Cave Cleanup Guidelines

The SCCi owns or manages several properties that have been vandalized, abused or used as illegal dump sites. Individuals and organizations wanting to help in the clean-up of these properties and sites are welcomed and encouraged by the SCCi. The following policy is designed to protect the  properties, the caves, their artifacts, and their biota, and to ensure fairness to those desiring to conduct clean-up projects at our preserves. If you’re interested in conducting a cleanup trip in one of our caves, apply for a permit SCCi Cleanup Permit, or contact the Stewardship Chair for more information.

When is a Clean-up Permit required?

  • A permit is not required when the maximum group size for a preserve will not be exceeded or for trips where only trash or small debris removal is anticipated.
  • A permit is required when the maximum group size for a preserve will be exceeded, formations repaired, graffiti or paint removed, when an entrance or entrance sink is cleaned, or when removal of appliances or large quantities of debris and trash is anticipated.

SCCi Policy for Permitted Clean-up Projects

  1. All qualifying individuals and organizations wishing to engage in a clean-up project on SCCi owned or managed properties must submit an application to the SCCi Stewardship Chair. The Stewardship Chair will review the application and if approved, the individual or organization will enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the SCCi that describes the responsibilities of both parties.
  2. A summary of the proposed clean-up shall be submitted before all permitted clean-up trips. The summary should include estimated numbers of participants, date of proposed trip(s), cleaning methods to be used, section(s) to be cleaned, funding if any, and any related information pertinent to the clean-up. If hauling systems are to be used, elaborate on system, methods used, erosion control, biota protection and grounds restoration planned (see “SCCi Clean-up Permit Application”).
  3. Applicants must submit their qualifications to conduct such a project.
  4. Applicants must reveal any funding involved in the project, and any contracts or subcontracts involved in such project.
  5. Applicants will be responsible for obtaining any necessary permits. Copies of required permits will be provided with the approved application.
  6. A signed liability release is required for each participant. Release forms will be provided by the SCCi Property Manager or Representative.
  7. Applicants will provide sanitation facilities if group size mandates.
  8. Before any cleaning begins, an inventory or survey of the affected area of the preserve or cave must be performed and presented to the Stewardship Chair. Inventories shall include listings and locations, and where appropriate, photographs, of any historical graffiti of possible significance,  petroglyphs, drawings and or possible art, formation areas, and cave life. A careful eye is required to determine the origin of such items. It is recommended an archaeologist or other qualified personnel be enlisted for this inspection.
  9. An appointed SCCi Representative will be present at all clean-ups and have sole authority to halt the clean-up if unacceptable or unsafe practices are observed or the SCCi Clean-up Policy is not adhered to.
  10. Applicant is responsible for maintaining a sign-in/sign-out list. A copy of this list must be provided in the final report.
  11. Use bristle type brushes for removal of graffiti or paint – either natural or man made fiber is acceptable. If more aggressive metal or steel brushes are necessary, approval by the SCCi Representative is required.
  12. Graffiti and paint removal will begin with the least-invasive removal methods before more aggressive methods are employed.
  13. Generators may be used to supply electricity for lights and ventilation only. Under no circumstances will electrical power tools, sand blasting or glass bead blasting be permitted.
  14. Areas not to be cleaned will be clearly defined and marked.
  15. If trash collection containers are used, approval for placement by the SCCi Representative is required.
  16. Applicant is responsible for the removal and disposal of collected materials, unless otherwise stated.
  17. A final report must be submitted within a reasonable time to the Stewardship Chair upon completion of any permitted clean-up trip. Reports should include:
  • Date(s) of clean-up trip.
  • List of participants.
  • Signed release forms for all participants.
  • Details of section(s) cleaned, including photographs of before and after shots of the affected
  • area or passage(s) when possible.
  • List of products used, i.e. solutions, brushes, etc. If cleaning solutions are used,
  • manufacturer data sheets must be provided.
  • Any cave life disturbed.
  • Any hazardous materials found or disturbed.

 Application Review and Approval Procedure

  1. Completed clean-up applications are to be sent to the Stewardship Chair.
  2. The Stewardship Chair is responsible for:
    • Reviewing the application and seeking any additional specialists if necessary to evaluate the application.
    • Providing oversight for the clean-up project if the application is approved.
  3. For properties not owned by the SCCi, the Stewardship Chair shall provide a copy of the proposed permit to the owner and obtain the owner’s permission for the project. If the issue is addressed in the management contract, then the Stewardship Chair will abide by the management contract. Deviations from management contracts will be brought before the Board Chair for approval.
  4. The Stewardship Chair will review the application in a timely fashion but may take up to one (1) month to review and give a recommendation to approve or disapprove to the Board Chair.
  5. The Board Chair will approve or disapprove the application.
  6. The Stewardship Chair should identify any problems, issues, and other items that need to be addressed in a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). These items may include but are not limited to:
    Restrictions or guidelines on collection or cleaning techniques.

    • Disposal of material collected.
    • Collection and disposal of human waste.
    • Designation of an individual to represent the SCCi during the course of the project.
    • Exceptions to numbers of individuals normally allowed in cave.
  7. The Stewardship Chair is responsible for developing the MOA and sending it to the Board Chair for approval before sending it to the applicant.
  8. The Stewardship Chair is responsible for notifying the applicant.
  9. Any issues related to the MOA must be negotiated by the Stewardship Chair before it is sent to the Board Chair for final signature.
  10. Amendments to the MOA that are suggested after the Clean-up has begun are the responsibility of the Stewardship Chair and the SCCi Representative.