Cave Protection

ARSPAN's creation

When a caver discovers a site, the main worry is always its protection.
Here is a short historic explaining the association's birth.
  •     25th December 1989
Discovery of a breathing hole and beginning of desobstruction.
Discovery of Noël Cave (Bidon 07)
by Jean-Michel HERRERO and Brigitte DUMARCHE.
  •     3rd February 1990
The cave is opening and exploration begins,
discovery of very concretionnated cave system
totalizing more than 2km of development.
  •     28th April 1990

First known visitors.

  •     15th August 1990

Beginning of marking operations and this cave's protection.


How to protect ?

When we have made an inventory of Noël's cave richness, nwe noted that it was necessary to protect it and find out proper solutions for its safety :

    Solution n°1 : TO LET OPEN
The regional expérience proves us that in two or three years nothing remains...(examples : Rochas Cave, Spetaclan Cave,...)

    Solution n°2 : TO FILL UP
You only have to fill up the cave after the exploration.

It's a draconian solution that doesn't allow the discovery to be share and only pospone the problem ... (there will be another new inventor one day !!!)

    Solution n°3 : TO PUT A DOOR
The experience shows that on the protection subject that is ineffective and unsatisfying for the cavers because quickly we come to the monopolization of the key's possession, and the abuses that ensue from that...

We see quickly that the existing solutions prove inadapted to our ambitions, but in fact why is it worth protecting ?


Why to protect ?

  • because it would be ridiculous to destroy in a few seconds the millennium marvels...
  • because to explore is also to damage unintentionally...
  • because we must protect the underground environment to continue our activities without excessive constraints from the outside...
  • because the discovery's share must stay the caving's essence...
  • because we prefer to inform than to heal...
  • because we must hand down to caver's future generations a heritage as beautiful as the one we have known...

Everything considered, we had to devise an innovatory protection solution and that's how solution n°4 was born.


Basic principles

The cave must be accessible to everybody willing to protect the environment, from which some conditions :
  • a door is put but it's open to anybody who asks for it. (falling risks are eliminated and the draught effects are limited)
  • An appointment enables a first meeting and allow the caver to let the visitors know about the survey, the last explorations and give advice.
  • To reserve early allow to spread the visits over the year round.
  • A visit's sheet, filled in after the exploration allows to implicate cavers in our worry for the protection.
  • All sensible parts are marked and protected.
  • The exploration is free, you must only indicate the discoveries so as to protect them.
  • to implicate the local and regional people in charge. (owners, towns, reserve, federations, ...)
This is how, in October 1992 the Caving Research and Protection Association for Noël Cave was born...

... better known as A.R.S.P.A.N.

Why this association ?

  • to be recognized by the authorities.
  • to share out the tasks relative to the protection and to incite to exchange one's own experience.
  • to give us the means to succeed : financially, legally,...
  • to carry on the searchings in and around the cave.
  • to improve the marking and the access to the cave.
  • to exploit the information given by the visitors and to set up an annual contact with a journal.

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