The NSS Conservation Policy

The National Speleological Society believes: Accordingly, the intention of the Society is to work for the preservation of caves with a realisitic policy supported by effective programs for: the encouragement of self-discipline among cavers; education and research concering the causes and prevention of cave damage; and special projects, including cooperation with other groups similarly dedicated to the conservation of natural areas. Specifically:

All contents of a cave -- formations, life, and loose deposits -- are significant for their enjoyment and interpretation. Therefore, caving parties should leave a cave as they find it. They should provide means for the removal of waste; limit marking to a few, small, and removeable signs as are needed for surveys; and, especially, exercise extreme care not to accidentally break or soil formations, disturb life forms or unnecessarily increase the number of disfiguring paths through an area.

Scientific collection is professional, selective, and minimal. The collecting of mineral or biological material for display purposes, including previously broken or dead specimens, is never justified, as it encourages others to collect and destroy the interest of the cave.

The Society encourages projects such as:

Where there is reason to believe that publication of cave locations will lead to vandalism before adequate protection can be established, the Society will oppose such publication.

It is the duty of every Society member to:
Take personal responsibility for spreading a consciousness of the cave conservation problem to each potential user of caves. Without this, the beauty and value of our caves will not long remain with us.

For more information on cave conservation, check out the The NSS Conservation Division

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Last Modified: February 8, 2017

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