Frequently Asked Questions
What is the KSS?
The KSS is an organization that was founded to archive data about the caves and karst in Kentucky.
Think of the KSS as a kind of library of cave-related data.
Why is the KSS needed?
The KSS is needed because there is no secure repository in which to store the large amount of data that has been gathered about the caves and karst of Kentucky and there is no centralized repository in which to store it. Much of this data has already been lost as people move, suffer fires or floods, or eventually die..
With a permanent organization like the KSS holding the data, the issue of data loss can be mostly eliminated.
Why do we not give out data for recreational caving?
Primarily because that isn't the purpose behind our organization. And we are not equipped to handle the demand for access and landowner relations issues.
If we get a request for data for the purpose of recreational caving, we will forward the individual or group to the local NSS grotto.
Finally, we are not set up to handle the potential liability issues accompanying recreational use.
Aren't you just hoarding data then?
Absolutely not! Although we don't give out data for the purpose of recreational caving, there are a large number of valid reasons for us to give out data. For some valid data requests, see the next question.
How can I join the KSS?
Fill out a membership form and send it to the address on the form. Alternatively, members of the KSS board frequently bring application forms to caving events. Any board member would be happy to accept your application.
Are the KSS records subject to the Freedom Of Information Act?
No. The KSS does not receive any public funds and the KSS files are under KSS management and are not KGS property.
Links to applicable laws, regulations and statutes:
Requests such as the following will most likely be fulfilled.
What are some examples of acceptable data requests?
Survey projects (both surface and underground)
Environmental Impact Studies
Can you be a little more specific?
According to the Bylaws, " Recreational Caving shall be defined as exploring, touring, visiting or exploiting caves for amusement, sport or adventure without making, documenting, and reporting scientific observations to an established speleological or other scientific organization."
Examples of scientific observations (with are made in Kentucky caves): Unprocessed cave survey notes and measurements, digital cave survey data, cave maps, coordinate or map locations of karst features. In addition, descriptions and photographs of geological, hydrological, mineralogical, biological, archeological, historical or paleontological specimens, notes regarding the observations of such resources, as well as engineering data such as geophysical data (drilling records) indicating karst.
Examples of scientific organizations: Kentucky Speleological Survey, National Speleological Society, Cave Research Foundation, Kentucky Geological Survey, professional geological, biological and archeological societies, etc. Grottos of the NSS do not qualify as scientific organizations, except by variance of the Data Access Committee. A receipt for data submitted, letter of transmittal, or published reports may be requested as evidence of scientific intent.
How do you request data?
Download and fill out a Data Request form from the KSS website
The KSS reserves the right to charge a photocopying fee to cover our costs.
How do you submit data?
Download and fill out the data submission form from the KSS website.
How do you handle security?
The files of the Kentucky Speleological Survey are located at the offices of the Kentucky Geological Survey in accordance with a memorandum of understanding. The physical records are stored in the Mining and Mineral Resources Building on the University of Kentucky campus in Lexington. The records are stored in steel filing cabinets equipped with locks. The room housing the cabinets is accessible only to authorized staff of the Kentucky Geological Survey and the building is fitted with automatic fire alarms and sprinklers. The room is locked at night.
Is the KSS active in environmental causes?
No. By design, the KSS is not an political organization. Our political neutrality is spelled out in our Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws.
We are a library of cave and karst related data. We maintain the data submitted to us and loan the data to any requester that meets the requirements of our By-Laws.
Why should I as an individual become a member?
Members are entitled to free web-based access to lists of data we held. In addition, membership shows that you support the goals of the KSS.