National Speleological Society
Wed . 18 Aug 2018

National Speleological Society

The National Speleological Society NSS is an organization formed in 1941 to advance the exploration, conservation, study, and understanding of caves in the United States Originally headquartered in Washington DC, its current offices are in Huntsville, Alabama The organization engages in the research and scientific study, restoration, exploration, and protection of caves It has more than 10,000 members in more than 250 grottos2


  • 1 History
  • 2 Publications
  • 3 Organization
  • 4 Convention
  • 5 See also
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links


The Speleological Society of the District of Columbia SSDC was formed on May 6, 1939 by Bill Stephenson In the fall of 1940, the officers of the SSDC drafted a proposed constitution that would transform the SSDC into the National Speleological Society On January 24, 1941, Bill Stephenson sent a letter to all members of the SSDC announcing that "on January 1 the Society was reorganized as a national organization"3 The New England Grotto was the first NSS Grotto It was chartered in 1941 with Clay Perry as president and Ned Anderson as vice-president4

On February 6, 1974, a pioneering cave diver named Sheck Exley became the first chairman of the Cave Diving Section of the National Speleological Society56 The new section began with 21 members in 10 different states5


The NSS produces a number of publications, including:

  • NSS News, monthly
  • Journal of Cave and Karst Studies quarterly, formerly NSS Bulletin from 1940–1995
  • Membership Manual, yearly
  • American Caving Accidents, every few years


The organization is currently divided into 11 regions:

  • Arizona Regional Association ARA
  • Mid-Appalachian Region MAR
  • Mississippi Valley-Ozark Region MVOR
  • Northeastern Regional Organization NRO
  • Northwest Caving Association NCA
  • Rocky Mountain Region
  • Southeastern Regional Association SERA
  • Southwestern Region SWR
  • Texas Speleological Association TSA
  • Virginia Region VAR
  • Western Region

Within these regions are local chapters known as grottos The grottos carry out the local level recreational and conservation-related business of the NSS They generally function as the local NSS chapter/club Many Grottos however, operate in areas outside of their local area, with many operating in several states7 Most Grottos also participate in Regions which are loose associations of Grottos7 Regions are also an internal organization of the National Speleological Society7

Grottos are required to meet certain organizational requirements as outlined by the National Speleological Society These include:8

  • A constitution and bylaws that are submitted to, and approved by, the NSS
  • A minimum of at least five members of the Society
  • It is NSS policy that full membership in a Grotto requires NSS membership However, in practice, this is often not the case

A full list of grottos can be found on the NSS website


The NSS hosts a yearly convention, which is generally held in the month of June Grottos take turns hosting the convention

Convention Year Location
2015 Waynesville, MO
2016 Ely, Nevada
2017 Rio Rancho, NM
2018 Helena, MT

See alsoedit

  • Caving
  • Speleology
  • Cave diving


  1. ^ "National Speleological Society : Organization" National Speleological Society Retrieved January 24, 2013 
  2. ^ "The National Speleological Society" cavesorg 
  3. ^ Caving in America, National Speleological Society, Huntsville, AL 1991 ISBN 0-9615093-7-6
  4. ^ Caving in America Huntsville, AL: National Speleological Society 1991 ISBN 0-9615093-7-6 
  5. ^ a b Staff "Cave Diving Section of the National Speleological Society was founded" cavedivinghistorycom Retrieved 2013-04-20 
  6. ^ Kendrick, DF 2009 "Science of the National Association for Cave Diving NACD: Water Quality, Hydrogeology, Biology and Psychology" In: Pollock NW, ed Diving for Science 2009 Proceedings of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences 28th Symposium Dauphin Island, AL: AAUS; 2009 Retrieved 2013-04-20 
  7. ^ a b c Weberg, Meredith Hall 2010 NSS News Members Manual National Speleological Society pp 2, 53–65 
  8. ^ "Policy for Internal Organizations" PDF National Speleological Society 

External linksedit

  • The National Speleological Society
  • Journal of Cave and Karst Studies National Speleological Society

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