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Online Cave locations

PostPosted: Jun 16, 2015 8:04 pm
by Tlaloc
Check out this interesting site:

The purpose of this site is to allow people to post the location of everything on-line on topo maps, including caves. So far it only covers three states, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho but they plan to include everywhere.

You can contact the guys building this at:

I sent them the following E-mail and some of you might have strong feelings about this as well and want to comment:

I am a member of the National Speleological Society, It is the policy of the National Speleological Society not to publish cave locations. This has proven to be a horrible idea because all caves known to the general public are looted and vandalized but there is another issue and this is safety. Many caves in the area where you have coverage are vertical alpine caves. That is, very technical caves that contain hazards like vertical drops, high altitude and freezing cold and with lots of water. These caves should only be visited by very experienced cavers. When ill-equipped and inexperienced people visit caves they often get into serious trouble, even die. The remote locations of most of the caves in the Northern Rockies makes any rescue extremely difficult or impossible. I personally have participated in many cave rescues and publishing cave locations will only make this problem worse.

The government has recognized that publishing some things, like the locations of archaeological sites, is a bad idea because this would be a treasure map for looters. This is true of caves and this is why the government is prohibited from disclosing cave locations under the Federal Cave Resources Protection Act of 1988. This information is also exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

I am impressed by what you have done with the site, but it seems to me that you’ve thought about what you can do, not what you should do. Think about it. Is it really in the public interest to make everything available to anyone? I don't think so.

If you want to see what happens to publicly-know caves, go over to Tongue River cave near Dayton. This cave was once gated to protect it from vandalism and there was a permit system for gaining access. The locals broke in so many times to vandalize it that the Forest Service gave up and now this is a sacrifice cave. The locals have taken great pride in making sure that this cave is absolutely the most completely vandalized cave in the world. This cave is literally a $h*t hole where people crap in constricted passages so you will have to crawl through it. Also there have been numerous rescues.

PLEASE don’t allow cave locations on your site.

At the very least you should add a feature that allows users to flag locations as inappropriate and ask the site administrators to remove them.

Re: Online Cave locations

PostPosted: Jun 17, 2015 10:03 am
by LukeM
It's actually a pretty convoluted process to contribute data. I can't find any caves on the site so perhaps it will stay that way.

Re: Online Cave locations

PostPosted: Jun 17, 2015 2:18 pm
by Caving Guru
Same, I tried to see if I could find a cave location on the website and I wasn't able to find one.

Re: Online Cave locations

PostPosted: Jun 18, 2015 12:53 pm
by brianreavis
Hi Guys – I responded to the emails, but just found this forum... so I thought I'd clear it up for anyone else wondering:

We’ve given the topic great thought and have no intentions of going against over a century of wisdom from the government, NSS, and others. We care deeply about preservation and if it means keeping it off the map, we’ll keep it off the map – no hesitation. We do not have cave locations and have no plans of adding them.

We don't have user submitted places right now. Eventually we will, but everything will go through a review process. The "caves" category on the site is merely a vestige of thinking up a taxonomy of nature (it will likely be removed). We're in the process of adding a "notes" feature that will allow users to share custom locations with others privately.

Re: Online Cave locations

PostPosted: Jun 19, 2015 7:54 am
by LukeM
Thanks for stopping by to clear that up and great job on the site.