West Virginia Cave Conservancy Preserves

To protect significant caves and access to them, the WVCC may own cave property or develop management agreements with cave owners.  We are pleased to protect several important caves in this way.

Conservancy-Owned Caves

Donaldson Cave
(Berkeley County, WV)
Saved from destruction by a housing development.  The cave is a winter home for bats and is protected with a gate.

Great Savannah Cave System’s Lightner Entrance to Historic McClung Cave
(Greenbrier County, WV)
A vertical entrance to a 42+ mile cave system under land that is subject to development. The cave is currently being remapped by the West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

Great Savannah Cave System’s Scott Entrance to Historic Maxwelton Sink Cave
(Greenbrier County,WV)
Historic Maxwelton has over 22 miles miles of the 42+ miles of the entire system. Protection is critical due to a nearby industrial park and hydrologic connections to major caves and springs. The entrance is gated.

Hancock Cave
(Smyth County, VA)
Located on the side of Walker Mountain adjacent to Rt. 622.  The preserve is 3.5 acres in size and contains the entrance to Hancock Cave.  Hancock Cave contain 2.5 miles of passage and is 170 feet deep.  A 30’ handline is needed at the entrance and several other climbs within the cave should be rigged with handlines.  This is not a novice cave so be prepared for a work out if you visit.  The entrance is open and permission is not needed to enter.

Haynes Cave
(Monroe County, WV)
A small, but historically significant, cave containing Civil War saltpeter workings.

Island Ford Cave
(Alleghany County, VA)
WVCC cleaned decades of graffiti and trash from this popular cave. Used for educational purposes.

Lost Cave
(Greenbrier County, WV)
A significant historical saltpeter cave that was mined in the War of 1812. Although the cave is not highly decorated, it does contain a mazy area and abundant anastomosis.

Persinger Entrance to Benedict Cave
(Greenbrier County, WV)
A 15+ mile cave system that lies under a rapidly developing residential area, containing a diverse collection of cave formations and biota.

Wild Cat Entrance to Culverson Creek System
(Greenbrier County, WV)
One of several known entrances to this 20-mile long cave system. Two entrances, side-by-side, lead to different sections of the cave. This cave is very dangerous during high water conditions.

Conservancy-Managed Caves

Burnholt Cave
(Greenbrier County, WV)
Was historically used as a water source as evidence still exists in the cave. This gated cave is currently being mapped.

Norman Cave
(Greenbrier County, WV)
This highly popular cave, which is the northern entrance to the Bone-Norman System, is open to responsible cavers only. There have been a number of rescues in the cave.

Rapps Cave
(Greenbrier County, WV)
A major archeological site protected by a gated entrance. Access granted for science only.

Savannah Cave
(Greenbrier County, WV)
The cave is 3,349 feet (0.63 miles) long, 184.6 feet deep and contains an 80-foot drop that penetrates the Taggard Shale.

Cave Visiting Guidelines

• Burnholt, Donaldson, Haynes, and Maxwelton caves are gated. Prior arrangements must be made.
• Norman Cave is open to responsible cavers only.
• Rapp Cave is closed except for scientific work.
• Savannah Cave is open for exploration and mapping.
• No prior contact is needed for trips into Hancock, Island Ford, Lightner, Lost, Persinger, or Wildcat caves.

WV State Code

Chapter 20 Natural Resources
Article 7A Cave Protection

WV Historic Preservation

Archaeology, Permits for Excavation requires a person to obtain a permit from the Director of Natural Resources in order to excavate or remove a historic or prehistoric ruin, burial ground, archaeological or paleontological site, including saltpeter workings, relics or inscriptions, fossilized footprints, bones or other such features that may be found in a cave.

WVCC Scientific Collections Policy

Collections of biological specimens, geological materials, paleontological remains,  archaeological materials, or any other material from a cave or property owned or managed by the West Virginia Cave Conservancy (WVCC) requires express permission of the WVCC. Permission will not be granted unless the applicant demonstrates that they hold, at the date of collection, all applicable state and/or federal permits for such collections (e.g. West Virginia Department of Natural Resources Scientific Collection Permit, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation Cave Collection Permit, Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Scientific Collection Permit, et cetera). Permission to collect will be at WVCC discretion even in cases in which the applicant holds all appropriate permits, and may be withdrawn with notice at any time.