Rats Nest cave, situated ten minutes from Canmore, Alberta, sees a lot more visitors then an average Canadian Rockies cave. It is a favorite destination for local cavers and tourists alike. Guided wild cave tours are available from Canmore Caverns year round. While Rats Nest offers up a great opportunity to introduce non-cavers to the sport of caving and is an idyllic setting for new cavers to practice thier skill; the large number of visitors leads to more damage to the cave environment.
In March of 2012 the Alberta Speleological Society started its Rats Nest cave restoration project. The project's main objectives are to educate both new and experienced cavers on the wide variety of impact they have on the cave environment, remove damaging mud from the flowstone formations and promote conservation minded caving.
Removing mud from cave formations is a daunting task. Many of the formations along the trails have been coated in cave mud as visitors carelessly brush by or touching them with a muddied glove. This mud must be removed or over time it will get "built" into the formation. Armed with tooth brushes, clean cave water and endless patience our volunteers spend hours slowly removing these traces of careless caving. Rats Nest Restoration Video by Marc Navarro.
During the non-caving season (typically from November to May) the Alberta Speleological Society will be hosting restoration trips to Rats Nest cave. Please check the events calendar for current trip dates. All trips down the bone bed passage require SRT training and gear.
Check out this very informative Book for more information of cave conservation: Cave Conservation and Restoration by Val Hildreth-Werker and Jim C. Werker