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Cave Checklist
INQUIRE ABOUT THE CAVE BEFORE TRIP? When taking a surface trip, you would make it a point to learn something about your route and the type of country you would be traveling through. Do the same with caves.
AT LEAST ONE EXPERIENCED CAVER IN EACH CAVE PARTY? NO ONE ENTERS THE CAVE ALONE.
Minimum party of three is the rule.
 
•  WORD LEFT WITH SOMEONE, STATING WHICH CAVE VISITED. Left approximate return time and instructions that if not returned within six hours of planned time, someone should be contacted for help. State police - 911
•  RAIN IN WEATHER FORECAST? It is extremely dangerous to enter a gypsum or other storm-drain type cave if there is the slightest possibility of a rainstorm anywhere near the area.
•  COMPLETE FIRST AID KIT WITH GROUP. In case of injury in the cave: [1] one person goes for help while one person remains with the injured party. [2] keep injured warm and treat for shock. [3] if there is any doubt concerning the extent of injury, don't attempt to move the injured until help arrives.
•  MINIMUM OF THREE SEPARATE LIGHTING SYSTEMS FOR EACH PERSON. HAVE SPARE BATTERIES AND BULBS. Carbide lamps good for emergency backup and heat source. Chemical light sticks good backup light source.
•  HELMET REQUIRED FOR EACH PERSON. Construction-grade hard hats or UIAA-approved caving or rock-climbing helmets, with non-elastic chin strap fastened at all times while in cave. No other helmet type is considered safe in a cave environment.
•  USE STURDY ANKLE-SUPPORTING, NON-MARKING LUG-SOLE HIKING BOOTS. Leather soles are no good in caves.

•  USE STURDY PROTECTIVE CLOTHING. Coveralls or pants like blue jeans and long-sleeved shirts. Knee pads and leather gloves are standard items. Leather gloves protect formations from body oils and serve to keep your hands warm and clean.

•  AT LEAST ONE QUART OF WATER PER PERSON. Foods high in carbohydrates are good for this activity. A spare emergency food ration is recommended.
•  ALCOHOL OR OTHER DRUGS LEFT BEHIND. They cause disorientation and impaired motor function which can easily result in serious cave injury or death.
•  PETS LEFT ON SURFACE. They are not allowed in protected, permitted caves.
•  AVOID ATTEMPTS TO PENETRATE PILES OF UNSTABLE OR LOOSE EARTH, ROCK BREAKDOWN. These can be very dangerous!
•  STAY WITHIN OUR ABILITY AND EXPERIENCE. Never attempt to explore further into cave than a point from which you could safely find your way out. Continually look back while traveling through cave passages. They look much different from opposite direction, and being able to recognize them might avoid trouble. Do not use string or other trash to mark your route.
•  ON THE WAY OUT RETRIEVED ANY AND ALL ROUTE MARKERS, such as flagging tape or reflective markers. If you don't they may confuse others and you have littered the natural cave environment. You are not doing anyone a favor by leaving markers behind - each group has to experience the cave for themselves.

•  Remove ALL HUMAN WASTE FROM CAVE. Cigarette smoke is not a natural cave element and can impact cave life. People have a tendency to unconsciously flip cigarette butts, resulting in litter and organic waste. Spitting tobacco and leaving other human waste can attract micro-organisms dangerous to human health. Microbial action on various types of human waste will cause unpleasant odors. Cave visitors are advised to remove all human waste from cave environments and dispose of it properly.

•  Remove ALL MANMADE LITTER FOUND IN THE CAVE, EXCEPT FOR SURVEY MARKERS AND SPECIAL FLAGGING TAPE, CLOSING AN AREA OR MARKING A SPECIAL FEATURE. Burying garbage in-cave is unhealthy for the cave environment; on the surface, it is dug up by wild animals and blown around by the wind. Package spent carbide in plastic bags or plastic containers, remove it from cave and dispose of it properly. Spent carbide left in-cave kills cave life!

•  AVOID CONTACT WITH BATS. Disturbing hibernating bats causes them to use up stored food reserves, which cannot be replenished due to lack of insects for food, resulting in death. Hibernating bats may also die from shock if they are suddenly awakened. All bats in this region are insect eaters, one bat can eat up to six times its weight in insects per night. A bat colonies are of great benefit to area farmers!
•  Do NOT TOUCH FORMATIONS WITH BARE HANDS. Caves are very fragile and are subject to vandalism and unintentional damage. Many formations will break at the slightest touch and can't be repaired or replaced. Oil and mud from your hands will stain formations and inhibit their natural growth.
•  AT SURFACE CAMP PRACTICE LEAVE NO TRACE OUTDOOR AND BACK COUNTRY ETIQUETTE.
•  LEAVE NO TRACE is a national program that emphasizes to all backcountry users: pack out what you pack in, leave backcountry places cleaner than you found them, and leave natural and cultural resources intact for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations. This is how citizens can join with public land agencies in maintaining and protecting beautiful, fragile public lands - both arid and forested, surface and underground.
•  KEEP CAMP CLEAN - LEFT CAMP CLEAN. NATURALIZED SITE BEFORE LEAVING. Earn the appreciation of those who follow you and set a good example for them, too.
•  RESPECT PRIVATE PROPERTY AND OBTAIN PERMISSION FROM THE OWNER(S) BEFORE CROSSING.
•  VEHICLES, ROADS AND GATES. Leave all fences and gates as found. Park vehicles to avoid blocking roads or gates. Operate vehicles only where they will not cause ruts or start erosion. Avoid driving on two-track dirt roads when wet. Stay on established roads wherever possible.
•  AVOID DISTURBING WILDLIFE AND LIVESTOCK BY CAMPING AWAY FROM WATER SOURCES. Watch speed during lambing and calving season, March and April. Lambs separated from mothers usually don't survive. Waited for sheep to clear road before passing.
•  USE ONLY DEAD AND DOWNED WOOD FOR CAMPFIRES. BUILD CAMPFIRES ONLY IN SAFE PLACES AND NEVER LEAVE THEM UNATTENDED. Be aware of fire danger in area: you are responsible for checking with local, state and federal agencies to find out if fire restrictions are in effect. A person or persons who cause a wild land fire may be held financially liable for suppression costs.
 
CAVERS' MOTTO:
TAKE NOTHING BUT PICTURES & INSPIRATION LEAVE NOTHING BUT WELL-PLACED FOOTSTEPS KILL NOTHING BUT TIME
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