Rules

  • Do not contact the landowner.  

 

  • Access is free; commercial use, taking money to guide others, or giving pay, tips, donations, or love money to someone acting a guide is prohibited. Not-for-profit groups, to include youth groups, who pay or accept any types of fees associated with cave trips, are not allowed at any time. If you have a question about your group's eligibility, please contact the STCC manager.

 

  • If you want to mark your path through the cave, use temporary markers such as index cards with arrows on them, flagging tape, removable reflectors (reflectors on paperclips work really well), or other devices. Remove these while exiting the cave.  Do not carve or mark directional arrows, names, etc. onto the rocks. CHALK or CARBIDE path marks are NOT removable and may not be used in any caves anywhere!  This is considered vandalism and is punishable under WV law. 

 

  • Report any act of vandalism. 

 

  • The caves and the parking area are closed between midnight and 6:00 a.m. of each day. Please do not run the risk of disturbing the neighbors by arriving early or staying late.

 

  • Do not allow individuals that do not have written STCC permission to accompany you on your trip. Do not give the combinations to others who do not have permission from STCC to enter the cave with you.

 

  • Each participant must sign the release of liability waiver and must be confirmed by e-mail by STCC as having permission to enter the caves and properties.  

 

  • Do not enter the lands leading to the gated Thorn entrance unless you have received written permission from STCC to do so. There are BULLS in the pastures leading up to this entrance.  

 

  • Children under 18 years of age require 2 signatures: their own and one parent's.

 

  • Children under the age of 8 years are not allowed into Sinnett without special and written permission of the STCC manager. Special permission might be granted if and only if the cave manager personally knows the child, the parents of the child, and the cave leader. 

 

  • Children under the age of 12 years are not allowed through the vertical Thorn entrance without special and written permission of the STCC manager. Special permission might be granted if and only if the cave manager personally knows the child, the parents of the child, and the cave leader.

 

  • Youth groups affiliated with national organizations must abide by their national organization's rules and regulations.

 

  • All participants must adhere to National Speleological Society guidelines and standards.

 

  • All groups must consist of at least 4 individuals, and include at least 2 experienced cavers above the age of 18.  All groups must include at least one experienced (5 or more caves) caver for every additional 4 inexperienced cavers. No group will consist of more than 15 participants.  

 

  • Only one group will be allowed each day with the exception of Saturdays. 

 

  • There are two caving shifts on Saturdays. There is only one group allowed per shift. The day session begins at 6:00 a.m. and ends at 4:30 p.m. Your cars must be gone by 4:30 p.m. The evening session begins at 5:15 p.m. and ends at midnight. Do not arrive before 5:15. Your cars must be gone by midnight. 

 

  • No group may reserve both Saturday shifts. 

 

  • Go only on the day and at the time you are scheduled. The lock combinations will be changed periodically, often, and without warning. For this reason all trips must be scheduled, otherwise you might find yourself locked inside the cave.    

 

  • A maximum of 5 vehicles is allowed per shift. Do not park on the far side of the road.  Park well away from the edge of the road. Never impede traffic on the main thoroughfare.

 

  • Pick up all trash inside and outside the cave.   

 

  • Be discreet while changing clothes near the road.  

 

  • Please leave all wildlife encountered inside and outside of the cave alone. See the Sinnett-Thorn homepage for information on bats and how to help bats survive the winter.

 

  • WV state law allows no collecting of rocks, minerals, or speleothems. Collectors will be permanently banned and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.   

 

  • Do not relieve yourself in the caves. Use a pee bottle or other devices if needed.  

 

  • The caves are closed April 1st to September 14th. Scheduling for the caving season begins on August 1st. Do not send any trip requests before August 1.

 

Contact STCC for scheduling and other questions.

Thank you,

Sinnett-Thorn Cave Conservancy

Patricia A. Bingham

118 Autumn Dr.

Stafford, VA 22556

stcave@hotmail.com E-mail is preferred and should be used, especially if you want to stay on the manager's good side.

Phone calls accepted only between the hours of 9:00 AM through 8:00 PM. No exceptions, except in cases of life-threatening emergency. Your paperwork and access are NOT life-threatening emergencies! Phone calls are not returned. The best time to reach the manager is between 7:00 pm-8:00 pm. (540) 752-0684.