Ceiling anchor

Conservation and Restoration

Caver's Motto: Take nothing but pictures.  Leave nothing but footprints.  Kill nothing but time.

The Alberta Speleological Society passionately supports conservative low impact caving.  The ecosystem and many physical features  within caves are extremely delicate.  It is our job as responsible cavers to ensure that we always follow the caver's motto.  We support the values and activities of organizations dedicated to cave conservation such as the Canadian Cave Conservancy.

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. Speleothems such as stalactites may have taken many thousands of years to grow and are useless as souvenirs; they simply crumble away after being removed from the high-humidity environment of the cave.

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!  It should go without saying, but it is extremely bad form to leave either liquid or solid human waste in a cave; it persists for a very long time, as the cave ennvironment does not have the natural cleaning processes that occur on the surface. Try to void before entering a cave; for longer trips experienced cavers take empty plastic sacks / bottles and pack it out.

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 may also be some smaller life forms (e.g. troglodytic isopods in water) and 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.  Stepping in an isolated pool of water inside the cave can introduce foreign bacteria to the pool which can completely wipe out 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 periodic restoration events, focused on removing trash and graffiti from this formerly - 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 and respect any closures such as the one in place for Cadomin.

The Rats Nest Cave restoration project is an ongoing effort to repair the impact that cavers have had 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 conduct photo monitoring to measure caver impact over time.