Restoration, Excavation, conservation
The Underground Texas Grotto can connect you with cave experts who can evaluate your property for the presence of caves, sinkholes, and filled in karst features. UTG cavers have been mapping, exploring, and restoring Texas caves to their natural form and function for more than 70 years. Without the hard work of the UTG, Austin would have a tiny fraction of the caves that are currently known to exist. We endeavor to continue educating, exploring, and conserving the natural heritage beneath our feet. Most of all, we are here to help introduce all those who are interested with the wonders hidden under the ground that they walk on every day. You can learn more about what we do below.
Karst walking is the process of methodically searching the landscape for caves, sinkholes, and springs. The goal is to thoroughly canvas a property to gain an understanding of its potential for caves. If you think you have a cave on your property, contact us and we can schedule a time to check it out. Keep in mind, a cave may not look like a cave if it has been filled in. If you have a low spot in the yard that never holds water or a small hole that blows air, you may have a filled cave! We can excavate and restore that feature to its natural form and function.
Caves are sensitive, and so is the information about where they're located. For this reason, we are discreet, private, and professional—as professional as cavers can be, anyway. None of the information about what we find (archeology, paleontology, biology) will be shared without permission. Fill out the contact form if you would like to schedule a karst walk for your property.
Why do we dig?
Texas is home to countless caves, springs, and sinkholes which form the landscape collectively referred to as Karst. This fact often comes as a complete surprise to the people that live here, unless they run into a caver or discover a cave on their property.
That is because for generations, ranchers and developers have been filling in and covering up caves for profit, convenience, and fear. But, why should you care?
Caves are critical to our way of life in central Texas, whether you know it or not. The caves carry rainwater directly to the Edward's Aquifer which 2 million people rely on for water. To put it in their own words, edwardsaquifer.net describes it as "one of the greatest natural resources on Earth, serving the diverse agricultural, industrial, recreational, and domestic needs of almost two million users in south central Texas."
So, when a cave is clogged with trash, dirt, rock, or concrete, it cannot play its role in refilling the aquifer. The water meant for the cave is trapped on the surface, contributing to flooding. What's the solution? dig!
You can watch one of these digs in action, documented by UTG caver Greg Sullivan.