Albany, NY, August 5, 2011 - The Northeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc. (NCC) today purchased over 35 acres of land containing two caves in Canaan, New York. The new preserve in Columbia County contains an unusually long and scenic marble cave which is also a significant bat hibernaculum.
The purchase is in keeping with the NCC's mission statement to protect caves and underground wilderness, and to provide a safe and environmentally educational experience to those who visit the caves and the overlying lands.
When Merlins Cave, the major cave on the preserve, was discovered, Michael Belknap and his wife Martha Burke-Hennessey immediately realized the desirability of turning their property over to a group which would carefully and safely manage the unique features present there.
After parking-area and trail-construction work is completed, the preserve will be open to the public. The caves themselves are somewhat technically challenging and will be open to experienced individuals only.
The NCC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization which owns and manages seven cave preserves with 13 caves on over 79 acres in New York State. It has been operating since 1978.