James Gage Karst Preserve
Located in Schoharie County, New York, the James Gage Karst Preserve (formerly named the Barton Hill Nature Preserve) is 12 miles east of the NSS-owned McFails Cave and 9 miles west of the Northeastern Cave Conservancy's Knox Cave.
The Preserve, situated on 40 acres, contains three known caves and 310 acres of cave rights. The bulk of the Preserve is a limestone bench characterized by numerous sinkholes and solutionally-enlarged joints. All drainage is underground. The acreage is almost entirely wooded by a northeastern hardwood forest.
Three caves exist on the property, Balls Cave (previously named Gage Caverns), Keyhole Cave, and Greenes Cave. Discovered in 1831 by Peter Ball, Balls Cave is one of the oldest known caves in the state of New York with over 3,000 feet of mapped passage. During the early exploration, most of the formations were removed and shipped around the United States to adorn the collections of practical geologists and state museums.
Because of bat hibernation, visitation to the caves on this property is not permitted between October and May due to White-Nose Syndrome. For more information on WNS, see the main Preserves Page. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes.
The Preserve was donated by James Gage to the National Speleological Foundation in December of 1987. The property was deeded to the National Speleological Society by the NSF in 1996. The Preserve and the caves are managed by members of the National Speleological Society. These caves are managed for recreation and education. All individuals wishing to gain access must obtain permission from the Committee and sign a release form. The James Gage Karst Preserve Management Committee is co-chaired by Thom Engel and R.W. Simmons.
If you have questions about this Preserve, e-mail Thom Engel and R. W. Simmons at firstname.lastname@example.org