Bulletin of the National Speleological Society - ISSN 0146-9517
Volume 34 Number 3: 61-70 - July 1972

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Underground Wilderness in the Guadalupe Escarpment
Robert R. Stitt and WIlliam P. Bishop


The concept of underground wilderness is not new to the discussion of protection of caves and karst features and has occurred regularly since before the Wilderness Act of 1964 became law. Those who have experienced the cave wilderness have never doubted its existence, but land managers have been slow to accept it. The definition of undergound wilderness is discussed in terms of the value of the resource, its impact on an observer, and its defensible boundaries. The utility of the concept in management of the cave resource and the overlying lands is applied explicitly to the Guadalupe Escarpment of New Mexico and Texas. From the considerations of underground wilderness and its application to the Guadalupe Escarpment, concrete recommendations for underground wilderness in the Guadalupe Escarpment area are derived.

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