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 by a gate.

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. Now it is used as an educational opportunity.

Lightner Entrance to McClung Cave
(Greenbrier County, WV)
A vertical entrance to a 17+ mile cave system under land that is subject to development.

Maxwelton Sink Cave
(Greenbrier County,WV)
10+ miles of cave containing delicate, rare formations. Protection is critical due to a nearby industrial park and hydrologic connections to major caves and springs. The entrance is gated.

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

Wildcat Entrance to Culverson Creek Cave
(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.

Conservancy-Managed Caves

Lobelia Saltpeter Cave
(Pocahontas County, WV)
Managed for the Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc.
A significant cave containing 150-year-old saltpeter workings, important paleontological findings, and an endangered bat species.

Rapps Cave
(Greenbrier County, WV)
A major archeological site protected by a gated entrance.

Savannah Cave
(Greenbrier County, WV)
A newly opened cave that is currently being explored and mapped. This cave has been featured in the NSS News.

Cave Visiting Guidelines

• Donaldson, Haynes, and Maxwelton Caves are gated. Prior key arrangements must be made.
• Rapps is closed except for scientific work.
• Savannah is open for exploration and mapping.
• No prior contact is needed for trips into Hancock, Island Ford, Lightner, Lobelia, Persinger, or Wildcat.

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.