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Cave and Karst Management

Exhibit 5 - Significant Caves Criteria

(From Code Of Federal Regulations, Title 43--Public Lands: Interior Subtitle A--Office of the Secretary of the Interior, Part 37--Cave Management)

A significant cave on Federal lands shall possess one or more of the following features, characteristics, or values.

(1) Biota. The cave provides seasonal or yearlong habitat for organisms or animals, or contains species or subspecies of flora or fauna that are native to caves, or are sensitive to disturbance, or are found on State or Federal sensitive, threatened, or endangered species lists.

(2) Cultural. The cave contains historic properties or archaeological resources (as described in 36 CFR 60.4 and 43 CFR 7.3) or other features that are included in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places because of their research importance for history or prehistory, historical associations, or other historical or traditional significance.

(3) Geologic/Mineralogic/Paleontologic. The cave possesses one or more of the following features:

        (i) Geologic or mineralogic features that are fragile, or that exhibit interesting formation processes, or that are otherwise useful for study.

        (ii) Deposits of sediments or features useful for evaluating past events.

        (iii) Paleontologic resources with potential to contribute useful educational and scientific information.

(4) Hydrologic. The cave is a part of a hydrologic system or contains water that is important to humans, biota, or development of cave resources.

(5) Recreational. The cave provides or could provide recreational opportunities or scenic values.

(6) Educational or Scientific. The cave offers opportunities for educational or scientific use; or, the cave is virtually in a pristine state, lacking evidence of contemporary human disturbance or impact; or, the length, volume, total depth, pit depth, height, or similar measurements are notable.

(NOTE) National Park Service policy. The policy of the National Park Service, pursuant to its Organic Act of 1916 (16 U.S.C. 1, et seq.) and Management Policies (Chapter 4:20, Dec. 1988), is that all caves are afforded protection and will be managed in compliance with approved resource management plans. Accordingly, all caves on National Park Service-administered lands are deemed to fall within the definition of "significant cave."

Cave and Karst Management Table of Contents | RM#77 Table of Contents
update on 02/05/2004  I   http://www.nature.nps.gov/rm77/caves/Exhibit5.cfm   I  Email: Contact Us
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