Rupert Cave Management Plan

Management Plans Rupert Cave Preserve

RUPERT CAVE – The first 1,800 feet of passage within Rupert Cave, between the entrance and the “Keyhole”, is considered the “Historical Section” of the cave. Beyond the “Keyhole” is considered the “New Section”. An aluminum sign positioned directly over the “Keyhole” clearly marks the dividing line. The two sections have distinct access / management policies, as described below:

• The building over the entrance to the cave is normally locked unless prior arrangements have been made with the owner / caretaker. The keys to the cave will not be loaned out. All trips should be scheduled one to six months in advance.
• Absolutely no “Cave for Pay” trips will be allowed. Trip leaders may not accept cash payments from trip members for inclusion on the trip or for the use of equipment.
• Every individual must sign in / out of the cave register, located in the entrance building, as they enter / exit the cave.
• Safe and conservation minded caving techniques should be taught / practiced while in the cave. Reckless behavior will not be tolerated. Trip members should never touch formations, and avoid touching the cave walls whenever possible.

HISTORICAL SECTION – This section of the cave can be made available to almost any appropriate group that wishes to visit it, provided that the group and the owner / caretaker can find a mutually agreeable time. The owner / caretaker reserves the right to reject any group that they deem not appropriate.

• Total group size shall not exceed twenty in the cave at one time. Groups larger then twenty must split up and take turns.
• Junior trip members (under the age of 16) must have adult supervision. A minimum of one adult for each four junior trip members is required.
• The “Earth Room” and the “Four Guards” have been designated as special conservation / restoration areas. Movement within these areas is limited by flagging tape, which may not be crossed.
• Every individual must have, as a minimum, the following equipment: a helmet with chinstrap, two or more reliable light sources, boots with good traction (absolutely no sneakers), and gloves.

NOTE – Helmet mounted lights are preferred, but not required. Junior trip members may carry only one light provided that they stay with their group at all times, and that the adult supervision has adequate back up lights for the group.

NEW SECTION – Due to the fragile nature of this part of the cave, and a desire to minimize caver impact, further restrictions apply. Access into this part of the cave is reserved for experienced cavers and organized caving groups affiliated with the National Speleological Society.

• Someone who knows the cave and is approved by the owners will guide all trips into the new section.
• There will be no more then six trips per year and trip size will be limited to six members plus a guide.
• Each trip member will be properly equipped for a 4+ hour trip. At a minimum this includes: a helmet with mounted light, three reliable light sources, boots, and gloves. Vertical carbide lamps are prohibited.
• Trip members will stay on established trails at all times. Extreme care must be taken to avoid damaging the cave.

Pennsylvania law prohibits the willful breakage, removal or defacing of any materials found naturally within a cave. This includes cave formations. Furthermore, it is unlawful to kill, injure, disturb or otherwise interfere with any cave life, including roosting bat. Visitors are not permitted to disturb or alter in any way the natural condition of any cave. Violations are punishable with fines up to $1,000 or imprisonment up to 30 days.

There is a significant level of danger associated with visiting any cave. All groups that enter Rupert Cave do so at their own risk. The owners, even when acting as trip leaders, make no assurances of safety for any trip member.

RESEARCH

Researchers are required to submit a preliminary report documenting initial findings, data, and project progress no later than 30 days after access to preserve. A final report is required within one year of completion of project. A schedule of reports for longer-term projects can be established if necessary. The owners reserve the right to comment upon published papers which might reveal sensitive information, and specifically prohibit publishing reports on the internet without their approval.

NON-DISCRMINATION POLICY

The MAKC promotes a policy of non-discrimination for everyone. That policy, adopted by the MAKC Board on February 16, 2019, is as follows:
The MAKC does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, granting membership, selection of project volunteers and serving on internal committees. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all board of directors, officers, agents, members, volunteers, and contributors. However, in enacting this policy, the MAKC and the owners remind all that safety of cave visitors as well as protection of the cave always comes first.

ANTI-HARRASSMENT POLICY

The MAKC follows the National Speleological Society’s anti-harassment policy. That policy is as follows:

The National Speleological Society and the MAKC are dedicated to providing a safe and harassment-free (experience) environment for our members and attendees at our events, on social media and within our organization. We will not tolerate harassment in any form. Any attendee that violates this policy will be (told) asked to leave the event and may be subject to further disciplinary action at the discretion of the MAKC Board.
Harassment includes but is not limited to inappropriate comments, inappropriate sexual behavior that warrants intervention, unwanted advances and touching, invasion of personal space in a sexual manner, deliberate intimidation, and unwelcomed sexual advances. In addition, harassment includes unwanted verbal, physical, cyber, or social aggressive behavior. The action of our members and guests will be closely monitored and if an incident of harassment is reported the event staff, volunteers, or MAKC representatives will (may) take corrective action against any offenders at the time of the incident, ranging from verbal warnings to expulsion from the area and/or event and a referral of the offender to the MAKC Board for consideration of expulsion from the MAKC.

If you are being harassed or witness another person being harassed, please contact a security staff member immediately. We will be happy to assist you and provide protection for our members and attendees. We value all of our members and attendees that come to caving events and want to ensure that your safety and well-being is a top priority.