The main attraction of the Cave River Valley Natural Area are not so much its signs of abondonment, but rather its caves and rock formations.
The area was acquired at some point by the Nature Conservancy, and then possession was transferred to the Department of Natural Resources of Indiana, who had created a site management plan that is an interesting document in many respects.
It explains in detail what the DNR planned to do with the area, and what the costs would be. The plan did not move forward much, be it because of budget problems, be it because of myotis sodalis, the endangered Indiana Bat.
The bat uses the Endless Cave above and below as a hibernaculum (I need one, too!). Plans to take busloads of spelunkers through the extensive caves in the area would possibly run afoul of the Federal Cave Resources Protection Act from 1988.
So the Department of Natural Resources put up a handful of signs and dumped truckloads of gravel on a pathway that was supposed to give access to campsites for up to 120 people. Hmmm.
Then, they abandoned the site, once again.
It is, however, as I hope the pictures are hinting, of some beauty.