by Mike Mansur

Decades of human visitation into caves have caused moderate to severe impacts. We have been actively working on restoration and formation repairs in Carlsbad Caverns, and Lechuguilla, Cottonwood, Virgin, Hidden, Black, and Little Manhole Caves. I will be summarizing those efforts, as well as introducing some of my new inventions to facilitate formation repairs.

About Me

I began caving with my Father in 1968 in Vermont, and became a Life Member of the NSS in 1985. I began my cave restoration experience in 1986 at the Carlsbad Caverns Restoration Field Camp with Rich Wolfert as the project leader. I was the project leader for the 1995 Carlsbad Caverns Restoration Field Camp. Since 1986 I have led and/or participated in dozens of volunteer work trips including cave restoration, formation repair, mineral inventory, surveying, impact mapping, helium study, and science trips in Lechuguilla Cave, Carlsbad Caverns, and many Guads caves. I was the trip leader of the survey team in Lechuguilla Cave on March 31, 1991, when Emily [Davis] unfortunately broke her leg. I am also currently the project leader for the Lechuguilla Cave Restoration Project, and the Cottonwood Cave Formation Repair and Restoration Project.


  1. just watched the video & listened to it. If I didn’t know you I would never know that such things go on to repair the caves! Thanks, cousin! I’ll let you do it, I don’t think I’ll volunteer to help you! sas

  2. Great talk, Mike. All the painstaking work by such a long list of participants just shows how passionate people are for these amazing NM caves. I was about to type that it made me homesick, but since I live over 1000 miles away, I guess I can only claim to be cave-sick, or Guads-sick!
    ( OOPS! I feel fine, btw. )
    One must be careful about any talk involving being sick these days. If I want to spend a week caving there any time soon, apparently the state now requires 2 weeks of self-quarantine before anybody can come near me.
    Maybe I should persue some solo caving permits?
    I wouldn’t mind one bit being isolated up on Three-Mile Hill for 2 weeks!

    1. Hi Dan,
      Great to hear from you! I am glad you enjoyed the presentation. I have had so many great people help me with these projects! You are correct-the state currently does require a two week self-quarantine for those folks traveling here from out of state, but hopefully things will get better in the near future. If you are interested in helping out with these projects, let me know. I will be scheduling many more trips once we are able to do so.
      Take care, and keep in touch!

  3. What an immense amount of work by a very dedicated group. I hope the folks in charge of these caves appreciate and value your services. Mike, your inventions are ingenious. Makes me think there is a genetic component, going back to the early Mansur inventors and toolmakers in Weston, Vermont. Calvin would be very proud. Thanks for all you do.

  4. I enjoy seeing the formations in caves I have visited mostly in Wisconsin. Thank you and other cave volunteers for preserving these formations for the public to enjoy,
    Nancy Graham(great great granddaughter of George Hawkins Mansur from Weston, VT)

  5. Mike Mansur, have you written or filmed the step by step process to determine where to drill for the pin, how to prepare the rock paste, or any of the beautiful steps you have taken in these repairs?

    1. Hi Angel,
      Thank you for your question. I do have slides and photos of the steps I take, and how to prepare the slurry mix and application process, but I have not put it together into a presentation yet. I will be going into Cottonwood Cave in New Mexico this weekend to continue my Cave Formation Repair Project, and will take fresh pictures, and create a presentation. Can you send me your e-mail address so I can send it to you next week?
      My e-mail address is:
      Mike Mansur

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