Two Caves Get Money, Makeovers

Flush with bull market tax revenue, the State of New York has decided to throw $300,000 down a hole: the Glenn Falls cave made famous by James Fenimore Cooper's novel, The Last of the Mohicans.

With this allocation, the state plans to reopen the cave after a forty year shutdown. Soon, tourists will once again be able to descend a passage leading down the rocky Hudson River island, landing in the very cave where Cooper's characters hid out.

The project will be part of a larger effort -- a $16.5 million replacement of a Hudson River bridge connecting South Glens Falls and Glens Falls.

Glen Falls councilman, J. Scott Pauquette, said the reconstructed cave could be vital to the economic development of the city and region as a whole.

Meanwhile, seven hundred miles to the south, Cathedral Caverns of Grant, AL, itself once in disrepair, has opened again on a limited basis.

After years of delays and about $2 million in work, public tours began Friday during an open house at the 461-acre state park near Grant. The cave will be open for group tours on a limited, appointment-only basis, but supporters eventually hope that more work financed by a state parks bond issue will allow it to be viewed on a daily basis.

Cathedral Caverns were privately operated from 1952 to the mid-1970s, but fell into disrepair and closed.

Improvements include more than 300 lights, handrails, a concrete walkway and a 138-foot bridge over a 35-foot-deep gorge. The state Department of Transportation built a 1.9 mile road leading to the caverns at a cost of $3 million. Yet before the caverns can be opened for daily use by the public, some $3 million is needed to finish construction on restrooms, a maintenance facility, a vending area and an office.

State Rep. Howard Hawk said the park is a huge tourism opportunity for north Alabama.

[05/14/2000]
Address:
Cooper's Cave Drive, Glens Falls, NY
Directions:
From downtown, drive south on US Hwy 9/Glen St. Cross the bridge, then make an immediate right at the stoplight. You'll see little signs pointing you to the Cave parking lot.
Hours:
May-Oct. 9-8
Admission:
Free
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