KSS logo Kansas Speleological Society
Dedicated to the Study, Conservation, and Exploration of Kansas Caves
Take nothing but pictures,
Leave nothing but footprints,
Kill nothing but time
The K.S.S. is dedicated to the conservation of caves.

The cave conservation ethic as adopted by the K.S.S. is as follows: Members of the K.S.S. shall in no way deface, break, or remove any formation in any cave. All refuse brought into a cave should be removed when leaving the cave. Members will do their best not to harm any organism in a cave and will not remove any organism from a cave (except for approved scientific study).

Cave Conservation

by Gaylen Garinger
K.S.S. Member

It does not require many trips into caves to recognize that the cave environment is a fragile one. Many caves offer delicate formations that can evoke wonder in even the most unappreciative person's eyes. However, many people see the beauty and want to own it or even destroy it. Thoughtless acts of vandalism occur all too frequently in caves. One does not have to cave long before they encounter someone's name or spray paint on a cave wall. These are obvious acts that mar caves' beauty.

Protecting the cave environment goes far beyond this however. A thoughtless footstep or dumping spent carbide can also harm a cave's environment. Many of the cave's formations are damaged by just touching them. Oils from the caver's skin can alter or delay the growth of many types of cave formations. A careless footstep can destroy a lifeform that is irreplaceable. The best way to learn good caving ethics is to cave with a good caver. It is not easy to know all of the things that may damage this fragile enviroment. It is only through study and experience that one can begin to understand our responsibility to the cave as cavers.

The Boy Scouts of America are learning to hike with "Zero Impact" ethic. This means that no one should be able to tell that they have passed through an area after they were gone. This type of thinking should be adopted by anyone visiting a cave. The caver's motto is stated:

Take nothing but pictures,
Leave nothing but footprints
Kill nothing but time

This is more than a catchy saying, it is a way of thinking that helps to preserve the fragile environment that cavers seek out. To learn more about how to cave softly, cave with a responsible person and watch how they do it.

Copyright ©1995 Kansas Speleological Society

Join the NSS!   The K.S.S. is formed as an internal organization of the National Speleological Society and was officially chartered on May 30, 1984. Visit www.caves.org for N.S.S. membership information.

Extra! Extra! Read all about Kansas kaving! The K.S.S. publishes a newsletter, the Kansas Kaver, six times a year. All K.S.S. publications are available to K.S.S. members.

   Membership to the K.S.S. is open to anyone who supports cave conservation. Send annual dues of $15 per year to the K.S.S. Treasurer Steve Kite. For more information, email kss@caves.org

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Copyright © 2004 Kansas Speleological Society          For information about caves and caving in Kansas, contact: kss@caves.org