Defining Moments - Cave Management Begins
The beginning of the cave management program
NPS Photo by Jim Pisarowicz
The park's surface area had been serving as a laboratory on the plains for decades with researchers studying the park's plants and animals. During the same period, very little research occurred in the cave. In 1984, at the insistence of the Assistant Chief of Interpretation Kay Rohde, seasonal ranger Warren Netherton was hired into a part-time position to start a cave management program. Netherton monitored the cave's climate, developed a cave inventory procedure, and worked to reduce algae in the cave. It was this position, later made permanent and initially filled by Jim Nepstad, that lead to the establishment of a cave management operation that sought to preserve and manage the cave based on science.