Caver's Motto: Take nothing but Pictures. Leave nothing but Footprint. Kill nothing but Time.
The Alberta Speleological Society passionately supports conservative low impact caving. The ecosystem within any cave is extremely delicate. It is our job as responsible cavers to ensure that we always follow the caver's motto.
Take Nothing But Pictures
Never remove anything from the cave. This includes removing cave formations even if they have been broken or damaged, animal bones or any other naturally occurring parts of the cave ecosystem.
Leave Nothing But Footprints
Take everything that you brought into the cave with you when you leave. If you find garbage left by a careless cavers please take it out of the cave as well. A cave ecosystem helpful hint: eat your lunch over a plastic bag to avoid dropping crumbs. Anytime you see a patch of odd looking mold on the cave trail then you know someone likely ate lunch there in the past!
Kill Nothing But Time
The cave ecosystem is more diverse than most people realize. Along with bats, pack rats and other animals that call the cave entrance home there are also a huge array of microorganisms that can be found in the soil, water and on cave formations. Disturbing a bat hibernacula or a maternity colony can be devastating to the bats that live there. While stepping in an isolated pool of water inside the cave can introduce foreign bacteria to the pool which can completely wipe out the unique life that has evolved in the pool over many thousands of years.
Every step you take has an impact. Stay on established trails, touch as little as possible and leave the passages in the same way that you found them. We all need to do our part to protect the beautiful and largely forgotten chambers hidden below the ground.
The Alberta Speleological Society is actively involved in local cave restoration projects. As government appointed stewards of Cadomin cave the Alberta Speleological Society has historically organized an annual restoration event call the "Cadomin Cleanup" once every year. The Cadomin clean up focused on removing trash and graffiti from this publicly accessible cave. Cadomin cave was closed to the public in 2009 due to a disease called White Nose Syndrome, that has been devastating colonies of hibernating bats across eastern Canada and the US. Since the fungus responsible for White Nose Syndrome could possibly be transferred from an affected cave to a non-affected cave on cavers clothing or gear; it is very important that we all follow WNS decontamination protocols.
The Rats Nest cave restoration project is an on going effort to repair the impact that cavers have on this popular cave. The Alberta Speleological Society volunteers are using a variety of restoration methods to remove mud from formations, limit future damage, create cave conservation awareness and photo monitoring to measure caver impact over time.