Bensons Cave, Schoharie County, NY was donated to the NCC by the United States Cave Conservancy (USCC) on March 11, 2014. Bensons is an important link in the master cave system and watershed which runs from Secret Caverns, through Bensons, Barytes (and therefore Wolferts), and out into the mines under the Howes Cave quarry. Since the water from the Howe Caverns system resurges in the same area of the mines, this could be argued to be the connection between Howe and Secret.
Bensons has been known about and explored for many years, and it was the foresight of ten cavers who pooled their personal funds in 1993 to purchase about 6.5 acres surrounding the entrances to the cave from the previous owner, Mr. Endre Rutsky. They formed the USCC with the assistance of caver-attorney Jim Harbison, and have preserved and managed the property since then.
Discussions to transfer Bensons to the NCC have been ongoing for the past few years with credit going to several Board members for their continued efforts, with special thanks to Emily Davis for her persistence.
In the Fall/Winter of 2013 the final papers were drawn, and on March 11, 2014 the transfer from the USCC to the NCC took place.
A Management Plan for the NCC's newest Preserve has been completed and Interim Preserve Manager Luke Mazza appointed. Property cleanup and the installation of a kiosk will commence this Spring and during the NRO weekend, May 17-18.
Bensons becomes Cave Preserve #8 of the NCC and a worthy addition. As well, it is a vital link in a major karst watershed and an opportunity to protect another drainage basin.
For further information, access and usage policies, see www.necaveconservancy.org, Bensons Cave Preserve.