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Stone Wilderness
by Stormy on August 15, 2002

When most people talk about wilderness, they think of remote places in forests or in the mountains. As it turns out, there is another type of wilderness that most people never get to see the Stone Wilderness located underground.

I guess I liked the first caving talk enough that I had to come back. Marmots, I think, are natural cavers and learning about this underground world is really exciting. When I hibernated for the winter, I never went more then ten feet from the burrow entrance. There just wasn't the need. I was warm and comfortable and it was dark, so I could sleep. Caves, it turns out, can go on for miles and miles! Some of the bigger ones can go for well over a hundred miles! This talk was made by Ronal Kerbo, the director of the National Parks Services' Geologic Resources Division and the number one caveman (or did they say cave manager?) in the government. Ronal Kerbo has caved all over the world, having been invited to study some of the most beautiful caves in some of the most remote locations. Today he told the audience about his experience exploring the Stone Wilderness. The crown jewel of caves in the National Parks Service and the cave Ronal appears to love to talk about most is Lechuguilla Cave in Carlsbad National Park in New Mexico. The cave as we know it today was discovered in 1986 and is the sixth longest known cave in the world and the deepest known limestone cave in the United States. Lechuguilla has also turned out to be the most beautiful cave in the world. Formations not seen anywhere else in the world, as well as formations longer and larger than in other caves are commonplace in Lechuguilla, making it a unique environment. Lechuguilla will never be commercialized and will be preserved for future research.

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