Trout Run Woods Caves Leased
On March 18, 2004, The Mid-Atlantic Karst Conservancy leased 4,000 acres of property and 30 (formerly closed) caves in western Pennsylvania. The property will be available for visitation beginning April 15, and will be open for six months. There will be no camping and no night visitation. One cave will have limited visitation and advance permission required. The new preserve will be known as the Trout Run Woods Preserve.
The negotiations took more than 16 months and involved numerous hurdles. Due to the sensitivity of the caves and the problems involved with visitation when the property was formerly open, more than 10 years ago, we have only provided a limited version of the management plan on this website.
What that means is that there will be no cave names posted here, and we ask that cavers NOT post trips to these caves on listserves and specific cave names, photos and information on websites.
After the complicated and protracted negotiations, we don’t want the first visitors to be a bunch of spray-paint graffiti artists, or people who formerly went to this area and held big parties. Some of the recent problems in this cave area were detailed in a recent Karst Chronicle. Having said that, we note that we do want to encourage organized cavers and especially MAKC members to visit.
The information will be made available to grottos for print publication in their newsletters. This has been a very sensitive negotiation, and the new owners of this property DO NOT HAVE TO open this property back up to caving. They also DO NOT HAVE TO keep it open. We want to be pro-active We want people who have questions or who desire to cave in this region once more to contact organized caving groups and grottos. An e-mail address for the new preserve will also be set up as firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Trout Run Woods Cave Preserve contains more than three dozen caves, several of which are significant. There are many other “FRO” or for the record only caves; however, when studied together as one unit, and when studying the biology, geology, and hydrology of the caves, they become more significant. Nearly all of the caves on the preserve show indications of habitation by the eastern woodrat, a threatened species. Many of the caves are inhabited by bats. The caves with streams are especially significant because they drain into a public water supply. Thus, these caves provide not only a recreational value, but significance on many other levels.
Members of the MAKc monitor these caves on a regular basis. Several studies have been done on caves in the region, and additional proposals are always welcome.