The International Show Caves Association (ISCA) is a worldwide organization comprised of members who own or operate caves that are open to the public. The International Show Caves Association provides the forum through which the owners and operators of show caves can interact regarding matters pertaining to caves that are open to the public worldwide.
In the international caving world the International Union of Speleology (Union International de Spéléologie – UIS) serves as the scientific and technical body. Show caves have all the needs of other caves in terms of conservation and preservation. The difference arises through the purpose of a show cave as a method of exposing the public to not only the wonders of the underground world but also to the delicacy of this world and the need to preserve it.
Caves invariably have lives that can be counted in million of years. Responsible show cave operators are only too aware of the fact that their tenure with a cave is but a blink of the eye in terms of the life of the cave.
Once a cave is discovered by man, its pristine environment is affected. From the earliest days of man, use has been made of caves. This use could have been for shelter and/or protection. Other uses have ranged from burial sites to exquisite canvasses for ancient art.
Making a cave into a show cave is commonly recognized, and accepted, as one of the best ways to preserve a cave. Once properly converted into a show cave, the cave is gated and protected from those less than desirable elements who seek to vandalize and destroy caves. Ironically these less than desirable elements may be operating with the justification of science and conservation.
The original participants involved in the formation of show caves recognized the fact that the operation of show caves had the same elements regardless of the part of the world in which the show cave is situated.
In many ways the world of show caves rises above political systems and cultures. There is a common need to preserve and conserve caves, and show caves provide those most fundamental roles of developing awareness and education in these pursuits. These objectives rise above political platforms that may exist from time to time.
In many ways ISCA presents the world with a great example of member nations working in harmony to ensure that show caves all over the world are working
towards the double-barreled purposes of preservation and conservation through awareness and education.
The International Show Caves Association is the forum through which these broad, global purposes will be achieved.