southport chronic cavers grotto
"Sure, we may be one of the smaller grottos. But you know what? We are one of the healthiest and happiest grottos around!!" - Lynn Roebuck

Cave Conservation

Carl Bishop (top) and Brian Roebuck (on left) sort trash at the Rocky River Cave cleanup Many Southport members are involved with various cave conservation projects, from cave cleanups and studies on how cave gates affect the air flow in caves, to articles in The Cave Conservationist on conservation activities in the SouthEast, and helping to save caves from damage - and road crewmen from injury - by providing TDOT with survey data that helped convince them to alter highway widening plans away from a nearby cave and its deep pits that were in the path of the widened highway. From various clean-ups at SERA Cave Carnival 2005, to the series of Rocky River Cave clean-ups hosted by the SERA Karst Task Force, SCCG is usually represented. Clean-ups at known "party" caves, such as Harrison Saltpetre Cave in Bedford County, are ongoing projects, often aided by a local Boy Scout troop.

In fact, we are very proud to include two winners of the SERA Karst Task Force Volunteer of the Year awards: Carl "CarlsBad" Bishop (seen in the photo on the right, peeking into the dumpster) won in 2005, and Mark "Axeman" Murrell was awarded the same honor in 2006. Both of these gentlemen were also awarded the SERA Meritorious Service Award in 2006!

The Southport Chronic Cavers Grotto believes:

The responsibility for protecting caves must be formed by those who study and enjoy them. Accordingly, the intention of the NSS is to work for the preservation of caves with a realistic policy supported by effective programs for: the encouragement of self-discipline among cavers; education and research concerning the causes and prevention of cave damage; and special projects, including cooperation with other groups similarly dedicated to the conservation of natural areas.

All contents of a cave; formations, life and resources contained within 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 removable signs as are needed for surveys; exercise extreme care not to accidentally break or soil formations, never disturb or harm cave life, take great care to not cause any damage to a cave in which you are conducting a clean up, stay on established trails and never increase the number of unnecessary trails through the cave.

Thus, it is important to follow a "leave no trace" ethic when visiting or even conducting a clean up of a cave. "Cave Softly & Leave no Trace!" Make yourself aware of your surroundings and the fragile significant resources that may be found within the cave and make no impacts on it. Do not disturb cave life or any resources inside the cave because caves and the unique biological, cultural and historical resources they contain are non-renewable resources.


Caves and their significant resources are the property of unknown generations and we have no right to risk damaging them.