Indiana Caverns Takes Visitors Back to the Ice Age

Indiana CavernsOn the south side of Corydon, Ind., in Harrison County, an extensive cave system lies beneath the rural landscape. The area’s longest system, the Binkley Cave System, will open to the public for the first time next spring, thanks to cave explorer Gary Roberson and his friends. Roberson and his team are developing the cave’s first man-made entrance to offer show tours as Indiana Caverns. Prior to now, Binkley Cave was only accessible to those owning land with private entrances.

At approximately 35 miles, the Binkley Cave System is the 11th longest in the U.S. and one of the 50 longest caves in the world. With 21 different species of animal life, Binkley Cave has also been designated a biodiverse hotspot, making it one of four caves in the country on the list.

Indiana CavernsRoberson says that Indiana Caverns, discovered just two years ago, has a lot of character. Visitors will enjoy beautiful water features, including a 30-ft. waterfall, an underground boat ride, interesting formations and Big Bone Mountain.

Explorers discovered Big Bone Mountain after traveling four hours through the cave from a private entrance. Here, they found a collection of bones from the Ice Age in a dome-shaped structure where animals may have fallen in or gotten pushed through and were unable to exit. The animal remains appear to be from bears, birds, bison and peccaries. After touring the cave with a paleontologist, Roberson says it was determined that Indiana Caverns could end up being one of the best bone caves in the country.

Indiana Caverns is significant to the Kix region for many reasons. “Showcaves are educational and recreational, and they are good family entertainment. You may not go four times a year, but you go repeatedly over a lifetime – on school field trips as a child and with your children and grandchildren as an adult,” said Roberson. He added, “These days, kids are taught to be environmentally sensitive, and caves are an important part of the ecosystem.”

Indiana Caverns During their exploration, Roberson and his team discovered a sinkhole that had been bridged over by trash. When it rained, contaminated run-off would travel to nearby rivers, springs and creeks. The Indiana Caverns crew was able to dig out the sinkhole and do their part to clean up the environment.

Roberson, originally from New Albany, Ind., began exploring caves at the age of 11 as a Boy Scout. While attending Vanderbilt University, he contacted an Indiana landowner who allowed him to begin mapping Binkley Cave from a private entrance more than 40 years ago.

Indiana Caverns is expected to open on April 15, 2013. There are some 4,000 known caves in Indiana.