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Whites City RV Park • Whites City, NM • October 7-14, 2023

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!

Be part of the 100-year celebration honoring the volunteers of the Caverns! As RVers and Escapees members, we all take great pride in the visiting America’s National Parks. The unique Carlsbad Caverns Restoration Hangout–now in its third year–is an opportunity for you to give back to those parks. Feel the powerful emotions of 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.  Please read the “Is this event right for me?” before considering registration for this Hangout.

Carlsbad Caverns Restoration Hangout 2023 (Celebrate 100 years of volunteering at the Caverns!) 1


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.

Carlsbad Caverns Restoration Hangout 2023 (Celebrate 100 years of volunteering at the Caverns!) 2
Gerry van der Wende SKP #140014 with a ball of lint gathered
Carlsbad Caverns Restoration Hangout 2023 (Celebrate 100 years of volunteering at the Caverns!) 3
2020 Hangout participants at the Natural Entrance to Carlsbad Caverns

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 groups clean the lint, helping to preserve the delicate balance of these underground wonders for future generations. 

During the 2022 Carlsbad Hangout our members removed more than 49 pounds of lint from the cave. Our lint is now featured as part of an educational exhibit in the park’s Visitor’s Center.

Carlsbad Caverns Restoration Hangout 2023 (Celebrate 100 years of volunteering at the Caverns!) 4
One day's worth of lint collected from the caverns

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.

Carlsbad Caverns Restoration Hangout 2023 (Celebrate 100 years of volunteering at the Caverns!) 5
Lint picking along the back of the Big Room trail

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, a Ranger-led tour of Kings Palace and ending with the evening Bat Flight Program and Night Sky Program in Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Carlsbad Caverns Restoration Hangout 2023 (Celebrate 100 years of volunteering at the Caverns!) 6
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 will hike in Guadalupe Mountains National Park which contains some of Carlsbad’s most beautiful scenery above the caverns.

Carlsbad Caverns Restoration Hangout 2023 (Celebrate 100 years of volunteering at the Caverns!) 7
Hangout participants on 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 on site. A cafe is also on site.

Carlsbad Caverns Restoration Hangout 2023 (Celebrate 100 years of volunteering at the Caverns!) 8
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


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

Saturday, 10/7

Arrival and check-in at Whites City RV Park

Evening welcome gathering & introductions


Potluck brunch

Ranger-led cavern tour

Bat flight and Night sky programs at Carlsbad Caverns NP

Monday, 10/9

Volunteer training; work in caverns

Group dinner in Carlsbad

Tuesday, 10/10

Volunteer work in caverns

Group dinner in Whites City*

Wednesday, 10/11

Volunteer work in caverns

Hangout dinner and social

Thursday, 10/12

Volunteer work in caverns

Group dinner in Carlsbad*

Friday, 10/13

Work in caverns/volunteer debrief

Hike McKittrick Canyon in Guadalupe Mountains NP

Guadalupe Mountain Brewing Co. tour & optional dinner*

Saturday, 10/14

GTHO breakfast


Your registration includes:

  • 7 nights RV camping in a full hookup site
  • Guided Ranger-led cavern tour 
  • Group dinner at 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) 329-6499.

Registration opens Wednesday, May  17, 2023
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) 329-6499‬ 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) 329-6499 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 8, 2023: $50 cancellation fee, remainder of payment refunded
  • August 8-September 7, 2023: 50% refund of full event cost
  • After September 7, 2023: 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.)

Whites City RV Park

17 Carlsbad Caverns Hwy
Whites City, NM 88268 United States

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