The first NCKMS was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1975, and symposia have been organized on a regular basis since then.

The 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 sponsorships to enable attendance to symposia, publishes symposia Proceedings, and sponsors key conferences that address cave and karst management issues.

The NCKMS Steering 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.

NCKMS Timeline

Dates and Locations of Past Symposia

1975 – Albuquerque, NM
1976 – Mountain View, AR
1977 – Big Sky, MT
1978 – Carlsbad, NM (last annual Symposium)
1980 – Mammoth Cave National Park, KY
1982 – Harrisonburg, VA
1984 – Rolla, MO
1986 – postponed until 1987 (starting the odd years rather than even years)
1987 – Rapid City, SD
1989 – New Braunfels, TX  This Symposium lead to the formation of the National Cave Management Symposium (now NCKMS) Steering Committee, composed of federal agency and private sector representatives.
1991 – Bowling Green, KY
1993 – Carlsbad, NM
1995 – Spring Mill State Park, IN
1997 – Bellingham, WA  This was the first Symposium to insert “Karst” into the title:
“National Cave and Karst Management Symposium”
1999 – Chattanooga, TN
2001 – Tucson, AZ
2003 – Gainesville, FL
2005 – Albany, NY
2007 – St. Louis, MO
2009 – Kerrville, TX   Held in conjunction with the International Congress of Speleology
2011 – Midway, UT
2013 – Carlsbad, NM
2015 – Cave City, KY
2017 – Eureka Springs, AR
2019 – Bristol, VA

2021 – San Marcos, TX




Location of each National Cave and Karst Management Symposium from 1975 through 2015, overlaid on a map of the distribution of Karst in the 48 conterminous USA states (Weary & Doctor 2014).





Upcoming: 6–10 November 2023 – Chattanooga, TN



Additional symposia not directly linked to the regular schedule of the NCMS:

1979 – Far West Cave Management Symposium, Redding, CA
1981 – UIS Congress, Bowling Green, KY
2006 – 2nd National Cave and Karst Conservancies Forum, September 20-22, 2006, Lewisburg, WV. Proceedings.