Gage Preserve Entrance Rappel 📷 Unknown
Gage Preserve Entrance Rappel 📷 Unknown

James Gage Karst Preserve


Schoharie County, New York
+3,000 feet

Located in Schoharie County, New York, the James Gage Nature Preserve includes 40 acres and three known caves. Three caves exist on the property: Balls Cave, Keyhole Cave, and Green Cave. Discovered by Peter Ball in 1831, Balls Cave is one of the oldest known caves in the state of New York, with more than 3,000 feet of mapped passage. During early exploration, many of its formations were removed.

Formerly known as the Barton Hill Nature Preserve, much of the Preserve is a limestone bench characterized by numerous sinkholes and solutionally enlarged joints with all drainage underground. The acreage is almost entirely covered by a northeastern hardwood forest.

James Gage donated the Preserve to the National Speleological Foundation (NSF) in December 1987, who deeded the property to the NSS in 1996. The Preserve and the caves are managed for recreation and education. The entire preserve lies within the Barton Hill Natural Resource Protection Overlay district of the Town of Schoharie.