Federal Cave Resources Protection Act Law and Legal Definition

The Federal Cave Resources protection Act (“Act”) is federal legislation providing protection to significant caves on federal lands that are an invaluable and irreplaceable part of the nation's natural heritage. Pursuant to 16 USCS § 4302, the term cave resource includes any material or substance occurring naturally in caves on federal lands, such as animal life, plant life, paleontological deposits, sediments, minerals, speleogens, and speleothems.

The following are the purposes of this Act:

1.Securing, protecting, and preserving significant caves on federal lands for the perpetual use, enjoyment, and benefit of all people; and

2.Fostering increased cooperation and exchange of information between governmental authorities and those who utilize caves located on federal lands for scientific, education, or recreational purposes.

In some instances, these significant caves are threatened due to improper use, increased recreational demand, urban spread, and a lack of specific statutory protection. Therefore any person who, without prior authorization from the Secretary of Agriculture knowingly destroys, disturbs, removes or harms any significant cave or alters the free movement of any animal or plant life into or out of any significant cave located on federal lands, or enters a significant cave with the intention of committing any act will be punished. Pursuant to 16 USCS § 4306, any person who possesses, consumes, sells, barters or exchanges, any cave resource from a significant cave with knowledge or reason to know that such resource was removed from a significant cave located on federal lands will be granted criminal penalties.