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Indiana DNR News Release


For immediate release: December 29, 1997

DNR’s new cave policy designed to protect the public and wild caves

	People exploring wild caves on Indiana Department of Natural Resources
properties will do their spelunking under a new policy recently adopted by the
Natural Resources Commission to protect fragile cave resources, and to provide
a system for public safety and rescuing people in danger.
	The Karst and Cave Policy, developed by a Caves Task Force, takes effect Jan.
1, 1998.
	“The policy is designed to reduce the increasing number and severity of
accidents that occur in wild caves,” said Jeff Cummings, a naturalist at
Harrison-Wyandotte State Forest Complex near Corydon, Ind. where many wild
caves are located. “The policy also will reduce the growing problem of
vandalism in caves on state-owned land,” Cummings said. 
	Beginning April 1, cavers on DNR land must have a permit to enter wild caves.
Wild caves include any natural cavities in the earth that have not been
altered from their natural states for commercial viewing. Fees for caving
permits will be determined by the Natural Resources Commission, and permits
will be available at DNR State Parks and Reservoirs, State Forests, and Fish
and Wildlife Areas where wild caves are located.
	The Caves Task Force was formed in 1995 by individuals interested in cave conservation.
	Task force members included professionals from the DNR, several area grottos,
the Indiana Karst Conservancy, the US Forest Service, the Harrison County
Hospital and the Indiana State Police.
	To obtain a copy of the Karst and Cave Policy, contact the DNR Division of Forestry,
1998 Caves Policy, 402 W. Washington St. Room W296, Indianapolis, IN 46204, or
call 317/232-4105.

For more information:
Jeff Cummings, Naturalist, Harrison-Wyandotte Complex, 812/738-8232
Ben Hubbard, Property Program Director, 317/232-4105