Cave Administration in Utah

Unlike most Eastern States, most of the land in Utah where caves may be found is administered and controlled by the Federal Government. This includes the US Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the National Park Service, the Bureau of Mines and Reclamation, etc. There is also some State owned and controlled land including School Board land. Land can be privately owned but most commonly land can be claimed under mining laws which allows for some limited control of access and use of federal land.

The good part of this ownership arrangement is that most federal and state land is open for the public to enter and enjoy. Areas designated as national forests or parks may have some limitations. Some other limitations may affect motor vehicle travel on or off roads, as well as access at certain areas at certain times for hunting purposes or for reforestation purposes.  Generally on Federal land, unless the cave entrance is controlled, there is no need to get permission to go caving.

In the few situations where there is private ownership, no trespassing signs must be clearly visible on the roads, at the cave entrance and or at reasonable intervals along the fences bounding the area. In these cases, permission must be sought and received before entering the area.

Where gates have been installed on caves, permission and keys or codes may usually be obtained from the administering agency or their designated contact persons. Those found damaging, destroying or defacing these gates and their signs or digging around them to gain access will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Often these controls are in place to protect the cave and/or to protect the public from danger. Often these areas are monitored by cameras and other means. Please respect the laws of the land.