Our Policies

  • Normal access time is from 7:00 A.M. until 9:00 P.M. daily. Visitors should plan to exit the property by closing time.
  • As this is a Conservancy, all visitors to the cave and land above are required to use minimal impact techniques (also called Leave No Trace Principles), which are basically the following, called the Caver's Creed:

    Take nothing but photographs
    Leave nothing but footprints
    Kill nothing but time

  • All visitors must sign in at the kiosk. Completed waiver release forms are to be left underneath the clipboard if nobody is present to collect them while signing in.
  • Each caver must wear a helmet with chinstrap and carry three independent sources of light while in the cave. At least one of the lights must be mounted to the helmet. For more guidelines on safe caving principles, please review the Guide to Responsible Caving, published by the National Speleological Society.
  • All trash must be carried out of the cave and off of the property.
  • Group size is a minimum of 3 adults unless otherwise approved by the executive board. At least one person in the group is required to have sufficient knowledge of the cave to avoid becoming lost.
  • Groups containing minors shall have at least one adult for every 5 minors and must have the already stated minimum of 3 adults.
  • Groups of more than 15 individuals need to apply for a special use permit.
  • Any group charging money for participation in the trips must have a special use permit and approval by the executive board and Richard Blenz. Groups may be required to show proof of liability insurance which specifically names the Richard Blenz Nature Conservancy, Inc, it's officers, and Richard Blenz, as coinsured and indemnified. This type of use of the property is highly discouraged. Individuals pooling money for common expenses are exempted.
  • Alcohol or other intoxicants are completely prohibited in the cave. Alcohol use is prohibited on the property except by special permission from the executive board. Anyone witnessed drinking or partaking in intoxicants or illegal substances on the property will be asked to leave and may have membership revoked and banned from further access to the property at the discretion of the executive board.
  • Smoking and other tobacco use (including smokeless) is also prohibited in the cave.
  • All body waste is to be removed from the cave. Wide-mouth bottles are suggested for liquids, and doubled ziplock bags for solids.
  • Overnight camping for non-members is allowed for one night per visit. For members, it is restricted to 3 nights in any month. Camping is only allowed in the single approved area immediately north of (and adjacent to) the parking area. Campfires are to be kept as small as necessary and only in the fire ring adjacent to the concrete pad. Only dead and downed wood may be used for firewood, no cutting of live trees. Firewood may only be brought to the property if it is kiln dried or otherwise certified by the IDNR as safe for transport due to the spread of insects and disease such as the Emerald Ash Borer and Thousand Canker Disease (TCD). Camping in the cave is not allowed at any time.
  • Modification to the cave requires permission from the executive board. The making of any marks on cave walls, ceilings, floors, or rocks is also prohibited, except with permission from the executive board.
  • Gathering plants or forest products is discouraged except for those on the approved list (currently under development). Gathering of the approved plants and forest products must be done using minimal impact techniques.
  • Persons who recieve permission to use the cave and property may not transfer this permission to other persons.