At this time no effort will be made to restrict access to Schoharie Caverns by most caving groups. Exceptions are described in the next four paragraphs. It is recommended that two signs be placed at the cave entrance. The first should state that persons caught removing formations from the cave will be prosecuted. The second should provide a message on caving safety and proper equipment. It shall also include a telephone number to be called in case a rescue is needed
Individuals who show up to go into the cave and who are not properly equipped should be strongly discouraged from entering the cave. Minimum equipment per individual is a helmet with chin strap, three sources of light - ideally one of these should be helmet mounted, and sturdy footwear. In cases where people are not adequately equipped they should be asked to leave and not enter the cave until properly equipped.
Behavior in the cave shall conform to accepted NSS standards. All formations, bedrock, and sediments including mud shall be left as is unless special permission is received from the chair or chairs for scientific collection. There shall be no mud fights etc.
Cave for pay groups are not permitted in Schoharie Caverns. Cave for pay means those groups where a leader receives payment for activities related solely to the cave trip. This may include, but is not limited to, rental of cave equipment, transportation to the cave, and guide services.
Profit making groups for whom caving is an ancillary or additional activity such as camps or schools are permitted. Such groups and certain non-profit groups must be covered by insurance as specified by the chair or chairs. Release forms for minors signed by a parent or legal guardian may be required.
There does not appear to be any significant potential for exploration on this preserve. John Schweyen's work in Schoharie Caverns seems to have pushed even the dive potential to the end. Any bolting, diving, digging, or blasting is considered a special use of this property and requires specific approval from the committee chair or chairs. Further, any exercise of the cave rights received with the property also requires specific approval from the committee chair or chairs.
The cave is not to be publicized in magazines or newspapers of general circulation. Caver's publications like The Northeastern Caver and the NSS News may contain information on the latest discoveries and other pertinent information. Some grotto publications may also have information, but again, these have limited circulation and usually do not give locations. The cave, because of its ease of access, has been used as a cave to take members of the media to. It must be understood by all individuals doing this that the name and location of the cave is not to be used and that they must obtain a promise in writing from the reporter, producer, or editor to that effect.
In addition to the chair, the committee authorizes the following three positions: fieldhouse registrar, preserve manager, and maintenance manager. The fieldhouse registrar will handle all fieldhouse reservations and the distribution of keys or lock combinations. The preserve manager will be another decision maker who will have most powers of the committee chairs except to actually run the meetings. He or she can direct persons or groups to leave the property, have persons arrested, and identify problems to be resolved. For obvious reasons, the preserve manager will be a local caver. The preserve manager may also appoint any deputies as needed to help enforce the rules set forth in this plan. The maintenance manager will oversee all up-keep of the property and will identify any special work that is necessary.
In contrast to many cave properties, this one has few problems associated with direct management of the cave. Rather, the chief problems seem to be related to the use of the surface for camping and other pursuits by cavers and non-cavers, alike. At present, use of the property is open. People come and camp. A $.25 donation per person per night has been requested, but not required. This money and money from donations accepted for the use of the cabin ($.50 per person per night suggested donation), has been used for property upkeep. The new outhouse and the repair of the cabin roof were funded in this manner.
Preserve Rules have been adopted as follows:
The current situation where nominal donations are suggested will continue. Suggested donations will be as follows: $1.00 per person per night for use of the fieldhouse and $.50 per person per night to camp. Names of individuals and groups will be sent to the NSS office annually so these can be officially identified as NSS contributors. Such monies that may be collected and sent to the NSS shall be set aside in a Schoharie Caverns Preserve Fund for use at that property.
It is highly recommended that grottos participating in the Schoharie Caverns Preserve Management Committee should do at least one clean-up or project in the property per year. Examples include roof replacement by the Met Grotto, outhouse replacement by Connecticut Valley, and lawn cutting, campground maintenance, and window repair by Helderberg-Hudson.
Most people visiting Schoharie Caverns will only see the first 2000 feet from the entrance to sump 1. This part of the cave is almost entirely walking. In a few places it is necessary to scramble over rocks or to do some chimneying. Still, problems could occur.
A rescue form Schoharie Caverns would be fairly simple as it is almost all walking passage. Of chief concern would be hypothermia. Anybody entering the cave does get wet. This increases the chance of problem with exposure. Still, the cave offers so few obstacles to a rescue, that once a call out is made and rescuers arrive, resolution should proceed quickly.
There is no phone at the fieldhouse, but the people living in the first house downhill from the cabin have indicated that their telephone could be used in cases of emergency.
Futures plans are a moving target and more than anything else in this plan, this list will change as goals are accomplished and new ones added. The following list is presented in no special order, though the first seven will be given the highest priority.
At this time, and not in the foreseeable future, do plans exist to reconnect electricity to the fieldhouse.