The NRO is the association of Grottos in the Northeastern USA. Grottos take turns hosting area meetings twice per year. These meetings often feature guided trips to area caves, and sometimes guidebooks as well, often with cave maps. The meetings are held in the Spring, usually around Mother’s Day and Fall, usually mid-Septermber, usually at a low budget campground, usually in eastern NY, western MA, or central VT. The NRO also publishes the Northeastern Caver, a regional newsletter detailing caving activities across the Northeast.
Two other annual Eastern US caving get-togethers are notable, and have been frequent destinations for Boston Grotto trips: the Old Timer’s Reunion (OTR) over Labor Day weekend in Randolph Co, WV, and the TAG Fall Cave-in (TAG) over Columbus Day weekend in Walker Co, GA. Each of these is a major event, attended by over a thousand cavers, at a dedicated camping facility, with lots of nearby caves to explore.
Grotto members also usually attend the annual NSS Convention. This is hosted in a variety of venues around the USA. This is a week-long event, featuring daily symposia, guided cave trips, and major events each evening. Conventions are a great way to learn about caves in other regions, share new techniques, and meet old friends. On Thursday evenings, the auditorium is packed for the Photo and Video Salons and awards, and Friday’s Banquet features the annual NSS Award presentations. The Boston Grotto helped with the NSS conventions in the Northeast in 1979, 1991 and 2010, and was the co-host (with Maine cavers) of the 2002 convention in Camden, ME.
In addition to the Boston Grotto, there is another caving organization in Cambridge, the MIT Caving Club! They are affiliated with the MIT Outing Club, rather than the NSS, but they are active and usually run caving trips, mostly during the regular school year. Recently, the two clubs have been collaborating on trips, after a very long (decades) hiatus. Rather than having regular meetings, they make all their activity arrangements via their mailing list.
To round out the list of affiliated organizations, Boston Grotto cavers should be aware of several cave conservation conservation organizations. These are typically non-profit corporations established for express purpose of owning and conserving the scare resource of caves. Often, these conservancies own some of the most significant and popular wild caves in their respective regions. They have a dual role of both insuring the protection of the caves, and especially the life in the caves, and insuring access for cavers. For this reason, many caves owned by conservancies are gated, and prior permission from the manager is required to visit their caves. Sometimes, these caves are closed for part of each year, often to protect large colonies of hibernating or reproducing bats. The NSS Cave Conservation Section maintains an up-to-date list of all Cave Conservation Organizations in the USA. Boston Grotto members should be aware of several conservancies that own significant caves in regions that we frequent:
- The Northeast Cave Conservancy
- The NSS itself (three cave preserves in NY, one in PA)
- The Nature Conservancy (two preserves in VT, one in NY)
- The Appalachian Cave Conservancy
- The Mid Atlantic Karst Conservancy
- The Pennsylvania Cave Conservancy
- The West Virginia Cave Conservancy
- The Butler Cave Conservation Society
- The Southeastern Cave Conservancy
- The American Cave Conservation Association