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Cave Research Foundation Operation Areas and Projects

Most of Cave Research Foundation's work is conducted through five different operations areas which operate primarily on state and federal lands that contain caves and karst. Projects are done under a nationwide Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Department of the Interior, a Memorandum of Agreement with Bureau of Land Management, or through local working agreements depending on the requirements of each area.

There are multiple Operations Areas that focus on different areas of the country.  They are listed below.  (Click on an area's name for additional information).

Eastern Operations Area (Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia)
Ozark Operations Area (Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma)
Sequoia/Kings Canyon Operations Area (Central California)
Southwest Operations Area (New Mexico)
Northwest Operations Area (Northern California, Idaho)
Miscellaneous CRF Projects

Eastern Operations Area

CRF's Eastern Operations Area encompasses the area east of the Mississippi River.  The primary focus is the Mammoth Cave National Park, where the Foundation has been mapping and studying the world's longest cave since CRF's inception in 1957.  The Foundation works closely with Park management on numerous other projects of varying length and complexity.

Eastern Operations also has projects in southwest Virginia at the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and in the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia.
Eastern Operations Projects:

Ozark Operations Area
Ozarks Projects:


Sequoia/Kings Canyon Operations Area

As the name implies, the Sequoia/Kings Canyon Operations area  includes the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Patked in California's Sierra Mountains.  The largest cave in the parks is Lilburn Cave with over 20 miles of surveyed passage.  Survey and scientific work is done both in Lilburn and in numerous other caves in the parks.

Sequoia/Kings Canyon Projects:


Southwest Operations Area

The Southwest Operations area is focused primarily on Carlsbad Caverns National Park where CRF personnel are assisting with the ongoing mapping of Carlsbad Caverns and other caves in the Park.  The Foundation also assists with other projects, notably including periodic work sessions to restore areas of the cave that have been damaged by foot traffic or trail building activities.  Other projects on government land in the Carlsbad area are also ongoing.


Northwest Operations Area

The Northwest Operations Area (NOA), newly minted in 2019 by the CRF Board of Directors, initially is comprised of three Federal jurisdictions, each containing chiefly volcanic or lava-tube caves. The new NOA designation succeeds the Lava Beds Operations Area (LABE) that formerly housed operations at Lava Beds National Monument and the adjacent Mendocino and Modoc National Forests, which have existed from 1988 to 2019.  The new CRF Operations Area now includes the cartography and inventory project coordinated by Mark Jones at Craters of the Moon National Monument, in Idaho’s famed Snake River Plain. Bill Broeckel is the Principal Investigator for the Mendocino National Forest CRF effort, and John Tinsley coordinates the Lava Beds operation.

Miscellaneous CRF Projects

Some CRF projects are not specific to any single operations area.  These include:
Page last updated or validated on March 23, 2020