For many years caving and the locations of caves was learned through experience and word of mouth. This sport has done a great job staying off the radar and only gives to those that seek it with a passion.
The locations and details of these amazing places has done what it does best…stay in the dark. The internet has had a large impact in the caving world. With the locations being shared to many the traffic of these fragile places has increased and thus hurting them in permanent ways which has resulted in having many of them closed to the public. Once the location has been posted or shared using social media, you can not get it back and the location will be available to anyone who wants it..forever. This has created a group of cavers doing everything in their power to make sure the locations of the caves is kept secret. The grotto (which is a caving group in any state) is comprised of these cavers doing what they can to keep them safe. (i do recommend joining the grotto to learn safe caving techniques) The down side they never share or show the locations of these caves, and many times take the location to the grave. Caves are lost and only re -found sometimes. There tends to be only a few people in the area that know all the locations of the currently known caves. They take it upon themselves to be the “gate keeper” and only teach the elite the in’s and out’s of the caves. They take the opportunity away for many people to experience caving. Why do they get to decide? This puts caving in a difficult spot. How to manage the locations and traffic of these amazing places. Is all social media for caving bad? The answer is NO, social media can be a very effective tool to educate and inspire everyone to protect and conserve the caves. Because photography is getting better the true beauty is starting to be seen. I encourage anyone that is interested in learning more and see pictures showing how special they are, please visit the link to the Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/CavingRocks I hope this helps you see the beauty of these mysterious environments.
Great article! I totally agree.
I lean on the side of having specialized groups such as the Grotto be the gatekeepers. Example, Neff’s Cave. I called many, including the Forest Service and others, to find the location without luck. It was interesting that the FS “played dumb”, however they did refer me to the Grotto. Given the extreme hazard of this deep cave, I’ve come to realize that this barrier might have saved me a horrible experience had I been able to freely gain access.
That being said, I guess I’d also like to see more information on the cave. It is fascinating to me that it’s virtually within view of the SL Valley, has such an amazing first real exploration back in the ’50s when it was thought to be one of the deepest cave in North America and yet so few know of it’s existence.
I loved the story of how torn the divided opinion was way back then over whether to blast the entrance or make it into a Nat’l Park. Neither of those are good in my IMHO. I may be wrong, but I believe the Grotto has the best interest of preservation and safety in mind, given the nature of this cave and others like this.)
BTW: This Website is AWESOME! It is informative and visually attractive with great photos. Very nice choice of colors as well. It has been sorely needed. Keep the good stuff coming!
(The ONLY suggestion I would have would be to get this off of WordPress. It’s a pain to have to log into WP to interact. 🙂 )
You bring up an interesting problem, and being a part of a grotty myself, I can see the dichotomy of people on one side wanting to share and get people into caves, and on the other side wanting to keep them secret and keep others out. Its a hard situation. I personally like the grotto way, even though we cannot get free access to caves, at least those of us who are passionate can still get in.