Howe Caverns, a noted New York landmark and geological tourism destination, is officially opening a cave that has been shuttered for over a century, allowing visitors to once again view a subterranean world that hasn’t been seen since 1900.
The cavern will be part of a new “Signature Rock Discovery Tour” offered by Howe Caverns, and according to Bill Gallop, general manager of the attraction, it represents the original entrance to the cave system. Speaking with WBNG, Gallop noted that for years, only staff have been allowed to venture into the cavern.
“It hasn’t been toured or seen by the public in more than 115 years, we could go down there but nobody else could so we thought the people are missing out on so much,” he noted.
Was underground for a while. Here are some pics of Howe Caverns. pic.twitter.com/6FFRQELrQ7
— Josh Martin (@JoshMartinWBNG) April 21, 2015
The new tour will take visitors to Howe Caverns beyond the dam wall, a barrier first erected in the early 1900s. According to Schoharie County tourism coordinator Becky Stark, the wall has traditionally represented the point beyond which visitors could not venture, leading many to wonder what existed in the deeper caverns.
“You get to the dam and you come back and you always get asked the question, ‘Well, what is back there what is beyond those doors?’ Now everyone can come and see for themselves what is beyond the dam doors.”
— Times Union (@timesunion) April 22, 2015
According to Syracuse.com, the tour will take two and a half hours to complete, and will examine the caves that Schoharie County farmer Lester Howe traversed when he first discovered the formations in 1843. Visitors will be required to don a protective suit, boots, gloves and headgear, and there will be no lighted walkways to guide them through the cavern.
The newly opened caverns will boast a number of attractions for adventurous visitors, including a “Music Hall” where sound echoes exceptionally well, a “Signature Rock” where visitors inscribed their names over a century ago, and a waterfall. In addition, the original tourist boat used by Lester Howe is housed within the cavern, and will be viewable to visitors.
— Haley Viccaro (@HRViccaro) April 22, 2015
Last year, the Natural Trap Cave in Wyoming was opened to researchers, after being closed in the 1970s. As the Inquisitr previously reported, the cavern is home to thousands of fossils from the Pleistocene era.
Howe Caverns will officially begin offering the new tour on May 3, when the first visitors in 115 years will be allowed beyond the dam wall.
[Image: Mike Groll/ AP via Syracuse.com]