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Research, Education, Stewardship. A Multifaceted approach.
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The National Cave and Karst Research Institute (NCKRI) is a non-profit government-supported institute headquartered in the City of Carlsbad, New Mexico. Its goals are to conduct, support, facilitate, and promote programs in cave and karst research, education, environmental management, and data acquisition and sharing.

Surface stream cascades into Gouffre Balaa, Lebanon.

How NCKRI Formed

NCKRI was created by the U.S. Congress in 1998 to:

  1. further the science of speleology;
  2. centralize and standardize speleological information;
  3. foster interdisciplinary cooperation in cave and karst research programs;
  4. promote public education;
  5. promote national and international cooperation in protecting the environment for the benefit of cave and karst landforms; and
  6. promote and develop environmentally sound and sustainable resource management practices.  

NCKRI started as a federal institute within the U.S. National Park Service. In 2006, NCKRI changed to a non-profit corporation to boost its ability in creating partnerships with other organizations, raising funds, and responding quickly to new opportunities. NCKRI is actually a hybrid non-profit. It is an independent 501(c)(3) corporation but maintains its Congressional mandates, obligations, and funding.  

NCKRI was created through three partners: the federal government through the National Park Service, the State of New Mexico through the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology  (New Mexico Tech or NMT), and the City of Carlsbad. New Mexico Tech manages NCKRI’s annual federal and state appropriations and provides vital administrative support. Each of these partners has a permanent position on the NCKRI board and actively participates in NCKRI activities as a formula for success.


NCKRI's Vision

NCKRI will be the world’s premier cave and karst research organization, facilitating and conducting programs in research, education, data management, and stewardship in all fields of speleology through its own efforts and by establishing an international consortium of partners whose individual efforts will be supported to promote cooperation, synergy, flexibility, and creativity.

Current Annual Report