Cave Research Foundation
The Cave Research Foundation
grew out of efforts of cave explorers working in the Mammoth Cave area
of Kentucky in the late 1940's. Their original focus was Floyd Collins
Crystal Cave (FCCC) and in 1954 the National Speleological Society
(NSS) sponsored a week-long expedition to the cave. Exploration
continued at FCCC under the auspices of the Flint Ridge Reconnaissance,
led by Phil Smith, Roger Brucker and Roger McClure of the Central Ohio
Grotto of the NSS, and Bill Austin Cave City, Kentucky) and Jack
Lerhberger (Louisville, Kentucky.) As knowledge of the cave system
grew, they began recruiting a team of explorers and researchers that
would become the Cave Research Foundation.
exploration, new discoveries and persistent survey work in Flint Ridge
led to the conviction that lasting value and continuity for the project
required a formal organization. In 1957, the Cave Research Foundation
was registered as a non-profit corporation under the laws of the state
of Kentucky. Its goals were to promote exploration and documentation of
caves and karst areas, to initiate and support cave and karst research,
to aid in cave conservation and protection, and to assist with the
interpretation of caves and karst to the public.
One of the Foundation's first official acts was to join the National Speleological
Society as an Institutional Member. The Foundation fully supports
the NSS and encourages CRF members, and others interested in caves, to
join the NSS.
In 1971, the Guadalupe Cave Survey, which had been operating as a
research organization in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
since 1966, merged with the Cave Research Foundation. Formal operating
procedures between CRF and Carlsbad Caverns National Park were signed
at this time. The goal of this new western arm of CRF was to continue
scientific study of the caves and karst of the Guadalupe Mountains in
southeastern New Mexico and in adjoining areas.
In 1976, the Lilburn Cave Project, Kings Canyon National Park,
California, became part of the Cave Research Foundation. Presently,
CRF's SEKI operation area organizes projects in Sequoia and Kings
Canyon National Park.
Also in 1976, another new CRF project was initiated at the Buffalo
National River in Arkansas. Today's Fitton Cave Survey project started
off as a resource inventory project working in both the Buffalo
(NPS) and the Sylamore National Forest (USFS) in Arkansas.
During 1987, the Foundation formalized support of an ongoing Missouri
Project in conjunction with the Missouri Speleological Survey and the
Missouri Deparment of Natural Resources (Division of Geology and Land
Two more western areas joined CRF's research efforts in 1988.
Operations in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park resumed the work
that was originally initiated by the Guadalupe Cave Survey in the
sixties. Field work continues to investigate the cave potential of the
Capitan Reef in Texas. Inventory and monitoring of cave resources also
began at Lava Beds National Monument, California. Curently CRF's
operation area is assisting the National Park Service in their
management and protection efforts there.
Most of CRF's work is conducted on state and federal lands under a
national Memorandum of Understanding with the National Park Service,
U.S. Department of the Interior.
last updated or validated on March 11, 2019