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Carlsbad Caverns Cleanup Hangout Header

White's City RV Park • White's City, NM • January 18-25, 2020

This Hangout is currently sold out, but join the waiting list and we’ll let you know if a spot opens up!

Volunteer to help preserve Carlsbad Caverns!

If you’re like most Escapees members, you treasure the beauty of America’s National Parks. This unique Hangout will provide you with an opportunity to give back to those parks by volunteering your time to help the National Park Service preserve the wondrous formations of Carlsbad Caverns. On Monday through Friday of this Hangout, we will spend 4-5 hours each day underground, deep inside the heavily-visited parts of the caverns, cleaning lint and other debris from the formations.

Carlsbad Caverns Big Room


Yes, lint! A tiny bit of lint may be innocuous–but in famous and frequently-visited caves, those pieces of fiber, fabric, hair, skin cells, dust, and dirt can accumulate in the breeze-less environment. In 1987, National Park Service experts discovered that lint can eventually be incorporated into the formations themselves, or the water that condenses on it can dissolve the formations over time–permanently damaging them either way. Plus, lint makes cavern walls and formations look gray and dingy when they should be bright and colorful.

Keeping lint from overwhelming popular destinations like Carlsbad Caverns and Mammoth Caves is a daunting task. That’s why the National Park Service relies on large groups of volunteers to clean the lint at least once a year, helping to preserve the delicate balance of these underground wonders for future generations. In the last 30 years, volunteers have removed more than 500 pounds of lint from Carlsbad Caverns!

Volunteer holding a clump of lint cleaned from cavern formations

What we'll be doing

After a one-hour training session on the first day, we will use paint brushes of various sizes to gently remove lint and debris in the Main Corridor and the Big Room of Carlsbad Cavern. No prior experience is needed. We’ll be working under the guidance of a Park Ranger.

Carlsbad Caverns Cleanup Hangout (SOLD OUT/wait list) 1

Carlsbad Caverns National Park will provide all required safety gear: helmets with attached headlamps, knee pads and rubber gloves. The park will also provide face masks, eye protection and seat pads if you want them. Each participant will also receive their own safety vest with the Escapees logo to help other park visitors know who we are. (These vests are also a great safety accessory to have if you ever have a roadside breakdown in your rig!)

Carlsbad Caverns Cleanup Hangout (SOLD OUT/wait list) 2

Working conditions - what to expect

You should be aware that this work will involve the following:

  • (extended time in the cave (4-5 hours each day)
  • kneeling and sitting on hard surfaces
  • stooping and bending
  • working in low light conditions
  • working in cool and damp conditions (the temperature in the cave is 56°F and humid year round)
  • walking about 2.5 miles each day to and from the work sites, including descending into the cave on a steep, paved trail with areas that exceed a 20% grade.

This project is not recommended for individuals with heart conditions, breathing problems or severe joint conditions. Read the full Lint Picking Work Position Description Lint Picking Work Position Description from the National Park Service before registering. Children should be at least 10 years old and able to follow the directions of NPS staff. Please register for this Hangout only if at least one person in your party is willing and physically able to participate in the volunteer work.

Other activities

The Hangout will begin with a welcome gathering on Saturday night (arrival day). And because our work in the caverns won’t begin until Monday, we’ll start the day Sunday with a pot luck brunch, followed by an afternoon group hike and an evening activity.

During the week, there will be time after our work sessions for you to visit other areas of the caverns on your own or on a ranger-guided tour, explore other parts of the National Park on the surface, or just hang out with your friends. In the evenings, we will get together for casual dinners either in camp or at a restaurant in the nearby town of Carlsbad, New Mexico, perhaps followed by karaoke, a movie, games or a relaxing campfire. 

Hangout location

Our home base for the Carlsbad Caverns Cleanup Hangout will be the White’s City RV Park, located just outside the gates of Carlsbad Caverns National Park and about 20 miles south of the town of Carlsbad. You can choose from a full hookup site with 50 amp electrical service, or a limited number of dry camping sites. Water, dump facilities, a laundry room and a recently remodeled bathhouse are also available on site.Carlsbad Caverns Cleanup Hangout (SOLD OUT/wait list) 3

Although this park is recently under new management and is gradually being upgraded, it’s still a modest facility. The park can accommodate large rigs, but the sites themselves are relatively close together. However, because we won’t be spending that much time in the park, we’ve chosen this location so as to minimize our commute to and from the Caverns each day. 

Registration includes:

  • 7 nights in an RV site (FHU or dry camping)
  • Escapees logo safety vest
  • Welcome gathering
  • Social activities
  • GTHO departure day breakfast
  • Hangout hosts

Reminder: this is a volunteer service project

Be sure to read the full Lint Picking Work Position Description from the National Park Service before registering. Please register for this Hangout only if you are willing and physically able to participate in the volunteer work. 

By registering for this event, you are agreeing to the following: As an attendee, you assume all risk and danger relating to your personal property, RV and attendance at the Hangout, whether occurring prior to, during or after the event. In the event of loss or theft, no claim will be made upon Escapees, its volunteers, employees or agents. Volunteers may be directing and assisting you in your parking areas. However, it is the driver of the vehicle who is ultimately responsible for avoiding obstacles or dangerous situations, and is solely responsible for any damage to one’s property or the property of others. As an attendee at this event, you are granting your permission to be filmed, videotaped, audiotaped, or photographed, and granting to Escapees RV Club and the National Park Service the full use of any such recordings or images without compensation. By registering, you will also receive occasional email notifications of future Hangouts; however, you can opt-out of these notifications at any time.

How to register

There are two ways to register and pay: by phone or online.

  • To register by phone, call Escapees Member Services at (936) 327-8873‬ and ask for “Hangouts Registration”.
  • To register online, click the button below and follow the instructions on your screen.
We’re sorry, but this Hangout is currently sold out. If you’d still like to attend, please join the waiting list. We’ll notify you if a spot opens up.

After you register

Watch for an email from registration@escapees.com for a confirmation of your registration. If you don’t receive it, call (936) 327-8873‬ and ask for Hangouts Registration to be sure that your registration was processed correctly. 

Important: as soon as you register, please join the Escapees Carlsbad Caverns Cleanup Hangout group on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/CarlsbadHangout/). We will use this group to communicate with Hangout attendees before and during the event. You may also receive one or more emails before the Hangout with more information as needed.


If you cancel on or before December 18, 2019, you will receive a refund of your Hangout registration fee minus a $50 cancellation fee. There will be no refunds for cancellations received after December 18, 2019. Hangout tickets are non-transferable.


January 18 - January 25


Whites City RV Park

17 Carlsbad Caverns Hwy
Whites City, NM 88268 United States