Almost from its inception in 1970, the Sligo Grotto managed access to Silers
Cave in Berkeley County, WV for the non-resident landowner. That landowner has since
passed away and the family sold the property. The next owners sealed the
cave and did not allow any access for years. The cave was reopened in April of 2018
and the new owners have partnered with the
Mid Appalachian Karst Conservancy to make Silers an MAKC
Sligo and Baltimore Grottos have partnered to look after the cave, and Jim McConkey
has returned to his long-time position as cave manager.
For a good (and humorous!) introduction to the cave, read the trip report by Claire, age 10:
(Claire's report is reprinted from the Baltimore Grotto News courtesy of Dwight Livingston
Silers is a maze cave developed at the exposed junction of the Helderburg and
Tonoloway limestone deposits and currently has over 8400' of mapped passages,
making it the 2nd largest cave in the panhandle of West Virginia. The cave is
mostly developed on one level, with a total depth of 60'. Most of the
cave is an irregular grid, with tall and wide major axis passages and smaller
interconnecting crawl- and stoop-ways. The major axis of the cave follows the
local uplifting, leaving nicely parallel passages. The cave contains some
formations, but is better known for its mud. A very fine slip fault can be
seen in the aptly-named Fault Room. It is a great cave for both beginners
and experienced cavers.
In 1967, Dr. David Culver discovered a new species of amphipod in the cave,
Stygobromus cooperi, which to date has not been found anywhere else.
Although amphipods normally live in parts of the cave inaccessible to humans,
access to the cave was limited to protect them, and the cave was subsequently gated.
The cave is normally gated, unless the local vandals have dealt us another
setback. This means we will have to mail the key to you before your trip.
Please do not expect to get in on a day or two's notice, even if the cave
has openings that month!
Following a very successful joint VAR at Friars Hole, the Sligo and Baltimore Grottoes
donated part of the proceeds to installing a brand new, bat
friendly gate on April 28-29, 2001. It didn't take vandals long to attack the new gate,
so repairs were made on September 21st, 2002. The cave was sold
not long after that, and sealed for many years, keeping vandals out.
Silers Cave Preserve is now managed by MAKC.
See the Preserve's web site for access information, or e-mail SilersCave at karst dot org.