Wayne Cave and Property Management Plan

Monroe County, Indiana

Revised July 8, 2019

INTRODUCTION: The Indiana Karst Conservancy, Inc (IKC) will manage Wayne Cave and the smaller incidental caves on the property so that they will be available for recreation and scientific study by responsible cavers while at the same time protecting the caves for future generations of cavers. The property consists of 57.59 acres which contains Wayne Cave, Tiparillo Pit, Mr. Potato Pit, hiking trails, and other interesting karst features. The surface property will be managed to enhance the overall natural setting while protecting the sub-surface resources.

HISTORY OF WAYNE CAVE AND THE PRESERVE: 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 which was 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-1980's, Wayne 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 in 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 purchased a 20-acre tract including the Wayne Cave entrance, providing permanent management/protection of the cave. The following year, the IKC significantly upgraded the access driveway, installed the driveway gate, constructed the current parking lot, started maintaining the clearing for primitive camping, and created a new trail to the cave entrance. Prior to that, cavers parked along Gardner Road at the north end of the property causing issues with adjacent landowners. In October of 2014, the in­formation kiosk was erected. In December of 2014, Keith Dunlap donated an additional 11.85 acres to the west of the original tract. An additional 25.74 acres to the south, with a 38-foot pit and many karst features, was added in July 2018, bringing the current preserve total to 57.59 acres.

SUBSURFACE RESOURCES: Wayne Cave has over 4.25 miles of surveyed passage. The entrance to it 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 standup 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. Upstream 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 8-foot high natural bridge marks the Camp II area. Helictite 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 1500 feet 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. Back near camp I, a crawlway on the right leads to the dome area and the formation rooms, known as the RPI Discovery. The domes are 40-foot 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.

There are two other known small caves on the property. Tiparillo Hole is located southwest of the parking lot and is adjacent to the more interesting Tiparillo Spring (located one sinkhole to the west). Tiparillo Hole was discovered in the 1970s and was dug on and blasted in hopes of connecting to Wayne Cave or something else in the area, but nothing was really gained. It is basically a climb/squeeze down about 15 feet. The other cave on the preserve is Mr. Potato Pit, located in a sinkhole southeast of the really large sinkhole on the property. This pit was discovered by Richard Vernier and John Withrow, and subsequently opened up by the SISG and mapped to 31 feet deep in 1972. A later map (2007) indicated the pit was 38-feet deep. The entrance is tight, as is the pit. A small standup room is at the bottom.

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 and manage the property with the exception of Wayne 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 Wayne 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 one in 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 coordinate with the Cave Patron.

SUBSURFACE MANAGEMENT: Wayne Cave and the incidental caves on the property will be managed as natural "wild caves". Generally, no improvements for the convenience of visitors will be allowed or desired. Digging or other alterations for exploration/expansion of the caves are 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 caves without approval of the IKC Executive Board. Likewise, no smoking or the use of alcohol or other substances is permitted in the caves.

CAVE ACCESS POLICY: The caves are open to organized, responsible cavers. All persons entering the caves will be required to sign a liability release, follow surface and subsurface rules established by the IKC, and agree to protect the caves' natural resources. The Cave Patron/Grotto Liaison can authorize or deny ordinary recreational cave trips. All extraordinary trips, such as research or video 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 ensure that all conservation, safe caving, and decontamination 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 Cave.

Prior to the trip, the trip leader will receive a liability waiver (similar to Appendix B or B1) and the visitation rules (Appendix C) to be followed while on the property. Participants under 18 years of age must have one or more parent/guardian signature(s) on the liability waiver.

The trip leader will be responsible for having each participant read and sign a copy of the liability wavier at least 24 hours prior to the trip, then return the waivers to the Cave Patron/Grotto Liaison prior to the trip. Failure to administer and turn in the waivers will result in denial of future visits. 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 waivers will be kept on file for a minimum of two years and new waivers will be required for each trip. The Cave Patron, with assistance from the Grotto Liaisons and Property Manager, will maintain a log of trips and visitors to the caves to assess visitation impact on the resources. Those wishing to visit Wayne Cave should contact the Cave Patron or their Grotto Liaison (if applicable) to arrange access. Those wishing to visit the incidental caves or camp on the property should contact the Property Manager.

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 57.59 acres of mostly wooded terrain. The property is approximately rectangular in shape with the northwest corner removed, bordered by Gardner Road. The tract is 1,320 feet wide (east-west) and 2,150 feet in length (north-south) on the eastern boundary and 1,700 feet in length on the western boundary. The Wayne Cave entrance is located very near the northeast corner of the property. There are at least two other smaller caves on the property, Tiparillo Pit and Mr. Potato Pit. The property has approximately 120 feet of vertical relief, being low at the northeast and southeast corners of the property with a high east-west ridge across the upper middle part of the property. There is a small clearing (approximately ½-acre in size) on this high ridge and another open area of about 4 acres at the southeast corner of the property.  There is an impressive sinkhole in the southwest quadrant of the property and also a nice seep pond in that same area. There are numerous other karst features on the property. There is currently over one mile of maintained trails on the property.

SURFACE MANAGEMENT: Selective management of surface resources will be done to maintain or enhance the natural characteristics of the property. The forested areas will generally 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 species will be undertaken as needed. A secure parking area will be maintained for off street parking in the existing clearing. A trail will be marked and maintained to the Wayne Cave entrance. Other trails may be established and maintained on the property at the discretion of the IKC Executive Board. The property boundaries have been marked and permanent corner posts have been set and will be maintained. An informational kiosk has been constructed in the parking area. A small maintained camping area and designated fire pit have been 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.

The property has been enrolled in the Classified Forest Program to minimize property taxes and promote proper woodland stewardship. The 11.85 acre tract has additional management restrictions based on the I-69 Mitigation Easement covenants.

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

CAMPING: Camping on the property will be allowed, but restricted. 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 keep a low profile. Camping will be arranged through the Property Manager. Camping will be restricted to designated areas only. Campfires will only be allowed in designated fire rings and must be fully extinguished prior to leaving the area. Dead and downed wood may be collected from the property for use as firewood. All trash must be packed out. You must abide by any and all local/state firewood bans. Check the IDNR website for details on current restrictions.



All visitors should review the following rules before entering onto the Wayne Cave property. These rules must be followed to protect the caves, 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. Camping is allowed with permission, with at least one person in the group being a current member of the IKC. Approved camping areas will be defined by the Property Manager at the time of your request.
  3. Park in the defined parking area.
  4. No Motorized vehicles, bicycles, or horses are permitted beyond the parking area.
  5. Keep a low profile at all times while on the property. Do not change clothes in sight of the road or nearby property owners.
  6. Follow the designated path from the parking area to the entrance of the cave. Foot traffic is welcome on established trails during daylight hours.
  7. 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.
  8. Do not enter the stream area of the cave during high water conditions.
  9. Do not enter the cave under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
  10. Do not smoke in the cave.
  11. No pets in the cave.
  12. Before leaving the parking area, be sure to pick up all trash, clothing, etc.
  13. Hunting, trapping, collecting roots, discharging firearms, fireworks, and cutting of standing trees are prohibited.
  14. Harvesting of berries, nuts, and mushrooms is allowed.
  15. Digging and other surface disturbing activities are prohibited without express permission from the IKC Executive Board
  16. Never cave alone. Wear a helmet. Carry three sources of light. Tell someone where you have gone and when you will return. For rescue, please refer to the contacts on the Emergency Signage located near Wayne Cave entrance and on the Kiosk near the parking area.

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