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Carlsbad Caverns Restoration Hangout (SOLD OUT/Waiting List)

October 15 - October 22

Whites City RV Park • Whites City, NM • October 15-22, 2022

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

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. The unique Carlsbad Caverns Restoration 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. The primary focus of this Hangout will be 4 1/2 days of work underground, deep inside the heavily-visited parts of the caverns, cleaning lint and other debris from the formations and trails.

Carlsbad Caverns Big Room
The Big Room in Carlsbad Caverns. (NPS photo)

Wait...lint??

Yes, lint! A tiny bit of lint may be innocuous–but in 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.

Gerry van der Wende SKP #140014 with a ball of lint gathered during the 2020 Hangout

Keeping lint from overwhelming popular destinations like Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, Wind Cave in South Dakota, and Mammoth Cave in Kentucky is a daunting task. That’s why the National Park Service relies on volunteers–like our Carlsbad Hangout group in 2020–to clean the lint, helping to preserve the delicate balance of these underground wonders for future generations. 

2020 Hangout participants at the Natural Entrance to Carlsbad Caverns

During the 2020 Carlsbad Caverns Cleanup Hangout, our members removed more than 27 pounds of lint from the cave–the most ever collected by a single group of volunteers! That lint is now featured as part of an educational exhibit in the park’s Visitor’s Center.

Although Escapees Hangouts had planned to return to Carlsbad in 2021, the park’s volunteer program was suspended due to the COVID pandemic. As a result, there is now two years’ worth of lint accumulated on the cavern’s formations and trails!

One day's worth of lint collected from the caverns in 2020

What you'll be doing

Each day of our work will begin with a descent into the cave either on a steep concrete path or by elevator. One to two miles of walking may be required to get to a work site. Some walking may be on short but steep inclines. Once there, you’ll work underground for about three hours, using paintbrushes to gently remove lint and other debris from the trails and formations. No prior experience is needed–you’ll learn all you’ll need to know in a brief training session the first day.

Much of your time will be spent kneeling on rocks or concrete or standing on the lower portions of formations. After a lunch break of about an hour in the Visitor’s Center cafe or the outdoor picnic area, we’ll return to the cave in the afternoon for another three hours or so of work.

We’ll be working under the guidance of a Park Ranger. Carlsbad Caverns National Park will provide all required safety gear: helmets with attached headlamps, knee pads or kneeling pads, masks, and rubber gloves.

Lint picking along the back of the Big Room trail in 2020

Other activities during the Hangout

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 have a full day of fun on Sunday starting with a potluck brunch, followed by an afternoon hike in nearby Guadalupe Mountains National Park, and ending with the evening Bat Flight Program in Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Thousands of bats fly out of the Natural Entrance at sundown to feed. (NPS photo)

During the week, there will be time after our work sessions for you to visit other areas of the caverns on your own, 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 restaurants in Whites City or Carlsbad. And on our last day of volunteering, we’ll be treated to a special private tour of King’s Palace, a protected area of the cave closed to the general public that contains some of Carlsbad’s most beautiful formations.

2020 Hangout participants on a private guided tour of King’s Palace. (photo credit: Karen Cross SKP #139685)

Is this event right for me?

You should be aware that the work during this Hangout will be physically demanding, involving:

  • extended time underground (5-6 hours each weekday, up to 3 hours at a time)
  • 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 with 90% humidity year-round)
  • walking about 2-4 miles each day to and from the work sites and within the cave
  • walking on steep grades (the paved trail descending into the cave through the natural entrance has areas that exceed a 20% grade)

This Hangout is not recommended for individuals with heart conditions, breathing problems, severe joint conditions, or significant mobility impairments. Please read the full Lint Picking Work Position Description from the National Park Service before registering. Children must be at least 12 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.

If the unusual physical demands of this volunteering-oriented Hangout are beyond your comfort level, be sure to check out some of our more typical Hangouts. For events designed specifically for working-age RVers–with most activities in the evenings and on weekends–try an Xscapers Convergence. Or for more of an all-inclusive, guided-tour experience, you may prefer one of the club’s Head-Out Programs (HOPs).

Hangout location

Our home base for the Carlsbad Caverns Cleanup Hangout will be the Whites City RV Park, located just outside the gates of Carlsbad Caverns National Park and about 20 miles south of the town of Carlsbad. All sites have full hookups with 50 amp electrical service in the big-rig sites and 30 amp service in the smaller sites. A laundry room and a recently remodeled bathhouse are also available on site.
 
Please note that although this older park is gradually being upgraded, it is not a resort. 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. 
 
Due to volunteer group size limitations, this Hangout is limited to only 19 attendee RVs. Tickets will go quickly—so don’t wait to register

COVID-19 precautions

Although Escapees recommends that attendees be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations before attending this Hangout, proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test is no longer required. 

Please see the club’s current COVID-19 Event Policy for our current health and safety recommendations and practices, as well as situations under which you may not attend this Hangout if you’ve had recent symptoms of or a positive test for COVID-19.

Schedule

Activities and schedule are subject to change. Activities marked with an *asterisk are not included in your Hangout fee.

