Welcome to the Virginia Speleological Survey
This Website is to help facilitate our work of recording, preserving, and protecting the caves and karst resources of Virginia. It is intended to provide general information about the caves and karst resources of Virginia and to provide a convenient medium for interacting with, and exchanging information between, the VSS Directors, Virginia Region cavers, cave owners, and the general public.
The Legend of Cornwallis Cave
The VSS is proud to publish another fascinating cave monograph by Rick Lambert on the history of Cornwallis Cave in York County, VA.
Abstract: Cornwallis Cave is a small cave with a history larger than the cave itself. Being almost entirely manmade, it was reputed to be the hiding place of the British General Charles Cornwallis during the Yorktown siege. It was a commercial operation by 1848 and into the early 1900s. Now owned by the National Park Service, visitors are prevented from entering the cave and it is no longer believed to be the hiding place of General Cornwallis.
The full 30 page article in Adobe Acrobat format is posted HERE.
The History of Staunton Caverns
A history and description of Staunton Caverns has been prepared by Rick Lambert and shared with the VSS for publication on the VSS website. Here's a short summary of the report:
"The City of Staunton in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia is well known for its caves and karst. First known as Dogwood Cave, from the hill it is on, Staunton Caverns was renamed in 1907 when it was commercialized. Though it was closed shortly afterwards it remained a favorite destination for the caving youth of Staunton until the City closed it with a steel door and later with a cement block wall."
The full report can be downloaded in Adobe Acrobat PDF format here.
Virginia Cave Statistics - November 2018
Our in-house database and GIS guru Mike Futrell has put together an updated database report for the 2018 VSS Meeting. The report includes caves and "karst features" from every county containing a reported cave in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Total Number of Caves >5': 4,012
Total Surveyed Passage: 572.28 miles
Here's a link to the Full Report.
Alert: Gas Pipeline Projects
Atlantic Coast & Mountain Valley Gas Pipelines
As an organization, the VSS has not issued a formal statement, or agreed on a stand, for/against the proposed natural gas pipeline projects. At this point, we are focused on providing accurate and complete information on the caves and karst resources that might be impacted by the projects, if they are built.