Perryville city council saw quite a presentation Tuesday, as members of the Missouri Caves and Karst Conservancy (MCKC) spoke to the board on behalf of a rather impressive cave nestled under the city.
The entrance Crevice Cave, the longest cave in Missouri, currently sits under the extreme outskirts of TG Missouri’s most recently purchased property. Though the cave is not open to tourists, as it’s difficult and fairly dangerous to navigate, members of MCKC have traveled through it several times and have found miraculous “rooms,” pools, formations and even ancient artifacts.
Tuesday, MCKC presented a PowerPoint presentation, showing off beautiful snapshots of the cave and all it has to offer. MCKC’S Jim Sherrell explained to the board that the main reason for their presentation was to allow council to understand MCKC’s intentions of asking TG to donate land that includes the cave’s entrance, specifically for research purposes.
“TG doesn’t need it,” Sherrell said. “It’s the least valuable piece of property for TG. Above ground, it’s just a giant sink hole.
“We’ve made a request to TG, asking them to consider donating the cave for conservation,” Sherrell said. “We want to try and preserve [Crevice Cave] as times goes on, and now is a good time to consider it. We ask that council supports the preservation of the cave.”
Council was on-board in regard to supporting MCKC’s efforts, and one could even hear Alderman Curt Buerck say under his breath, “This is awesome.”
The cave, which is only 800 feet away from the better-known Berome-Moore cave, is pristine, Sherrell said, in that no humans have ever damaged or vandalized any part of the cave MCKC has explored thus far. It even has “upper levels,” a “waterfall room” and a “paradise room” with massive, 30-foot high formations, of which Sherrell said the photo “just doesn’t do it justice.”
Ancient artifacts like arrowheads, pottery and even burial grounds have been found close to the entrance of the cave, and perhaps more intriguing, prehistoric remains have been discovered in Crevice, including a mastodon tusk, saber tooth tiger bones and mammoth bones.
There are also several species of animals dwelling within Crevice Cave, which means the cave has good water quality. There’s even a species of fish, called Grotto Sculpin, which is unique to Perry County and found in only six caves in Missouri.
“They evolved into their own separate species while living in caves,” Sherrell said Tuesday.
Sherrell said the reason it’s important to preserve the cave is because of its rich biology, geology, archaeology, paleontology and groundwater, and it’s worthy of protecting because it’s not only the longest cave in the state, but it’s “pristine and undamaged.”
At the end of MCKC’s presentation, Mayor Debbie Gahan said, “Most people think it’s just a hole in the ground. They have no idea what’s underneath.”