Today marks a big change in the history of Carroll Cave and its community. In recent months the boards of directors for the Carroll Cave Conservancy (CCC) and the Missouri Caves and Karst Conservancy (MCKC) have been negotiating a merger by which the MCKC will assume ownership of the Carroll Cave property presently owned by the CCC. The board of CCC determined this move to be in the best interest of securing ownership in perpetuity. The presidents of both organizations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that defines the relationship going forward. Let’s take a look at what will and won’t be changing from here on out.
The CCC will cease to exist as an independent organization. There will be no CCC annual meetings or elections of officers. The management group will be the same people who are doing it presently and will be called the Carroll Cave Management Team (CCMT). They will be resposible to report to the MCKC in all matters concerning Carroll. That change takes place today (July 1, 2022). Jeff Page will step down as president of CCC and Bob Lerch will become the chairman of the CCMT.
The surface property owned by CCC along with sub-surface rights will be transferred to MCKC. It will be known henceforth as the Carroll Cave Preserve. The surface ownership is approximately seven acres that includes the silo entrance to Carroll, a fenced off campground area and a gravel road along the fenceline to the silo from Mill Creek Road. These tranfers will be executed over the next several months.
Access to Carroll will be controlled much as it has in the past, with the exception of a membership prerequisite. Only the members of the CCMT will be required to be members of MCKC. We do strongly encourage all Carroll Cavers to join MCKC as this acquistion will need funds to maintain it down through the years. Trips will continue to be led by leaders qualified by the CCMT and waivers will still be a requirement.
All this comes at a time when major improvements to the site are underway. There are plans to erect a pavilion type shelter near the silo where cavers will have some shade and rain protection while camping. Mowing equipment is on the list and upgrades to the power service are being considered. Funds from the CCC’s treasury will be used to pay for these projects. There will also be a tranfer of money to MCKC to cover the site’s typical expenses for the next few years.
The natural entrance to Carroll remains off limits as it has for decades. We hope this change will spark a new dialogue between the owners of the natural entrance and MCKC where some kind of cooperation will be possible. We hope the people now involved with Carroll will see this as a big step forward and the MCKC members who have not experienced Carroll will make plans to get involved in one of Missouri’s most important caves.