Most of the drinking water in the Tri-State comes from limestone springs. Dumping in and around sinkholes and springs can contaminate the water for many people. That’s why a group of concerned volunteers from around the United States are converging on Cumberland Gap this weekend.
The Karst Task Force for the southeastern region of the United States is cooperating with other groups, including Lincoln Memorial University, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and the Cave Research Foundation, to clean up around the springs on the north end of Cumberland Gap.
Local volunteers are invited to help and work alongside the traveling experts of the task force.
Volunteers can arrive beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday at the end of Pennlyn Avenue in Cumberland Gap. Participants need to wear boots, gloves and sturdy clothing.
“We hope the volunteers will learn about what we do and why we do it. It’s about clean water and being good stewards of the environment,” said Maureen Handler, a leader with the group.
The official name of the group is the SERA Karst Task Force, but most involved call it SKTF.
SKTF is a non-profit resource organization dedicated to karst conservation and the clean up of cave and karst features through the education of both the public and caving communities.
The group relies solely on the support of the public and caving community, businesses and citizens in the community.
People can get involved and work with others who share the love of karst areas, caves, the groundwater supply and believe in conservation and clean up of these natural resources.
The event in Cumberland Gap is a chance to contribute a portion of your time, skills, creativity or financial aid to assist in reaching the task force goals, organizers say.
Along with a sense of satisfaction, volunteers can earn a trip to Gap Cave guided by SKTF and the Cave Research Foundation, where they can learn more about caves as a resource, recreation and as unique fragile areas subject to the special science called speleology.
To learn more go to www.caves.org, the website of the National Speleological Society.