Hidden Waters. Hidden Life.

Cave and karst resource management spans a wide array of scientific and recreational disciplines. In the arid west, management of these fragile ecosystems seems forever locked in the delicate interplay between surface geology and the precious but dwindling resource of groundwater.

Since 1975, the National Cave & Karst Management Symposium has been the preeminent forum for promoting, advancing and sharing concepts in effective management of cave and karst resources. Our conference is a gathering of inquisitive minds and passionate experts who share a common ethic for the responsible management of these rare environments.

The Western Cave Conservancy invites you to join us at the National Cave & Karst Management Symposium in Ely, Nevada from October 6-10, 2025!

Ely, Nevada in 2025

Ely, Nevada

Ely, Nevada is an old-west mining town located in the eastern county of White Pine. Its first inhabitants were attracted by the grassy meadows, spring & surface water, and towering mountains - as well as the lure of potential fortunes to be made mining gold and silver. Great Basin National Park is located here and will be heavily featured in our NCKMS schedule.

Explore Ely!

Explore the Great Basin

  • This Endorheic Watershed

    Centered mostly in Nevada, the Great Basin of the American West is the largest endorheic watershed in North America. Water that enters this basin never flows to an ocean. This rare hydrology has created a unique environment for cave formation in an arid climate.

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  • Great Basin National Park

    From the 13,063-foot summit of Wheeler Peak to the sagebrush-covered foothills, Great Basin National Park hosts a sample of the incredible diversity of the larger Great Basin region. The park's Lehman Caves will be a highlight on our field trip schedule.

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  • Field Trips on a Steam Train

    One of our unique geology field trips will be from aboard a 1910 steam locomotive! The Nevada Northern Rail Yard's "Rockin' & Rollin' Geology Train" will take you on an interpretive trip up through the porphyry copper deposits of Nevada's Robinson Mining District.

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White Pine County was established by the Nevada legislature in 1869 and named after the heavy growth of limber pine trees in the area. Hamilton, the first county seat (and now a ghost town) was sometimes called Cave City because early miners dug holes in the nearby hills for shelter.

2025 Symposium Highlights

How may we improve your symposium experience?.

We invite you to join our newsletter list to stay informed about our plans for NCKMS 2025 in Nevada. We won't endlessly spam you and we promise not to be annoying! Feel free to leave any questions or comments in the text box. As always, we'd like to learn how we might make the event better for our friends in the professional caving community.

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NCKMS Steering Committee

Our NCKMS Steering Committee was formed in 1990 to ensure that a NCKMS is held biennially. The committee selects a group to host each symposium from bids presented, and provides guidance for developing the event. It also offers scholarships to enable attendance to symposia. The committee comprises a representative from each of the organizations and agencies that have a formal interest in, or responsibility for, managing cave and karst resources on a nationwide basis. The committee offers a structure for these influential groups to share ideas and experiences, and to work together to address issues arising in managing caves and karst.