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A Partnership in Cave Conservation

A new partnership between the National Speleological Society (NSS) and Land Trust of North Alabama will help ensure the many caves found on Land Trust preserves as well as the fragile life that inhabits them remain protected.

The National Speleological Society is the world’s largest non-profit membership organization dedicated to cave education, exploration, conservation and management. Earlier this month, the Land Trust of North Alabama signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the NSS that paves the way for the creation of management plans for Land Trust protected caves along with partnership opportunities for future conservation projects.

Among Land Trust assets are several caves considered significant from an exploration, conservation or educational standpoint. The NSS, which owns 15 cave and nature preserves across the United States, will provide considerable expertise for protecting these delicate underground ecosystems.

“We are very excited to take these important steps together with the organization that’s helping to save North Alabama’s great natural places for future generations,” said Geary Schindel, NSS president, of San Antonio, Texas. “We’ve identified broad areas of common interests and objectives and look forward to helping each other with management and protection of current cave resources as well as future acquisitions.”

Among activities featured in the agreement, the NSS and LTNA will also: 

  • Share the latest cave management practices, cave protection and management plans
  • Work together to develop and manage a permitting system for accessing caves on Land Trust properties to avoid adverse impacts
  • Support careful, conscientious use of cave and groundwater resources by making visitation as low-impact as possible and following a “leave no trace” policy for visitors and researchers where possible
  • Look for opportunities to jointly develop cave-related educational opportunities in the community

“The caves and karst features of our area are fascinating—but often fragile—environments. This partnership with the NSS creates new opportunities to collaborate on stewardship efforts and provide the community with educational programs that highlight the unique geology of North Alabama,” said Marie Bostick, LTNA executive director.

Additionally, each organization will now be able to provide their respective memberships special benefits and programs as a result of the new agreement. As new projects and opportunities develop through our partnership with the NSS, we’ll be sure to share more details!

For more information about The National Speleological Society visit www.caves.org or call 256-852-1300.