Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Educational Publications

Caves of Maryland

1971, Franz, R. and Slifer, D.

Educational Series 3

Note to Reader

Educational Series No. 3, Caves of Maryland, has always been one of Maryland Geological Survey’s most popular publications. Although E.S.3 has been out of print for a number of years it is often requested. This reissue is not an exact replica of the original publication, although the original information and illustrations have not been changed.

Dennis Slifer (left) and Richard Franz (right)
The authors of ES 3: Caves of Maryland, Dennis Slifer (left) and Richard Franz (right) circa 1969.

Because the information in this publication has not been edited for content since 1971, it should be considered a historical document only. Some of the caves described here no doubt have been permanently closed or destroyed. Property ownership has also changed in many instances. Geologic interpretations have also undergone change. Therefore please treat this publication as a historical document and do not rely on the information contained herein as an accurate account of current conditions.

From the Introduction

Systematic studies of Maryland caves were begun as early as 1942 by Martin H. Muma and his results published in a series of reports dating from 1942 to 1946. In these articles, 15 caves were described. In 1946, William E. Davies began surveying the state's caves, and this project continued until 1949. Both of these earlier attempts at cataloging the caves culminated in the publication of Caves of Maryland (Davies, 1950). In this report, a total of 53 caves from Allegany, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Howard and Washington Counties were discussed. Since this publication enjoyed considerable popularity, it was reissued several times and appendices were added listing 10 additional caves, most in the Cumberland area.

Since the original survey proved incomplete, several interested cave groups endeavored to update it. In 1961, the Baltimore Grotto under the direction of Charles L. Smith inaugurated a short-lived but successful survey and discovered several new caves. In 1965, preliminary investigations were begun in Washington County by several Hagerstown cavers including Todd Merchant, Steve Bell, Mark Haymond and Dennis Slifer but again this new effort eventually lost momentum. In January, 1966, a new Maryland Cave Survey was initiated as an informal project initiated by Richard Franz upon the suggestion of John E. Cooper (Institute of Speleology, Dept. of Zoology, University of Kentucky and board member, National Speleological Society). In 1968, Dennis Slifer again became interested in Maryland caves and joined Richard Franz in directing the project. Later that year, the Maryland Geological Survey was approached with the idea of publishing the findings of the cave survey. Under the auspices of the Maryland Geological Survey, work was continued until early summer, 1970, at which time the information was compiled into the preliminary draft of the present publication. Without doubt as this publication is used by cavers in the future, more information will be made available and will necessitate a future “new Maryland Cave Survey” and subsequent publication of this new information.

Downloads and Data

Educational Series 3 (pdf, 22.8 MB)

A Gallery of Maryland Caves