Saturday, 10/15

Arrival and check-in at Whites City RV Park

Evening welcome gathering & introductions

Sunday,10/16

Potluck brunch

Hike McKittrick Canyon in Guadalupe Mountains NP

Bat flight program at Carlsbad Caverns NP

Monday, 10/17

Volunteer training; work in caverns

Group dinner at El Jimador in Carlsbad

Tuesday, 10/18

Volunteer work in caverns

Group dinner at Cactus Cafe in Whites City*

Wednesday, 10/19

Volunteer work in caverns

Hangout dinner

Thursday, 10/20

Volunteer work in caverns

Group dinner at Red Chimney Bar-B-Q in Carlsbad*

Friday, 10/21

Work in caverns/volunteer debrief

Private guided tour of King’s Palace

Guadalupe Mountain Brewing Co. tour & optional dinner*

Saturday, 10/22

GTHO breakfast

Departure

Your registration includes:

  • 7 nights RV camping in a full hookup site
  • Group dinner at El Jimador in Carlsbad
  • Guadalupe Mountain Brewing Co. tour
  • Social activities
  • GTHO departure day breakfast
  • Hangout hosts

Additional costs to consider: National Park admissions (on non-volunteering days), optional meals out

All activities listed for this event are subject to change.
 
Local transportation is NOT provided. We will carpool to the Caverns and other offsite activities in our own vehicles.

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. 

Hangout price

You must be an Escapees RV Club member to attend this event. If you are not currently a member, you will be able to add a new membership during the registration process.

By registering for this event, you are representing and agreeing to the following: 

  • You understand the event’s intent, and for yourself, your heirs, executors, administrators and representatives, you absolve and hold harmless Escapees, Inc. and its affiliates, and any other parties connected with this event in any way, together with their respective successors and assigns (the “Sponsors”), singly and collectively, from and against any blame and liability for any injury, harm, inconvenience, or any other damage of any kind whatsoever, which may result from or be connected in any way to your participation in the event.
  • You are physically capable of participating in this event, and your recreational vehicle, other vehicles, and any other equipment you may use to participate in the event will be in working condition. You will observe all applicable laws (including obtaining relevant licenses) and event rules and will generally conduct yourself in a safe and prudent manner while participating in the event.  You absolve and hold harmless the Sponsors from any damage you may sustain because of any breach of these representations.
  • You consent to and permit emergency treatment of yourself in the event of an injury or illness while participating in this event.
  • You give permission to the Sponsors to use your name and any pictures/videos taken of you during the Event in any promotional materials, publications, or on the Internet.
  • 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.
  • By registering, you will also receive occasional email notifications of future Hangouts; however, you can opt-out of these notifications at any time. 
  • If COVID-19 protocols are still required at the time of the Hangout, you will help provide a safe environment for everyone by complying with our health and safety rules. If requested, you will sign a written agreement releasing Escapees from liability should you become ill during or after the event.

How to register

Before registering, be sure you have read and understand the physical requirements for this Hangout.

To register, click the button below and follow the instructions on your screen. If you need assistance with your registration, please call Escapees Event Registration at ‭(936) 755-1060‬‬.

Registration opens Wednesday, April 27, 2022
at 10:00 a.m. Central Daylight Time.

We’re sorry, but this Hangout is currently sold out. If you’d still like to attend, please join the waiting list below. We’ll notify you if a spot opens up.
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 with a confirmation of your registration. If you don’t receive it, call Escapees Event Registration at ‭(936) 755-1060‬ or email registration@escapees.com to be sure that your registration was processed correctly.

After you register, please join the Hangout group on Facebook (a link to this group will be in your confirmation email). We will use this group to communicate with Hangout attendees before and during the event. You will also receive one or more emails before the Hangout with more information as needed.

Cancellations & travel insurance

Should you need to cancel your registration, call Escapees Event Registration at ‭(936) 755-1060‬ between 8 am and 4 pm Central Time, Monday through Friday, or email registration@escapees.com. You may be entitled to a partial refund of your registration fees, depending on when we receive your cancellation:

  • On or before August 16, 2022: $50 cancellation fee, remainder of payment refunded
  • August 17-September 15, 2022: 50% refund of full event cost
  • After September 15, 2022: no refund

We recommend that you purchase travel insurance after registering to protect your investment in the Hangout if you must cancel due to unexpected illness, death, or certain other contingencies. Travel insurance can also help to cover medical and trip interruption expenses for emergencies that occur during the Hangout. Pre-existing medical conditions are waived as long as you purchased your insurance within 15 days after your Hangout registration fee payment. Get a personalized online travel insurance quote now.

Waiting list

If this Hangout is sold out when you try to register, please join the waiting list by completing the form below. There are usually several cancellations before a Hangout…so if a spot opens up and you’re the next one on the waiting list, you’ll get another shot at registration! (Note: please don’t join the waiting list unless and until the Hangout sells out. Entries received before that time will be ignored.)

Details

Start:
October 15
End:
October 22
Event Category:
Event Tags:
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Website:
escapees.com/hangouts

Organizer

Escapees Hangouts (Hosts: Cheryl & David Goldstein)
Email:
hangouts@escapees.com

Venue

Whites City RV Park
17 Carlsbad Caverns Hwy
Whites City, NM 88268 United States
+ Google Map
Phone:
575-361-3665
View Venue Website

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