Leader: George Veni, Ph.D., Executive Director, National Cave and Karst Research Institute
Trip Limit: 29 attendees
Focus: Many styles of cave and karst management occur to fit their diversity and needs. The styles also vary according to the type of ownership and general land use. This trip spotlights three styles of ownership/management. It will first visit a small, lovely, privately owned show cave where management is focused public access, education, and safety. Next is a public nature center with an attached private nature preserve where natural resource protection is the primary focus, followed by public education/access and research. The final stop is on a privately owned ranch trying to protect over 150 years of family stewardship from now rapidly encroaching suburban development. The trip is designed for people interested in contrasting landscape-wide and site-specific approaches to cave and karst management.
Logistics: The group will travel in two 15-passenger vans. Lunch will be provided at the Cibolo Center for Conservation. No caving equipment is needed. A camera, comfortable hiking shoes, and a reusable water bottle (drinking water will be provided) are suggested. One stop will involve crossing a shallow stream (typically 10-20 cm deep) so consider crossing barefoot or in sandals and bringing a small towel. Details are subject to change. Rain is not expected but could require a change in some destinations
8:00 – 9:15 am: Leave Recreation Center and arrive at Cave Without a Name.
9:15 – 11:30 am: Enter Cave Without a Name to discuss show cave management and methods for trail, lighting, tourist management, public education, and vandalism.
11:30 am – 12:00 pm: Leave Cave Without a Name and arrive at the Cibolo Center for Conservation.
12:00 – 1:00 pm: Lunch provided at the Cibolo Center for Conservation, where staff from this park will describe public education and natural resource protection challenges.
1:00 – 3:15 pm: Tour the adjacent Cibolo Preserve and caves and karst features along Cibolo Creek. Discuss water quality challenges from an upstream sewage treatment plant, neighboring urban developments, and the naturally evolving karst landscape that is capturing the stream and depriving water to the downstream riparian area.
3:15 – 4:00 pm: Leave Cibolo Preserve and arrive at Honey Creek Cave.
4:00 – 5:15 pm: Visit the entrance of Honey Creek Cave, Texas’ longest cave, and the headwaters of its namesake Honey Creek. Discuss state and private efforts to protect this pristine riparian area, one of the few left in Texas, from proposed suburban development that may degrade water quality of surface runoff and groundwater through the cave.
5:15 – 6:00 pm: Leave Honey Creek Cave and arrive at Bracken Bat Cave. There is no set time to return to San Marcos, but the trip will take about 40 minutes.