Rolling Oaks Preserve

Preserve Manager: Bennett Lee

Rolling Oaks Preserve is five acres in a residential neighborhood near Government Canyon State Natural Area. TCMA purchased the property from the United States Marshals Service in 2003. It contains four known caves: Chimney Cricket Cave, Niche Cave, Obvious Little Cave, and World Newt Cave. These caves were documented in 1983 in the book Caves and Karst of Bexar County by George Veni.

Biology

The lush karst environment of Rolling Oaks Preserve is home to numerous species, including two endangered species. The known cave fauna at Rolling Oaks Preserve includes:

  • Cicurina varians (endangered cave spider)
  • Rhadine infernalis (endangered cave beetle)
  • cave crickets
  • harvestmen
  • spiders
  • beetles
  • scorpions
  • silverfish
  • springtails
  • assassin bugs
  • millipedes

In addition, Rolling Oaks Preserve is frequented by deer, raccoons, possums, and other large mammals, and has served as a monitoring station for bats.

Visitation

The caves at Rolling Oaks Preserve are relatively small and frequently contain "bad air" (high levels of CO2 from decomposing organic material that washes in). Thus, visitation is limited.

However, there is an active dig project at Niche Cave. This is wide cave that was historically used as a trash dump. During the dig projects, we have removed a substantial amount of rocks, dirt, and fill. Some of the items recovered include numerous intact glass bottles from the early 1900s to a dot-matrix printer from the late 1900s. We are currently beyond the trash fill and into the beginnings of a large collapsed room.

In addition to the dig project, we also have workdays each year to help maintain the property, including thinning underbrush, removing invasive species, maintaining walking trails, and clearing cave entrances. Afterwards, volunteers usually have an opportunity to explore the caves.

If you like to help with one our workdays and visit the caves on the preserve, please contact the Preserve Manager.

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