Wayne Cave and Property Management Plan

Monroe County, Indiana

(As Approved September 13, 2003)

INTRODUCTION: The Indiana Karst Conservancy, Inc. has purchased the 20-acre Wayne Cave property. The Conservancy will manage Wayne Cave so that it will be available for recreation and scientific study by responsible cavers while at the same time protecting the cave for future generations of cavers. The surface property will be managed to enhance the overall natural setting while protecting the sub-surface resources.

HISTORY OF THE CAVE: Wayne Cave was first described in print by William J Wayne in the Proceedings of Indiana Academy of Science for 1949, pub 1950 (A Karst Valley in Western Monroe County, Indiana) in which he gives a description of the old Wayne Cave, all that was known at that time. The crawlway to the new cave was discovered in 1955 by Purdue cavers. At about the same time the IU Spelunking Club extended the cave and discovered the IU Section. During this period cavers camped overnight at the end of the crawlway culminating in week-long camps in the cave and the establishment of Camps II and III. The RPI section was discovered during this period.

From the time of discovery until the mid-1980s, the cave was basically accessible to anyone (except for a brief period early on when the Bloomington Indiana Grotto maintained a gate on the cave). The cave was promoted in several local publications disclosing its location. This unmanaged access and popularity, as well as the caves proximity to Bloomington, allowed significant human impact to the cave. The cave had much graffiti, trash, spent carbide, and vandalism.

In 1985, William Wilson on behalf of the IKC approached the landowner and negotiated an agreement to manage access. This included installing a gate on the entrance. Numerous clean-up trips were conducted into the cave by the IKC and others. A large trash-filled sinkhole near the entrance was also cleaned up. In July of 2003, the IKC acquired the property.

SUBSURFACE RESOURCES: Wayne Cave has over 4.25 miles of surveyed passage. The entrance to Wayne Cave is a small vertical hole and is secured by a locked steel gate. A handline is recommended for the slippery climb down. At the bottom is the Old Wayne Cave, which was known for many years. This part of the cave is essentially a large walking passage. The famous 1,250 foot long crawlway is located on the left wall near the back of the old section. It starts as a half filled round tube. Much of the crawlway is belly crawl through the Why-the-Hell Squeeze and the Stalactite Squeeze, with one short piece of stand up passage (about two steps). The crawlway ends at Camp One, the location of the 1950's camp area. This large junction room encounters the Wayne Cave stream. Up stream the passage quickly becomes impassible. Down stream leads to the remainder of the cave. The main passage from Camp I is a high canyon passage. Several side routes bypass breakdown on the way to Camp II. An eight-foot-high natural bridge marks the Camp II area. Helectite Holler is a crawl to the upper right above the natural bridge. To the lower left, behind a large breakdown slab, is the way to the American Bottoms. The passage straight ahead leads to the IU Discovery and Camp III. This passage splits with the left-hand branch going to the American Bottoms and the right-hand branch to Camp III. The Gypsum Passage is a 1500-foot-long canyon that can be entered before Camp III and reconnects with the IU Passage near the far end. The North Passage is the extension of the gypsum passage and has several short side passages. A crawlway on the right just past Camp I leads to the dome area and the formation rooms, known as the RPI Discovery. The domes are 40 feet high and moon milk flows down the side of one dome. The three formation rooms and the Tree Root and Candle Room are connected by a low canyon/crawlway passage.

MANAGEMENT PERSONNEL: Within this document, the following individuals and groups will have management responsibilities:

  • IKC Executive Board – The membership-elected governing board of the IKC.
  • Property Manager – The IKC Executive Board appointed individual whose primary responsibility is to oversee the property with the exception of the cave. The Property Manager is required to make an annual report to the IKC Executive Board pertaining to the property. The Property Manager will function as the back-up for the Cave Patron when the Patron is unavailable.
  • Cave Patron – The IKC Executive Board appointed individual whose primary responsibility is to oversee the cave. This includes arranging access, monitoring impact, maintaining the entrance gate/lock, and maintaining usage records. The Cave Patron is also required to make an annual report to the IKC Executive Board pertaining to the cave, visitation usage, incidents, etc. The Cave Patron and the Property Manager may be the same person.
  • Property Management Committee - This committee generally will consist of the Property Manager and the Cave Patron, and any other designated volunteers who assist with maintaining the property and cave.
  • Grotto Liaisons - These are approved representatives from the grottos that have signed a cooperative agreement with the IKC for arranging access to specific caves covered in the agreement. Wayne Cave is one of these caves. The Grotto Liaison has the authority to grant access to visit Wayne Cave for the Liaison's respective grotto members. This is not only for the convenience of the grotto members, but also lessens the burden on the Cave Patron, and in theory the Grotto Liaison should be in a better position to know the person requesting access. The Grotto Liaison has the responsibility to follow all rules under the cooperative agreement, handle all paperwork appropriately, maintain access records (submitted annually), and work with the Cave Patron.

SUBSURFACE MANAGEMENT: Wayne Cave will be managed as a natural "wild cave". No improvements for the convenience of visitors will be allowed or desired. Digging or other alterations for exploration/expansion of the cave is prohibited without approval of the IKC Executive Board.

Cave restoration (other than trash and spent carbide removal) is limited to IKC sponsored trips. The purpose is to keep all restoration techniques consistent with IKC approved practices.

Due to the concerns about the impact of food, cooking, elimination, and the like, no camping will be allowed in the cave without approval of the IKC Executive Board. Likewise, no smoking or the use of alcohol or other substances is permitted in the cave.

