The Green River Ferry serves as a river crossing location, river access for canoes and kayaks, boat ramp for fishing boats, and parking area for trail and river users. During periods of low and high water, extended closures of the Green River Ferry create negative impacts which affect local citizens and park staff by presenting safety problems, limiting access to recreational resources, and disrupting frequently used travel routes. In order to alleviate vehicle and congestion, keep the ferry open for longer periods of time during low water, and maintain the safety of visitors and staff, a number of large scale projects will force the closure of the ferry until early spring 2020. Details of the projects are detailed below:
Vehicle Ramp Extension
During the construction project, the Green River Ferry vehicle approach ramps will be extended by 30 ft to reach further into the Green River. This extension will provide better access for vehicles to reach the ferry even on days when river levels are at the lowest.
Ferry Boat Improvements
The park will launch a ferry boat in November 2019 which has been retrofitted to improve safety and operational efficiency of the ferry service. The new boat will sit higher in the water, carry up to 12 tons of weight, and have longer ramps to reach further up the shoreline. In addition, the new ferry will provide seating and bike storage for hikers and bicyclists.
Canoe & Kayak Access
A temporary canoe and kayak access ramp will be installed upstream of the south ramp of the Green River Ferry crossing for use during the construction period. The park is planning to replace the temporary ramp with a permanent ramp upon completion of the ramp extension project. The new access point will improve safety and reduce congestion between paddlers and vehicles utilizing the ferry boat.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Green River Ferry?The Green River Ferry was initially developed in 1934 and is the last remaining active ferry boat operation in Mammoth Cave National Park. The ferry shuttles vehicles, hikers, and bikers across the Green River 364 days a year.
Why is the construction occurring in the busy summer season?The ramp extension work includes the installation of retaining walls to keep the work area dry. This requires the river's water level to be at its lowest point. Low water levels in Kentucky typically coincide with the summer season while spring, fall, and winter generally see more rainfall and higher river levels.
Can I still reach the north side of the park?
Yes! The north side of the park, including Maple Springs Campground and the hiking, biking, and equestrian trails are still open and accessible. The quickest route from the park visitor center is through Brownsville, KY and then over the Nolin River Dam. Visitors arriving from the North may utilize Exit 65 on Interstate 65 towards Munfordville, KY. For a larger image of this map of the routes to access the north side of the park click here.
Can I access the Green River or Echo Springs Accessible Trail in the ferry area?
Will the construction affect the river's aquatic life?Extensive biological surveys of the Green River have been conducted in the area where the ferry improvement projects are taking place. Several species of freshwater mussels have been relocated outside of the ramp construction zone. In addition, the park requires specific construction techniques that will ensure impacts to the plant and animal life will be minimal.
Last updated: November 12, 2019