Abstract - Cave Management: A New Beginning at Wind Cave

Rohde, Katherine. 1985. Cave Management: A New Beginning at Wind Cave. Proceedings of the 1984 National Cave Management Symposium. pp. 103-108.


Wind Cave presents special challenges to effective and protective cave management. Now exceeding forty miles in length, and with more than 1,000 known leads, it is more important than even that a strong cave management strategy be implemented. The very history of the cave's exploration and exploitation, added to the incredible complexity of its forty miles of passage increases the problem of managing this resource in the best manner for future generations to enjoy.

The first step in cave management is to inventory the cave, to determine what resources are present. The size of the cave, the maziness of its passages and the fact that there have been so many people involved in the cave have made use of established inventory procedures impractical. Many individuals and groups have been involved in the explorations and discoveries at Wind Cave throughout its 103 year history, and because of its complexity and size, many people are going to have to be involved in the gathering of data that will provide Park management with the tools with which to protect fragile cave resources and to provide enjoyment of the resource to all visitors no matter what their skill level; from guided tour through the developed portions, to a caving experience by permit in specially zoned areas.

Planning for Cave Management at Wind Cave includes utilizing all of the groups or individuals presently using or working in the cave to assist with inventory through the use of a Trip Report from developed at Wind Cave. Strategies will be examined and evaluated for recruiting other assistance in the inventory process, as well as to assist with other cave management actions. These would include photo monitoring, research, search and rescue, and other expanded uses of the cave resource.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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