CAVE ACCESS POLICY: The cave is open to organized, responsible cavers. Those wishing to visit Wayne Cave should contact the Cave Patron or their Grotto Liaison (if applicable) to arrange access. All persons entering the cave will be asked to sign a liability release, follow surface and subsurface rules established by the IKC, and agree to protect the cave's natural resources. The Cave Patron/Grotto Liaison can authorize or deny ordinary cave trips. All other trips must be approved by the IKC Executive Board.

All trips are to have a trip leader responsible for the party. The trip leader is responsible to see that conservation and safe caving practices are followed as defined by the established rules. Recommended minimum group size is no less than three. Recommended maximum group size is no more than ten, excluding sponsored trips by NSS-affiliated grottos. There must be an adult of the immediate family for every child under the age of 12. Due to the difficulty of this cave, it is suggested that all visitors have some caving experience prior to going into Wayne.

Prior to the trip, the trip leader will receive a liability waiver/information form (Appendix B) and the visitation rules (Appendix C) to be followed while on the property. Participants under 18 years of age must have a parent/guardian signature on the liability wavier/information form.

The trip leader will be responsible for having each participant read and sign a copy of the liability wavier/information form, then return the waivers to the Cave Patron/Grotto Liaison. The trip leader will also inform all participants of the visitation rules before entering the property. The rules cover appropriate precautions while changing clothes before and after the trip, keeping a low profile, the path to take to the cave entrance, precautions related to the weather, and information pertaining to emergencies. Any improper behavior reported to the Cave Patron/Grotto Liaison may result in denial of future visits. Organizations such as the Boy Scouts are expected to comply with their internal rules related to cave trips in addition to the policies outlined by the IKC.

Monetary compensation of the trip leader (cave-for-fee) is strictly prohibited.

The release forms will be kept on file for up to two years and will not be required each time the cave is visited during this period. The Cave Patron, with assistance from the Grotto Liaisons, will maintain a log of trips and visitors to the cave to assess visitation impact on the resource

The Conservancy will vigorously prosecute any violations of the Indiana Cave Resource Protection Act, IC 35-43-3 (Appendix D) or any other vandalism on the property.

SURFACE RESOURCES: The property consists of 20 acres of mostly wooded terrain. The property is approximately 750 feet wide (east-west) and 1,300 feet in length (north-south) with the northwest corner removed, bordered by Gardner Road. The cave entrance is located very near the northeast corner of the property. The property has approximately 100 feet of vertical relief, being low at the north and south ends of the property with a high east-west ridge across the middle of the property. There is a small clearing (approximately ½-acre in size) on this high ridge.

SURFACE MANAGEMENT: Little active management of surface resources will be done. The forested areas will not be modified and no trees will be cut other than for safety considerations or for existing road/trail access. However, the control of invasive plant will be undertaken as needed. A parking area will be developed for off street parking in the existing clearing. A trail will be flagged and maintained to the cave entrance. Other trails may be established on the property at the discretion of the IKC Executive Board. The property boundaries will be marked and permanent corner posts will be set. An informational kiosk may be constructed in the parking area. A small camping area will be established near the parking area.

Collecting on the property will be prohibited with the exception of mushrooms, berries, and nuts. Hunting will also be prohibited. The discharging of firearms, fireworks, or other explosive devices will not be allowed. Digging or other surface modifications are prohibited without approval of the IKC Executive Board.

If qualified, the property shall be enrolled in the Classified Forest Program to minimize property taxes and promote proper woodland stewardship

SURFACE ACCESS: Walk-in access to the property by the public will neither be encouraged nor discouraged. Permission to hike on the property will not be required. However other surface activities will need permission and coordination through the Property Manager. A gate will be maintained on the driveway to discourage unauthorized activities on the property.

CAMPING: Camping on the property will be allowed, but highly restricted. Currently, camping privileges will be granted only to IKC members and their accompanying guests. The behavioral expectations of those camping on the property will be that the campers are quiet and low profile. Camping will be arranged only through the Property Manager or Cave Patron. Camping will be restricted to designated areas only. Campfires will only be allowed in designated fire rings. Firewood may not be collected from the property. All trash must be packed out.


All visitors should review the following rules before entering onto the Wayne Cave property. These rules must be flowed to protect the cave, the property, the IKC, and all visitors. It is also important to follow these rules to maintain a good relationship with the adjacent landowners. Remember you are a guest on this property and represent all cavers that come after you. Please be on your best behavior.

  1. Follow all rules and requests of the Property Manager, Cave Patron, and Grotto Liaisons.
  2. Keep a low profile at all times while on the property.
  3. Park in the location designated.
  4. Do not change clothes in sight of the road or nearby property owners.
  5. Follow the designated path from the parking area to the entrance of the cave.
  6. Lock all gates (including the cave gate) behind you so unauthorized entry does not occur. Leave the cave gate key near the entrance in a location known to all members of your party. Do not lose or duplicate the key.
  7. Do not enter the stream area of the cave during high water conditions.
  8. Do not enter the cave under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
  9. Do not smoke in the cave.
  10. No pets in the cave
  11. Before leaving the parking area, be sure to pick up all trash, clothing, etc.
  12. Never cave alone. Wear a helmet. Carry three sources of light. Tell someone where you have gone and when you will return. For rescue call the Indiana State Police at 812-3321-4411.


A list of tasks needing to be accomplished in the short-term by the Property Management Committee.

  • A permanent parking area will need to be delineated and hardened (crushed stone)
  • The driveway will need to be re-graded and hardened per our Monroe County driveway permit. The culvert at Gardner Road will also likely need to be replaced.
  • A driveway gate needs to be constructed and installed.
  • Camping area(s) will need to be designated and accessibility enhanced.
  • A trail from the parking/camping area to the cave entrance needs to be delineated and maintained.
  • Permanent "monuments" need to be installed at the property's survey markers.
  • Efforts to enroll the property in the DNR's Classified Forest Program shall be undertaken.

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