Goodwin Pit Cave

Goodwin Pit Sinkhole and Cave

An Important Karst Resource –  Laclede County, Missouri

The Missouri Caves and Karst Conservancy owns Goodwin Pit Sinkhole and Cave, located in Laclede County, Missouri. Goodwin Pit is an important karst resource that consists of a major sinkhole and the entrance to Goodwin Pit Cave. Sadly, Goodwin Pit had been used as an illegal dump site for more than 60 years. Trash accumulated over the years resulted in building up 10-15 feet of sediment, impedinf the normal flow of water through the sinkhole and the cave. It is important to note that water from nearby Offutt Pit also drains into Goodwin Pit. In 2012, MCKC began the cleanup of Goodwin Pit, which involved removing the trash in the sink and sediment from the cave entrance before removing the debris that has washed into the cave’s passages.

While Goodwin Pit Cave was named and appears in the Missouri cave files, the cave has never been surveyed. We can only speculate on the length of the cave at this time. However, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has dye-traced the water from Goodwin Sink to Ha Ha Tonka Spring and the adjacent Niangua Arm of the Lake of Ozarks, ten miles away. Cavers are looking forward to exploring, surveying and mapping Goodwin Pit Cave, although much restoration work is still ahead before we can begin to explore the cave. I

Historical Background

We know from historical reports that the entrance to Goodwin Pit Cave, at one time, was large enough for a horse drawn wagon. Just before the American Civil War, militant guerilla bands affiliated with the free-state cause, known as Jayhawkers, often clashed with pro-slavery groups from Missouri known as Border Ruffians. A Goodwin neighbor told stories in the late 1950’s and early 60’s about her grandfather who would drive a team and wagon load into the cave to hide their slaves from marauding Jayhawkers.

The original cave entrance is estimated to have been 30 feet wide and approximately 15 feet high. MCKC’s goal is to restore the original entrance and the cave itself.

In the Fall 2013 issue of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources quarterly magazine, Missouri Resources, Larry Archer covered some historical background and reports on the restoration that began in 2012 in his article, Playground with a Past.

March 10, 2013 View from Lancaster Road

The photo to the left shows a view from Lancaster Road on March 10, 2013 after about an inch of rain fell in the area.Water cascades over the falls on the left into a sediment trap. A ditch lined with sandbags diverts the water toward the entrance of the cave. A fence constructed of hog panels was covered in geotextile to filter debris from the water before it drains into the cave. Visit the Goodwin 2013 Gallery to see a sequence of photos showing the waterflow into the Goodwin Pit Cave entrance after three inches of rain falls overnight on March 17, 2013.

While Goodwin Pit Cave was named and appears in the Missouri cave files, the cave has never been surveyed. We can only speculate on the length of the cave at this time. However, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has dye-traced the water from Goodwin Sink to Ha Ha Tonka Spring and the adjacent Niangua Arm of the Lake of Ozarks, ten miles away.

Cavers are looking forward to exploring, surveying and mapping Goodwin Pit Cave, although much restoration work is still ahead before we can begin to explore the cave.

 

If you have questions about our organization, would like a permit to visit an MCKC managed cave or need help managing a cave on your property, we invite you to contact us.
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