The NSS began in the early 1940s as a collective of individuals interested in caves and caving. From the beginning, we recognized the need to protect the fragile and timeless environment, both above and underground. Conservation has always been a prime tenet of the NSS’s foundations. The NSS is constantly working to further these efforts: if you would like to help or would like our assistance managing your cave property email us here.
McFail's Cave Nature Preserve
New York’s McFail’s Cave, the first NSS-owned cave, is managed for recreation, exploration, and research. With over 7 miles of mapped passage, McFail’s is the longest cave in the northeastern United States.Donated in 1967, the property contains two other caves.
Shelta Cave Nature Preserve
Shelta Cave is located directly beneath the old NSS national headquarters in Huntsville, Alabama. It was the second NSS-owned preserve, purchased in 1967. the cave has one of the most outstanding underground ecosystems in North America
John Guilday Caves Nature Preserve
The John Guilday Caves Nature Preserve property, in Pendleton County, West Virginia, contains several caves, including three well known, significant caves: Trout, New Trout, and Hamilton. The caves have been visited by thousands of people over the course of at least 200 years
Kingston Saltpeter Cave Nature Preserve
The Kingston Saltpeter Cave Nature Preserve, Bartow County, Georgia, is composed of 40 acres of largely hardwood forest, underlain by a variety of wildflowers and mosses. The area is teeming with wildlife, from deer and an occasional bear to small rodents.
James Gage Karst Nature Preserve
Located in Schoharie County, New York, the James Gage Karst Preserve (formerly named the Barton Hill Nature Preserve) is situated on 40 acres, contains three known caves and 310 acres of cave rights. The bulk of the Preserve is a limestone bench characterized by sinkholes.
Warren Cave Nature Preserve
Warren Cave Nature Preserve, located in Alachua County, Florida, was donated to the NSS in early 1991 by The Nature Conservancy. The Nature Conservancy had held the property, since acquiring it in 1976 with the help of the Florida Speleological Society, an NSS grotto.
Donald R. Russell Nature Preserve
In mid-1991, Mr. Don Russell donated two tracts of land in Adair County, Oklahoma for the purpose of creating a biological preserve. There is one cave and several cave remnants. The main cave, Linda Bear Paw Cave, is used by a large colony of endangered Grey Bats.
Schoharie Caverns Nature Preserve
Schoharie Cave and the surrounding property was donated by Mary and Jennifer Gage in 1994. This location, in Schoharie County, NY, has been a central base for caving since the late 1970’s. Schoharie Cave is over 4,000 feet long, with half of that length beyond a scuba-dive sump.
Tytoona Cave Nature Preserve
Tytoona Cave Nature Preserve is located in Sinking Valley, Blair County, Pennsylvania, between the cities of Tyrone and Altoona (hence the name). This preserve is the ninth nature preserve owned by the NSS. Tytoona Cave Nature Preserve, contains 6.8 acres of property.
Wells Cave Nature Preserve
In January, 2003, the Wells Cave Nature Preserve became the tenth preserve property owned by the NSS. Wells Cave has a long history within Pulaski County, Kentucky. The large main entrance, combined with several other entrances, provides easy access.
Great Expectations Cave Nature Preserve
Great Expectations contains almost 8 miles of surveyed passage with a vertical extent of over 1,400 feet. It is the third deepest limestone cave in the United States, the second deepest cave in Wyoming, and the second longest cave in Wyoming. It houses Wyoming’s biggest room.
Richard Blenz Nature Preserve
43.12 acres of the mostly-wooded tract is situated at the end of a rural county road about 6 miles southwest of Bloomington, Indiana. Donated to the NSS in 2008 by Richard Blenz, longtime donor and benefactor to the Society, the property contains the main (historic) entrance to Buckner.
New River Cave Nature Preserve
With its entrance in a bluff overlooking the scenic New River in Giles County and over 7 miles of mapped passage, New River Cave has long been one of Virginia’s premier recreational caves, as well as a cave significant for its biological and historical features.
William J. Stephenson Nature Preserve
Sixty acres of the new NSS Headquarters Property within the Huntsville, Alabama city limits, from just behind the HQ building to the top of Drake Mountain, have been designated as a nature preserve. Within the preserve boundaries are two caves and one short pit.
Sims Sink Nature Preserve
The two-acre Sims Sink Nature Preserve in Suwannee County, Florida, is another of the NSS Nature Preserves’ underwater caves. Buford Pruitt bought the property in 1984 and donated it to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in 1987. TNC then donated the land in 2014.
Haggard Nature Preserve
Haggard Cave, is a jewel of the Cumberland Plateau. Adding this 1,326-foot-long Tennessee cave to the society’s nature preserves in November, 2017 was truly a grassroots effort, with two longtime members driving an aggressive campaign to purchase the property.
Albert and Ethel Ogden Preserve
Located in Cookeville, Tennessee, Secret Cave is a gem of a cave. Don’t be fooled, it’s easy to lose hours in the short 967′ long cave looking at massive, beautiful formations. Secret is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful caves in the state.
Thunderhole Nature Preserve
Located in Cookeville, Tennessee, Thunderhole Cave has earned the reputation of being one of “TAG’s classic pits”, as stated by Geary Schindel, NSS President. Similar to other caves in Putnam County, the pit is formed in the Monteagle Limestone
Mill Creek Sink Nature Preserve
In late 1992 and early 1993, the NSS completed negotiations to accept the donation of Mill Creek Sink, then known as Alachua Sink. The State of Florida, particularly the Florida Geological Survey, renamed this sink in 2003 to avoid confusion with the Alachua Sink.
Dahm Springs Preserve
The BHCNC completed its first land acquisition in 2020. Jointly managed with the NSS, this preserve protects 46 acres of land as well as 7 caves. Dahm Springs Cave is the Jewel of the preserve. It was originally found by unknown persons who built a stacked rock wall at the entrance. It was rediscovered by Mike Hanson who dug it open with Greg Hanson.
The Myrna Attaway Nature Preserve
The property is in Payne Cove and includes Red Trillium Cave, which has been surveyed to more than a mile in length. The property also contains a campsite with frontage on Dry Creek. Kristine Ebrey worked with John Attaway and Jay Clark, NSS General Council, to complete the transfer per the request of Mr. Attaway, including naming the Preserve after his daughter.