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What is the Mammoth Cave Biosphere Region?

The Mammoth Cave Biosphere Region is an internationally recognized place where local residents, public and private sector organizations, and technical experts cooperate to maintain thriving communities while conserving our unique natural resources. Led by an Advisory Council, the Biosphere Region strives for clean groundwater for our people and our environment.

Our Purpose
The purpose of the Mammoth Cave Biosphere Region is to promote:

  1. Conservation of water resources and biodiversity,
  2. Sustainable development for healthy people and a healthy economy; and
  3. Education and research – our Biosphere Region is a learning space!

The Biosphere Region is committed to achieving sustainable development in the area around Mammoth Cave National Park to improve the economic and cultural well-being of local people in ways that are compatible with the internationally renowned karst area, particularly with respect to the effects of groundwater pollution.

Our Structure

The Biosphere Region is governed by a 25-member Advisory Council with members from federal, state and local governments, non-profit organizations, community groups, and local universities. Activities are supported by an agreement between Mammoth Cave National Park, the Barren River Area Development District, and Western Kentucky University 

We are organized into three interrelated areas that support our partnerships, known as the core area, the cooperative use area, and the interaction area. The core area (Mammoth Cave National Park) is federally protected and is managed by the National Park Service with the help of partners such as the Friends of Mammoth Cave and the Caveland Environmental Authority.

The cooperative use area is the groundwater recharge area that immediately surrounds much of the national park. Local businesses and tourism groups in the gateway communities of Park City, Cave City, and Horse Cave have an important influence within the cooperative use area.

The interaction area is a broader zone across six counties that is used to promote the common concern for water quality. Business, industry and agriculture are prominent in the economy. Organizations such as the Barren River Area Development District, the US Department of Agriculture, and the Kentucky Department of Transportation provide services in this area and across the Biosphere Region.