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National Cave & Karst Research Institute

Description: The National Cave and Karst Research Institute was mandated by Act of Congress in October 1998 (Public Law 105-325). The National Park Service (NPS) is the lead agency for establishing the Institute. The enabling Act states that: the Institute will be located in the vicinity of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico, but not within the boundaries of the Park; that the Institute may form a wide base of partnerships, and; that the Secretary may only spend such Federal funds as are matched by an equal amount of non-Federal funds.

Geographic area covered: Worldwide mission, stated in the Congressional enabling act.

List of Partners and Relationships: Federal partners include: NPS (will "jointly administer" the institute), US Geological Survey (USGS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), US Forest Service (USFS), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). State partners include: New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources; Western Kentucky University. Local entities involved include: City of Carlsbad; Carlsbad Department of Development. Non-Governmental Agencies (NGOs) include the National Speleological Society; American Cave Conservation Association, Karst Waters Institute, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and Boston University.

Accomplishments to date: Publication of four Karst-related books. Establishment of fledgling Institute with one full-time employee and one NPS employee on detail. Two affiliated scientists are employed by New Mexico Tech.

Key success factors:

  1. Phenomenal political support from both Senators, a local Congressman, and a local state Representative.

  2. Willingness of NPS-GRD to make a "leap of faith" by providing seed money to start the process and allow an Interim Director to identify matching funds.

Frustrations: No similar models within the NPS. A conservative environment for launching a new initiative. The legislative mandate to raise at least one-half of the funding outside the federal government while operating under DO21. The City of Carlsbad secured funds for building the headquarters faster than we have been able to prepare a firm vision for the use of the building.

Most important lessons learned to date:

  1. Amazing things happen when there is strong, united support from federal and state legislatures.

  2. Look for models outside NPS and even Department of the Interior. The Smithsonian, Department of Defense, NASA, and Department of Energy had more applicable models.

What would you do differently next time: Bring in the broader community (non-federal, including academics and volunteer groups) earlier to develop a long-term vision.

Suggested resource materials(related to the case study): Information will be available at

For more information:

Name: Louise Hose
Affiliation: Director of the Institute, NPS, WASO
Phone/Fax: 505-234-5561

Partnership category(ies) (check all that apply)

Fundraising __; Capital Improvements__; Facility Management __; Trails __; Design __; Program Delivery __; Visitor Services __; Tenant Organizations __; Concessioners __; Natural Resources Management/Restoration __; Cultural Resources __; Education/Interpretation _X_; Arts __; Information Services _X_; Transportation __; Mutual Aid __; Fire Management __; Planning __; Tourism __; Community Relations __;

Other ____________________________

Prepared by: Louise Hose Date posted: 8/5/03
Phone: 505-234-5561

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