Cavess Posted December 29, 2002 Share Posted December 29, 2002 Dear geocachers, Allow me to introduce myself. I am a member of the National Speleological Society (NSS), a 13,000-member organization dedicated to the study, exploration and protection of caves. I am also the chair of the NSS Ad-Hoc Geocaching Committee. This committee was created by the NSS President to address the concerns of our members to the placement of geocaches in caves. My role is not to start a flame-war, keep geocachers out of caves, or point an accusing finger at anyone. My job is to attempt to find a common ground between geocachers and cavers that will benefit caves and their environment. In the past, caves have been considered simply ‘holes in the ground’, which people often found to be convenient locations to dump trash. The result was destruction of the cave environment. Caves often form an integral part of the local hydrology, and this trash would often find its way into the local water table, destroying the environment on a larger scale and sickening the local populace. Some caves are more fragile than others. While some caves may have thousands of visitors a year without significant problems, other caves may contain extremely delicate cave formations, sensitive populations of endangered bats, or medically significant populations of microbes. Caves, without the proper training and equipment, can also be extremely dangerous. The goal of the NSS is to educate the population about the importance of caves and many of our members dedicate their lives to the protection and preservation of caves. Just as many members of the geocaching community are passionate about their sport, we are passionate about ours. So it is not surprising that some of our members have not handled the discovery of geocaches or the posting of sensitive cave locations on the internet well. My goal, with the help of the geocaching community, is to change the miscommunication that has occurred. We are asking our members not to remove any cave geocaches, but to contact the geocacher who placed it directly. This caver should then explain to the geocacher the reason that the cave may be sensitive to the presence of a geocache and subsequent visitation. In turn, it is my hope that the equally conservation minded geocacher will be receptive to the needs of the cave ecosystem. Hopefully we can find a common ground where we may all enjoy our respective sports, not only benefiting ourselves, but also the environment that we care about so much. Many thanks, Hazel A. Barton, Ph.D. Quote Link to comment
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