BENSONS CAVE PRESERVE
The Bensons Cave Preserve is in Schoharie County NY and was donated to the NCC by the US Cave Conservancy in 2014.
Bensons Cave is the downstream portion of Secret Caverns, a commercial cave. The two caves together have just under 6200 feet (1890 m) of passage. The main entrance to the cave is a pit entrance with a 65-foot drop. The drop is free rappel. North of Bensons Pit the cave is a mix of hands and knees crawl and walking passage with many formations. Eventually, a wet crawl is reached. In some of the older descriptions this is called Ladies Limit. Beyond this, one reaches the Junction Room. There is a 4-foot drop into the room. This is where the passage from Secret Caverns enters from the NNW. The main cave continues east and south.
Visitors to the Bensons Cave Preserve are required to obtain a parking permit and to follow the guidelines listed below. Visitors who fail to obtain a parking permit or abide by these guidelines are considered to be trespassing and are subject to arrest.
The parking permit is available from the property managers via email and will be printed on NCC letterhead. The names of the trip participants must be written onto the permit, and the permit should be clearly displayed on the dashboard of a car vehicle.
- Minimum group size is 4.
- Each party member must be proficient in vertical caving techniques and must have his or her own vertical gear with which he or she is familiar.
- Visitors are strictly forbidden from continuing north into Secret Caverns unless written permission has been obtained from Secret Caverns management to do so.
- All persons entering the cave must have at least the following minimum equipment: helmet with a chin strap; three (3) sources of light, one of which must be helmet mounted; and knee pads.
- It is recommended that visitors going beyond the wet crawl north of the Bensons Pit wear an article of clothing that protects from immersion in the water in the cave.
- Cave exploration and hiking on karst terrain may involve risk or injury, even death from various hazards, both obvious and obscure, including, but not limited to, slippery and uneven ground, open pits, injury by acts of other people, falling, being struck by falling objects, becoming lost, the presence or sudden appearance of water, and hypothermia. All cave visitors are expected to abide by the normally accepted rules of safe and conservation minded caving as outlined by the National Speleological Society, 6001 Pulaski Pike, Huntsville, Alabama 35810-1122.
- Bensons Cave must be treated as a unique natural resource, and nothing should be taken out of the cave except trash.
- All work projects must be clearly defined and authorized beforehand.
- Each group is expected to clean up any trash in the cave or on the property.
- Special Use Groups: Insurance or certificate thereof may be required for private groups such as schools, camps, and scouts. Groups such as the Boy Scouts will be required to show proof that they are complying with their own rules regarding caving.
- Follow US Fish and Wildlife's hookup discord
At the present time Bensons Cave is closed October 1st through April 30th. This is to protect hibernating bats. Contact the manager (below) for additional information.
To obtain a Bensons parking permit or if you have questions about this preserve, please contact the preserve manager at https://www.necaveconservancy.org/free-matchmaking-sites/