What's so important about caves?

Caves are home, habitat, and haven for a surprising abundance of fragile resources. Resources found within compose a subterranean world of fragile life, rare habitat, and exceptional speleothems (cave formations). These special underEarth realms, both visible and microscopic, have evolved and formed over time, protected within the walls of caves. These underground environments serve as archival vaults, protecting natural and cultural history.

Ice in the Bay 📷 Peter Jones
Ice in the Bay 📷 Peter Jones
Ice in the Bay 📷 Peter Jones

Protecting the Underground

The NSS Conservation Division is focused on preserving our irreplaceable underground environments.

Visitors can easily damage cave passages and irreplaceable speleological resources! Learn to cave safely and softly. Avoid making unnecessary impacts. Join us in discovering new ways to conserve caves and karst.

Help Restore Caves!

The restoration and clean-up of damaged caves is an act of love for the many cavers who donate their time and resources to this intensive, almost exclusively volunteer activity.

Made available to the public, the NSS' 'Cave Conservation and Restoration' is an in-depth resource helping you to learn more.  You download it below.

Beam Me Up Scotty 📷 Laura Sangaila
Beam Me Up Scotty 📷 Laura Sangaila

Get Involved & Protect Caves

Want to help support cave conservation? Learn about ways to volunteer, donate, or get involved below! 


Conservation Task Forces

CTFs focus on local cave and karst conservation issues under the coordination of the NSS Conservation Division.

A CTF may tackle a significant cave vandalism problem, or work alongside landowners and civic leaders to clean up a groundwater pollution source, or take on habitat restoration in a cave environment to enable species recovery, or promote UnderEarth Conservation during annual Earh Day activities.

Free NSS Conservation Issues

The NSS News is a monthly magazine published by the NSS and is usually available only to NSS Members. However, the April edition of the NSS News is dedicated to cave conservation and is available free to everyone.

USA Cave Animal of the Year

Cave Animal of the Year brings attention to the amazing animals that live in caves and associated subterranean habitats. Many animals live underground in the thousands of caves that occur in the United States. As cavers, we are the visitors to their domain, and it is good to get to know our hosts a little better. See Previous Cave Animals of the Year below!