Cave Conservation

Caves are Valuable and Sensitive!

Caves are a valuable scientific and recreational resource! Many caves contain beautiful and unique mineral formations. Some caves contain rare and endangered species of animals. A few caves contain historic relics or prehistoric bones and artifacts.
Cave formations, once damaged, almost never grow back. A muddy hand or footprint permanently mars a mineral formation and inhibits its future growth. Bones and artifacts found in caves are often very fragile. Further, the manner in which they were deposited and preserved is as important as the object itself.

Caves are sensitive environments! The animals found in caves are easily disturbed by man. Bats aroused during their winter hibernation period may die as a result. Water pollution and spent carbide may poison other organisms.

Cave conservation and restoration as well as the protection of caves is a priority with MLG members and many are involved  in various projects, aside from the cleaning up of our local Mother Lode caves.  We frequently work with different government agencies to help with the preservation of caves in many areas. Some of the conservation projects MLG members have been involved in are:

  1. Cleaning and restoring cave formations in Soldiers Cave for Sequoia National Park.
  2. Lint picking and formation cleaning at Lehman Cave for Great Basin National Park
  3. Logging and classifying cave minerals, flora, and fauna for Lava Beds National Monument
  4. Work on various projects under the auspices of MLG’s M.O.U. with Bureau of Land Management
  5. The installation of gates on caves or cave property to insure the protection of caves and the sensitive  environments found within, such as bats, bones, and other artifacts.

California’s Cave Protection Law

It is illegal to: (California Penal Code, “Cave Protection Act”, Section 623.

  • Write or mark on cave walls
  • Litter or dump spent carbide
  • Break or remove mineral formations
  • Disturb bats or other living organisms
  • Remove or disturb historic or prehistoric artifacts or bones.