To protect cave environments, cave visitors should not leave ANY food; even crumbs. These have the potential to disrupt the natural food chain in the cave and cause an unusual increase in certain organisms at the expense of others. All trash must be carefully removed from caves and disposed of properly. To prevent contamination of the cave Ecosystem, all body waste must be carried out and disposed of properly. Remember there are no restrooms underground, so this need should be satisfied before entering. Think ahead when planning a long cave visit by carrying a container to remove wastes.
Wood fires, the use of safety flares, smoking, fireworks, and smoke emitting devices should never be used in caves. This includes the entrance. Remember that smoke travels, so try to get as far from a cave as you can.
To protect the vegetation in the entrances: Sort your gear and get ready on the surface away from the sink; Walk single file and on established trails through the sink (don't forget to do the same when exiting the cave); Extinguish your carbide lamp in the barren twilight zone before passing under or over vegetation.
The use of carbide lights is discouraged. Recharging carbide lamps nearly always results in minor spillage. Be sure to carry a heat proof container for spent carbide. (Exchangeable bottoms work the best, as they minimize spillage and don't melt.) Cave life is particularly sensitive to heat, so carbide lamps should not be used to observe biota. Make sure that all electric lamp batteries are removed from the cave and disposed of by recycling.
The Federal Cave Resource Protection Act prohibits the collecting or removing of any natural feature from Federally owned caves. Minimal collecting for scientific purposes, by persons with appropriate credentials, requires a collecting permit.
Defacement of any cave is illegal and can result in significant fines. Therefore, if you should happen upon vandalism in progress- take photos, license plate numbers, ask questions (most vandals don't realize that they can get prosecuted) and then report the information to the appropriate authorities. Do not force a confrontation!!
Click on a link below to learn more about cave conservation.