WHEREAS, there are more than 4,000 caves across Virginia, making the Commonwealth third in the nation for cave abundance; and
WHEREAS, caves are a valuable natural resource that make up significant elements of groundwater systems; provide drinking water, scientific discovery, and opportunities for exploration and adventure; and contain vital archaeological and historical information; and
WHEREAS, Virginia’s caves support a vast wealth of biologically diverse plants and animals, many of which are only found in Virginia; and
WHEREAS, our natural and commercially operated caves contribute substantially to Virginia’s tourism, scientific research, education, and recreation opportunities across the state; and
WHEREAS, Virginia’s caves should be recognized for their immense importance to Virginia’s geological resource bank; for providing habitats for Virginia’s wildlife; and for providing educational, recreational, scientific, and economical value; and
WHEREAS, organizations like the Virginia Speleological Survey, the Cave Conservancy of the Virginias, local Grottos of the National Speleological Society, the Virginia Cave Board, the American Cave Conservation Association, and thousands of local private cave owners have dedicated efforts and resources to increase the level of protection, knowledge, and exploration of Virginia’s caves;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize April 22-28, 2018, as CAVE APPRECIATION WEEK in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.