverns celebrates 40 years

FIFTY SIX, Ark. -- Blanchard Springs Caverns, located on the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest will celebrate its 40th Anniversary this year. The public is invited to the anniversary celebration on June 15, 2013, in Fifty Six, Arkansas. The Celebration will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Amphitheater near the Caverns.  Invited speakers include Acting Deputy Regional Forester Mike Balboni; State Senator Missy Thomas Irvin, and other local dignitaries.

Following the 10:30 a.m. event, the public is invited to a day of activities for all ages, including lunch, games, music by The Leatherwoods, Cross-Saw demonstrations, and much more. 

In addition to the June 15 Celebration, Blanchard Springs Caverns will host β€œ40 days of Blanchard,” beginning May 29 through July 7, 2013. These 40 days will focus on topics including Stone County Day; Natural Resources Week; photo and poster contests; walking/running events; and many more. For a complete listing of activities planned, visit www.fs.usda.gov/osfnf.

β€œThe 40th anniversary of the Blanchard Springs Caverns is a great opportunity to acknowledge our past achievements and to recognize the contributions the caverns have made, not only to the local community, but to Arkansas in general. It is not just a commemoration, but recognition of 40 years of conservation leadership and sustained operation of Blanchard Springs Caverns,” said Sylamore District Ranger Jim McCoy. 

Blanchard Springs Caverns, located in Stone County, approximately 2 miles off Highway 14 near Mountain View, Arkansas, has been offering one of the most spectacular and carefully developed caves in the United States since it opened on July 7, 1973.  Visitors enter a "living" cave where glistening stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and flowstones are still changing.  These crystalline formations are the result of minerals deposited by dripping water. 

The Caverns consist of a three-level cave system, two of which are open for guided tours by Forest Service employees.

  • Dripstone Trail - This half-mile trail offers a shorter, easier way through the caverns. Stairs can be avoided, making trails accessible for wheelchairs and strollers with an assistant.
  • Discovery Trail - The longer, more strenuous of the trails (1.2 miles with nearly 700 stairs) explores the middle level of the Caverns system. 
  • The newest of the Caverns tours, the Wild Cave Tour takes visitors to the undeveloped sections of the middle level, and offers an introduction to off trail caving in a structured environment.  This tour is available by reservation only.  The minimum age for this tour is 12 years of age. 

For additional information, contact Blanchard Springs Caverns at 870. 757.2211 or visit the web at fs.usda.gov/osfnf.