Cherney Maribel Caves County Park
Tartarus Cave System main entrance
Maribel New Hope Cave, Halloween Room
About Cherney Maribel Caves Park.
Cherney Maribel Caves County Park offers many caves and crevices that are open and accessible by a series of trails to the public when the park is officially open like Coopers Cave, Staircase Cave, Pancake Cave, Tunnel Passage, and Spring Cave by viewing deck only. The park also has some caves that are gated open only for set tours during certain times of the year like Maribel New Hope Cave and the Tartarus Cave System. Cherney Maribel Caves County Park occupies 75 acres on the West Twin River north of the Village of Maribel in the Town of Cooperstown. A rugged cliff line, generally paralleling the river, separates the gently rolling, partially wooded upland area from the wooded lowland adjacent to the river. The foot of the cliff line contains several medium to small caves and openings in the rock layers.
The upland wooded area and its fringes have been developed with amenities for picnicking, biking, skiing, and hiking. Picnic tables, grills, a picnic shelter, toilet facilities, and playground equipment are provided in or near the picnic area. Additional trails are located in the area of the park above the cliff line. Portions of the openland have been planted in seedlings in a reforestation project. A staircase and trail system has been constructed for greater accessibility to the scenic lowland area consisting of the caves and river.
Cherney Maribel Caves County Park is an especially significant geological area that was formed primarily by glacial activity. Through many years of deposition and change, glaciers wore down the land surface exposing an underlying solid mass of rock called Niagara Dolomite. This has formed the naked crags and irregular cliff line of the area. These formations are in contrast to other parts of Wisconsin where rich layers of boulder till were deposited by the glaciers.
Over the years of extreme climatic conditions, the rock has decomposed. Springs, carbonic acid, the changing seasons, high volumes of glacial ice melt, and temperature variations broke down the rock. Small caves and openings created by these forces appear in the rock layers of the cliff line. Springs which seep from the limestone rock flow over moss covered rocks and trickle to the river. Select wildlife to the area, rare ferns, varieties of creeping plants, and wild flowers are found among the rocks and within the wooded growth. This natural beauty of the park made it a popular picnic and recreational area long before it was acquired by the Manitowoc County on Nov 5, 1963.