Cave & Karst Program Objectives, Policy, & Guidance

The Bureau of Land Management manages nearly 1,000 caves in the eleven western states.  Following is information on the objectives, policy, and guidance of the BLM's cave and karst program. 
Cave & Karst Program Objectives
The objectives of BLM’s Cave and Karst Program are to:

  • Looking out from inside of caveManage cave and karst systems to protect and maintain their biologic, geologic, mineralogic, paleontological, hydrologic, cultural, educational, scientific, and recreational values;
  • Protect sensitive, fragile, biological, ecological, hydrological, geological, scientific, recreational, cultural, and other cave values from damage; and ensures that they are maintained for the use of the public, both now and in the future;
  • Establish surface and subsurface management practices and policies that are adequate to ensure long-term protection for cave and karst systems;
  • Address cave and karst resources and issues in all appropriate management plans including recreation, wildlife, watershed or other multi-resource activity plans and, as applicable, in NEPA documents;
  • Ensure the listing of caves meeting the significance criteria and the confidentiality of cave locations;
  • Promote consistency among Federal agencies with cave management responsibilities, where appropriate;
  • Facilitate the efficient and effective exchange of information between Federal, State, and local agencies, private organizations, research institutions, and individuals concerned with the management, protection, or scientific investigation of cave resources;
  • Identify, evaluate, manage, and protect cave resources on public lands for the purpose of maintaining their unique, nonrenewable, and fragile biological, geological, hydrological, cultural, paleontological, scientific, and recreational values for present and future uses;
  • Encourage volunteer involvement of qualified and experienced individuals and caving organizations in cave management projects, through the use of volunteer and cooperative management agreements;
  • Work closely with interested parties to identify and address cave management opportunities and issues;
  • Integrate the identification and management of the caves and their associated resources values into resource management planning and management efforts, and avoid or minimize conflicts between cave resource management and other surface and subsurface resource management activities;
  • Provide user opportunities which are compatible and consistent with objectives set forth in Resource Management and Activity Plans, including recreation, education, research, or commercial activities; and
  • Promote awareness among users and managers of caves on public lands through development of informational and educational materials concerning conservation methods and potential hazards.
Cave & Karst Program BLM Policy

Cave & Karst Program Guidance (Legislative & Regulatory)