National Speleological Society

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National Speleological Society
Logo of the National Speleological Society
Abbreviation NSS
Formation Bill Stephenson, January 1, 1941; 74 years ago (1941-01-01)
Wm. Shrewsbury
Main organ
Board of Governors
Affiliations American Association for the Advancement of Science, International Union of Speleology

The National Speleological Society (NSS) is an organization formed in 1941 to advance the exploration, conservation, study, and understanding of caves in the United States. Originally located in Washington D.C., its current offices are in Huntsville, Alabama. The organization engages in mapping, cleaning, scientific study, purchase and gating of caves. It has more than 10,000 members in more than 250 grottos.[1]


The organization is currently divided into 11 regions:

  • Arizona Regional Association (ARA)
  • Mid-Appalachian Region (MAR)
  • Mississippi Valley-Ozark Region (MVOR)
  • Northeastern Regional Organization (NRO)
  • Northwest Caving Association (NCA)
  • Rocky Mountain Region
  • Southeastern Regional Association (SERA)
  • Southwestern Region (SWR)
  • Texas Speleological Association (TSA)
  • Virginia Region (VAR)
  • Western Region

Within these regions are local chapters known as grottos. The grottos carry out the local level recreational and conservation-related business of the NSS.


The Speleological Society of the District of Columbia (SSDC) was formed on May 6, 1939 by Bill Stephenson. In the fall of 1940, the officers of the SSDC drafted a proposed constitution that would transform the SSDC into the National Speleological Society. On January 24, 1941, Bill Stephenson sent a letter to all members of the SSDC announcing that "on January 1 the Society was reorganized as a national organization."[2]

On February 6, 1974, a pioneering cave diver named Sheck Exley became the first chairman of the Cave Diving Section of the National Speleological Society.[3][4] The new section began with 21 members in 10 different states.[3]


The NSS produces a number of publications, including:

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Caving in America, National Speleological Society, Huntsville, AL. 1991. ISBN 0-9615093-7-6
  3. ^ a b Staff. "Cave Diving Section of the National Speleological Society was founded". Retrieved 2013-04-20. 
  4. ^ Kendrick, DF (2009). "Science of the National Association for Cave Diving (NACD): Water Quality, Hydrogeology, Biology and Psychology". In: Pollock NW, ed. Diving for Science 2009. Proceedings of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences 28th Symposium. Dauphin Island, AL: AAUS; 2009. Retrieved 2013-04-20. 

External links[edit]