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Media inquiries: Please contact Julie Buchanan, julie.buchanan@dcr.virginia.gov, 804-786-2292.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: April 03, 2012
Contact: Julie Buchanan, Public Relations Specialist, (804) 786-2292, julie.buchanan@dcr.virginia.gov

Cave Week to highlight Virginia's underground natural areas

RICHMOND - Virginians are encouraged to explore the world beneath their feet during Virginia Cave Week, April 22-28.

Virginia Cave Week is intended to raise awareness of Virginia's caves and surrounding limestone habitats known as karst. The week features discounted admission to some commercial caves as well as opportunities for educators to engage their students with activities and field trips.

This year's theme, "Hike the Karst Trail," focuses on the newly established Virginia Cave and Karst Trail. This thematic trail links cave-related resources that stretch from Strasburg to Radford.

There are more than 4,000 known caves in Virginia, predominately in the Shenandoah Valley and southwest. Caves provide habitat for rare or threatened species, such as bats and cave-adapted invertebrates. In addition, karst supplies water to many communities in Virginia. Most caves are on private property, while a few have become popular tourist destinations, or commercial caves.

"Virginia Cave Week is an annual celebration of the commonwealth's underground natural heritage," said Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech. "I encourage individuals and families to visit one of Virginia's outstanding commercial caves to see why these places are unique."

Visit www.vacaveweek.com for educational resources and a list of commercial caves offering discounts April 22-28. To receive discounts, visitors must mention Virginia Cave Week when purchasing tickets.

Virginia Cave Week is sponsored by the Virginia Cave Board. The board was established by the General Assembly in 1979 to conserve and protect the state's caves and karstlands and to advocate the wise use of cave-related resources. Board members are appointed by the governor.

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