ohiocaver wrote:Most of the rest of the world lists cave locations with no adverse effect on caves.
This is widely claimed, and is simply untrue. The argument seems to be based on the incorrect assumption that trash, graffiti, and vandalism are the only "adverse effects".
Even by that definition, it is obvious that damage cannot be reduced or avoided
by making locations public. It is also necessary to account for variances in culture when trying to understand what "works". I am thinking, for example, of some Caribbean and Central/South American caves that are widely known by the public but which are not damaged by them because, for superstitious or cultural reasons, they are never entered . So while we might draw some general lessons from the way cave protection is approached in other countries, we should not ignore our responsibility to try and understand the intricacies of local
ohiocaver wrote:Caves not visited are at risk... What results in damage to caves is keeping legitimate cavers away
Try caving, as I have the joy to do, in places where caves are not visited by cavers. You will find many well-preserved, undamaged, even pristine, caves. Again, recreational caving organizations such as NSS seem incapable of accepting the consequences of pushing caving as a "sport". A meth lab may cause much less damage than sport caving by "legitimate" cavers. Consider the historical equivalent of moonshining. I would sooner see the remnants of a still in an otherwise intact cave than follow the trail of destruction left in the wake of NSS cavers through a conservancy-owned and gated cave. Both examples exist within a few miles of each other.
ohiocaver wrote: All caves need more activity in and around them just so they do not become the target of damage.
caves might benefit from such an approach. For such a philosophy to be enacted in all caves would result in heartbreaking ruin.