When Justin Epps crawled down into the Big Room about a month ago, he was dismayed at the site that greeted him and fellow caver Kyle Voyles.
The room, part of the complex that makes up the Bloomington Cave, was littered with beer cans and bottles and a bunch of kids hanging around and drinking.
Just a little over a year ago, a group of caving enthusiasts from nearby states traveled to the Bloomington Cave on weekends for an extensive cleanup operation - hauling out trash and removing graffiti from its fragile walls. "It was really frustrating," Epps said.
Voyles, the Arizona state cave coordinator who also works as a physical science technician with the Bureau of Land Management, called the recent vandalism disheartening.
"We are in the process of doing our management plan and the cave must be protected," Voyles said. "We will be gating the cave and require a permit. It's a free permit, but all of this is a direct correlation with the way people treat the cave."
The Bloomington Cave is unique because it is a tectonic cave and, by far, the largest cave in Southern Utah and northern Arizona. It is also the fourth-longest cave in Utah. (...)
Full article: Thespectrum.com