The West Virginia Cave Conservancy, Inc., (WVCC) is a volunteer, nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation, chartered in West Virginia. Donations are tax-deductible!
The WVCC was formed in 1997 to preserve caves and karst features, and preserve access to caves and karst features, in West Virginia. The formation of WVCC was necessitated by increasing pressures on West Virginia karst areas; due in part to population growth, and increased liability concerns on the part of landowners.
WVCC’s approach to conserving cave resources has been multifaceted, including hands-on clean-ups, providing talks about caves and karst to civic groups, creating and distributing educational materials, recommending legislation, and managing and acquiring caves.
Specifically, WVCC members have cleaned up old trash dumps in a number of sinkholes and cave entrances. Members have also given talks and cave tours to different civic and conservation groups. A member spearheaded a successful effort to have protections against landowner liability due to caving activities included in West Virginia’s Code §19-25, sometimes known as the “sportsman law.”
Members have also created two new brochures that provide information about caves to people living in karst areas. One brochure, titled “Got Caves? We Can Help,” conveys to landowners the importance of protecting caves, and lists the ways that WVCC can help the landowner. Another brochure, titled “Caves and Karst of the Virginias” is a general educational brochure that informs people about the development of caves, why caves are worth protecting, and the importance of good practices to avoid groundwater pollution in karst areas. Both these brochures are available to cavers for distribution, and are digitally available at the bottom of this page.
To protect significant caves, and access to them, WVCC has acquired cave properties, and developed management agreements with other cave owners. We are pleased to protect a number of important caves in this way. We currently own nine cave preserves, and manage four additional cave preserves for other owners. We are especially pleased to own two entrances to West Virginia’s newest 44+ mile-long cave, The Great Savannah Cave System! In addition, the Persinger Entrance Preserve provides access to the 15-mile long Benedict’s Cave, and the Wildcat Entrance Preserve provides access to the 20-mile long Culverson Creek System.
In West Virginia, our cave preserves stretch from Berkeley County, W.Va., in the eastern panhandle; to Monroe County, W.Va., in the southeast corner of the state. We even own two caves that were donated to us that are located in neighboring counties of Virginia. Our caves are open to all responsible cavers, however, four of the caves are gated to protect fragile resources and do require prior arrangements for entry. Please visit our Preserves page for details about and all our Preserves.
All this conservation work has been possible due to the generous support of our members and donors, both in terms of labor and money. However, there is always more to do, from sinkhole clean-ups to acquiring the next preserve — and we are always working on the next acquisition. With your support, we will continue our work into the future.
What We Do
• Manage caves to protect sensitive
cave resources and environments;
• Educate landowners, developers, local
governments, and the public on the value
of cave and karst resources;
• Organize cave and karst conservation
projects including sinkhole cleanups
and livestock barrier fences;
• Preserve access to significant caves
in the region through ownership as well
as management agreements;
• Work with and advise landowners on
their karst management issues;
• Provide expertise on karst and aquifer
issues to city and county governments;
• Work with planning commissions;
• Sponsor and encourage research and
surveying projects in WVCC caves;
• Sponsor and co-host the National Cave
and Karst Conservancies Forum.
The Board of the West Virginia Cave Conservancy, Inc. (WVCC) bans the commercial use of our properties, and, specifically, prohibits any activity where a charge of any type occurs.
Board of Directors
The WVCC Board of Directors and Associates are on the Contact Us page.