Caves are so much more than holes in the ground.
Caves hold habitats for completely unique species and environments,
stunning geological formations, are storehouses of information about
geologic history, and paleontological remains and a recreational challenge
Caves are formed in many ways, by fissures in bedrock, by spaces among
rocks (talus), by coastal wave action in soft cliffs, by water or air movement
under glaciers and by molten lava draining out of hardened lava flows.
The great majority of the world’s caves occur in a landform called karst, in
which spaces have been carved out by water acting over many thousands of
years in a three-dimensional maze of tiny joints and cracks in soluble
bedrocks such as limestone and gypsum. Passages grow in size through
chemical dissolution of the bedrock, the grinding of solid particles carried
along by the water, and the collapse of undermined passage walls and
ceilings. The surface and subsurface are intimately connected through
features such as sinkholes, sinking streams, springs, and sometimes caves.
As a result, cave and groundwater resources cannot be widely used without
careful use of the surface.
Clean water and other benefits therefore depend on clean caves and karst –
an important consideration in Canada, where the area of karst is estimated
to be 1.08 million square kilometres, over 10% of the total land
In the beginning, caves sheltered early humans and were often held in
religious awe. Today, though caves are still regarded with fascination by
many, their resources and values often suffer adverse impacts from human
activities - recreation, timber harvesting, quarrying, development - as a
result of a lack of basic knowledge and understanding about how caves and
their resources function and interact.
The Mission of the Canadian Cave Conservancy
We are a non-profit membership organization dedicated to the conservation
of Canadian caves, karst and related resources through understanding,
education, stewardship and support. To achieve these ends We -
- develop, assemble and share expertise in order to improve the base
of knowledge and understanding essential to conservation of cave and
- educate and advise resource managers, users and the general public
about cave and karst resources, their benefits, and ways of improving
- undertake and sponsor projects, develop useful tools, and
encourage and support activities by others that will improve
understanding and wise stewardship of cave and karst resources;
As a federally registered charitable organization, we accept donations, raise
funds and seek broad support for the purposes of the Conservancy.