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About the Cave Conservancy of Hawai`i

cave passage, by Dave Bunnell

The Cave Conservancy of Hawai`i (CCH) was formed on July 10, 2002 as a Hawai`i non-profit corporation.  Our purpose is to acquire and manage caves for scientific study, educate individuals interested in speleology, and conserve cave resources on the islands of Hawai`i.

Many caves in Hawai`i are on private property. This means that caves have little to no protection from threats brought on by increased commerce and habitation in the area. Individuals living close to the caves will eventually bring them to public knowledge. This can bring uncontrolled visitation to the caves, causing destruction through overuse and vandalism. Many Hawai`i caves are sensitive or fragile. There is a possibility of looting of many artifacts contained in the caves. Surface bulldozing has caused structural collapse of several caves on the islands. The new entrances can cause changes in the meteorology of the caves, and changes in moisture. This can alter the local cave biology. Pesticides used in farming may cause neurological damage or even death to cave dwelling arthropods. Increased surface development can also introduce exotic and pest species to the area. These species can compete with the native flora and fauna, destroying the local ecosystem. Surface development can also bring improperly constructed septic systems, which can dump raw sewage into the caves. Sinkholes have also become a location for illegal dumping. In short, Hawai`i caves are threatened in many areas!

By managing the land surrounding the caves, the Cave Conservancy of Hawai`i can ensure that surface development has minimal impact to the cave system. This can be accomplished via conservation easements, underground leases, and purchase of property. The conservancy can provide other services such as access control, liability protection, and educational seminars. The conservancy also has access to cave scientists and cave management specialists that can provide expert analysis and help in protecting the caves.

We have received 501(c)-3 designation from the IRS as a tax-exempt organization.