Due to the danger, fragility, beauty, and misuse of caves, the Oregon Grotto does not give out cave locations. Perhaps the Stanislaus Grotto explains it best:
The Stanislaus Grotto is very protective about the locations of caves we visit. Too frequently, these have been vandalized by the removal of beautiful and delicate cave formations. We have also found graffiti and names painted or scratched on cave walls and a general deterioration of the cave environment due to excessive traffic. Caves represent a delicate environment and any changes or damages made in our lifetime will remain a scar for several lifetimes to come.
Because of these factors, cavers do not divulge, or print, the location of caves. Cave locations are only revealed as new members join the experienced members on trips to the various caves. Thus, the process of learning the location of caves may take several years, as the new member demonstrate that he/she is responsible in handling the trust placed in their hands. New members who want to know the location of all caves are often viewed with concern, as that bond of trust has not yet been established.
The Oregon Grotto agrees with the above quote. Most people try to be careful and responsible in caves, but some people steal formations, spray paint the walls, or just don't realize the importance of being careful in caves. Therefore, responsible cavers do not give out locations of caves unless they know the recipient very well.
We’re not saying that you (reader) would purposely damage or destroy a cave. We’re just explaining why cave locations aren't given out more freely. Many Oregon Grotto members started caving in a position that you may be in right now: trying to locate wild caves to explore on their own. How are you supposed to find caves, anyway? Searching the internet and e-mailing individuals often is not very effective.
Here’s a quote from Wayne and Margaret Harrison:
While we do believe that caves are for all, it doesn't mean that people should be allowed to visit them without any knowledge of cave safety or ethics. That's why the general public isn't allowed to run rampant over Yellowstone thermal areas. It's no different with caves. If you want to visit wild caves, consider joining the National Speleological Society and visiting one of the local NSS clubs (called Grottos). It's not about keeping the caves to ourselves. It's about making the caves available to those who accept the stewardship of them. Enjoy them, protect them, and cave safely.
Joining a local Grotto (caving club) is the very best way to learn about wild caves and their locations! You get to participate in caving trips, learn about cave conservation, get a newsletter, meet other cavers, etc. If you are serious about caves and their conservation, we would highly recommend that you join a local Grotto. The Oregon Grotto meets in Vancouver, Washington, so if you live in the area, drop by to one of our meetings. If you aren't near the Oregon Grotto, you can find out about other Grottos at this web site: http://www.caves.org/io/grottos.shtml
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Next time you go caving, remember this: "Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, and kill nothing but time."