Just as there are safety rules for people, there are "conservation rules" for caves. Caves are fragile, and one careless or thoughtless act can destroy a beautiful room or decoration (speleothem) forever. Even innocent acts, such as lightly touching a decoration/speleothem, can break it or halt its rowth. In many states and countries, intentionaly damaging caves, cave speleothems, or disturbing cave wildlife is against the law.

  1. Never take anything out of the cave except other people’s trash. This also means previously broken formations. Not even a pebble should be removed from the cave.
  2. Always take everything you brought into the cave back out. Don’t leave a single candy wrapper, dead battery, or anything else you brought into the cave.
  3. Always remove other people’s trash when you find it. Ancient artifacts, on the other hand, should be treated with the same respect as the speleothems themselves.
  4. Never urinate (or worse!) in a cave. If you gotta go, you gotta either hold it until you get out, or pee in a bottle. We’re serious here. Human waste breaks down very slowly, if at all, in caves. If you urinated in a cave six months ago, it may still smell six months later.
  5. Never touch any speleothem, especially with bare hands. Besides being fragile, the oils in your skin will halt the growth of speleothems or stain them or wear them down.
  6. Don’t bother the wildlife. In particular, bats can be very sensitive to being woken up and can die. Even shining a light on one could wake it up, make it use its energy reserves up, and kill it. Many bats are endangered species and pestering them is a violation of the law. Either way, bats are very beneficial to the environment and should be treated with respect.
  7. Always respect the land around cave entrances. Never damage gates or dump trash around entrances. No trespassing means no trespassing! A cave owner who may meet you smiling at the door and happily give you permission to use his property, may just as easily meet you with a shotgun or the sheriff if you’re caught trespassing. A single rude caver can ruin it for everyone. Be polite and respect the cave owner’s wishes!