Mid-Appalachian Region Regional Coordinator

My name is Allen Maddox. I'm the Regional Coordinator for the NSS Mid-Appalachian Region which includes Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware.

McAlisterville Cave 9-21-07 037

This is a great area to go caving. There are commercial caves spread across Pennsylvania and Maryland that you can visit. At least one commercial cave, Laurel Caverns in Pennsylvania, has a "dark tour". There are some "wild caves" around here that might be accessible to your youth group if you talk to the right people. I suggest having an experienced caver guide you. There are several local chapters (grottos) of the NSS as well as individual cavers who might be willing to help your youth group. There are some cavers that would even come out to one of your meetings to talk to your group about caves, cave safety, cave geology and biology. Contact your local grotto and ask what they can do to help you.

There are also a couple commercial outfitters in Maryland, Hi Ventures and GO Adventure, that offer "Wild Cave Trips" and have other resources.

Feel free to let me know what I can do to help as well. When you're done and your trip or activity is over, please pass on a story and pictures of how it went and I'll post it here for you and others to see.

Cave Safely and Cave Softly.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has called for a "Caving Moratorium" in 17 States in the northeaster US. Please refer to their web site for more current information http://www.fws.gov/northeast/white_nose.html.
The US Forest Service, Eastern Region, has closed all caves and mines on their properties for one year effecting 33 States (http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/).
As a result many wild caves have been shut down to recreational caving till a solution can be found. The NSS and the caving community in generally are supporting this caving moratorium. We are also asking all youth groups to refrain from any underground activities till the moratorium is lifted.

The NSS has a pamphlet "What's Killing Our Bats" that's available in a "pdf" for download and distribution. Please feel free to distribute this pamphlet to your members to help explain why and the importance of the caving moratorium. We would also like to encourage your group to download, print, and distribute this brochure throughout your community to help let everyone know the importance of bats and to let them know what they can do to help.