Constitution, Bylaws, and Standing Rules

Updated: April 10, 2019

The Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto (NRMG) is a recognized Internal Organization of the National Speleological Society. The NRMG was chartered in 2000. Our annual report is on file with the National Speleological Society.


  1. The name of this organization shall be the Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto (NRMG) of the National Speleological Society (NSS).
  2. The purpose of this organization shall be the same as those of the NSS, with the additional purpose of organizing NSS members in the general area of Western Montana better to promote the objectives of the NSS.
  3. The NRMG shall be governed by an Executive Committee made up of the following officers:
    • President
    • Vice-President
    • Secretary
    • Treasurer
    • Member-At-Large
  4. Executive Committee shall have complete power to manage the business, to raise funds in any manner not inconsistent with the policies of NSS, and to perform all other necessary functions.
  5. Decisions or actions of the Executive Committee may be overruled by a two-thirds majority of the members.
  6. Executive Committee and general meetings shall be held at such times and places as are determined by the Committee.
  7. A petition signed by two-thirds of the membership shall be mandatory upon the Executive Committee to call a special meeting for the purpose stated in the petition.
  8. Full membership is limited to members of the NSS.
  9. The Constitution and Bylaws of the NSS shall be binding on the NRMG. Any action inconsistent therewith shall be null and void.
  10. Any NRMG property shall revert to the NSS in the event of dissolution.
  11. Amendments to this constitution may be proposed either by the Executive Committee or by a petition of ten percent of the members in good standing. Adoption of the amendment(s) shall require a two-thirds vote of the members voting, either in person or by absentee ballot, provided that notice of the meeting and the content of the amendments(s) shall have been announced to the membership by mail or at a meeting at least thirty days prior to the time at which the vote will be taken.



A. Applications

Applications for membership shall be in writing or electronic mail and shall be accompanied by dues as specified herein and a statement by applicant indicating support for the goals of the Grotto and its conservation policies. All applicants for membership shall be acted on by the Executive Committee.

B: Membership Classes

  • Full-Regular: Is an NSS member, has voting rights, may hold office, and receives any generally distributed publications.
  • Full-Family: NSS member living in same household as a Full-Regular and has the same rights except for not receiving publications.
  • Associate Regular, Associate Family: Are not NSS members, may not hold office, vote only on matters not affecting NSS. Associate Family members live in the household of either a Full Regular or Associate Regular, and do not receive publications.
  • Honorary Members, Other categories:

Provisions may also be made for members under the age of eighteen and other categories as determined by Executive Committee.

C. Dues

The amount of annual member dues, their due dates, and the collection procedures shall be determined by Executive Committee.

D. Termination of Membership

  1. Membership shall be terminated for non-payment of Grotto dues. A member dropped for non-payment of dues may be reinstated automatically upon payment of current grotto dues.
  2. Members may be admonished, suspended from certain privileges, or expelled from Grotto membership for any of the following reasons:
    • Willful misuse of Grotto property or facilities.
    • Willful disregard of the safety of themselves and/or of others while participating in a Grotto activity.
    • Conduct detrimental to the Grotto and/or the NSS.
  3. Disciplinary action under this provision shall be taken only upon a two-thirds vote of the Executive Committee by a secret ballot. Disciplinary action shall be initiated only upon presentation to the Executive Committee of a written petition for disciplinary action, submitted by at least two members of the Grotto not in the same household.
  4. Upon receiving such a petition, the Executive Committee shall take such actions as are deemed necessary to notify the accused member or members, in writing, of the petition, and of the place, date, and time at which the petition will be considered by the Executive Committee. The accused member or members shall have the right to speak on their own behalf. Such considerations shall take place no sooner than twenty-one days and no later than seventy days after the petition is received by the Executive Committee.


  1. No special assessments may be made against members of the Grotto. Voluntary contributions may be solicited by the Executive Committee for specific purposes. A charge may be made for the Grotto’s special publications and extra copies of regular publications, and fees may be collected for use of the Grotto’s property when approved by Executive Committee.
  2. Gifts and bequest may be made to the Grotto in any form or amount and for any use compatible with the purpose of the Grotto.
  3. A charge may be made to non-members for: attendance at Grotto-sponsored activities; use of the Grotto’s equipment and library; copies of publications, maps, and other data, and inclusion of non-members on the Grotto’s mailing list.


  1. Those elected each year shall take the office at the start of the first EC meeting of the fiscal year. The EC shall have the power to remove any EC member who, without just cause, fails to attend (three) regular EC meetings in one fiscal year without sending a proxy or who, without cause, attends no EC meetings in person for (four) consecutive meetings.
  2. Vacancies of the EC that occur shall be filled for the balance of the fiscal year by president’s appointment, subject to majority approval of the rest of the EC. If at the end of that year additional months remain of the original term, the post for the balance of the term shall be filled in the regular election process by the candidate receiving the highest number of votes after those elected for full terms. A tie for such a position shall be broken at the next EC and those successful candidates not tied in the election.
  3. Candidates for the EC shall be made by nominations of members from electronic e-mail and/or at the regular general meeting and subject to acceptance by the member so nominated. The ballot shall have provisions for write-in votes.
  4. EC shall identify a process or designate neutral person(s) to take the role of election nomination and counting process.


Any member of the EC may appoint a member of the Grotto as a proxy to act for him or her at a meeting of the EC. Proxy may act at one meeting for only one EC member. The presiding officer must be notified of such proxy appointment directly or in writing by the absent EC member before the proxy may be allowed to serve. Authorization should state if discretionary voting powers have been given to the proxy.


Committee presidents may attend meetings of the EC and have privilege of speaking on matters relevant to the committee’s function but shall have no power to vote by virtual of their presidency. Any other member of the Grotto may attend EC meetings and may be granted the privilege of the floor at the discretion of the presiding officer but shall have no power to vote.


The EC will conduct online meetings as needed throughout the year. A quorum at an EC meeting will be a majority of the members of the EC.


Robert’s Rules of Order, as revised, shall govern all procedural questions arising at meetings of the EC when they are applicable and when they are not inconsistent with the Grotto’s constitution and bylaws.


Each action approved by the EC which serves to establish new policies or administrative procedures can be designated as a “directive” or “act”. The Secretary of the Grotto is responsible for maintaining a file of such directives and be responsible for notifying the membership in writing of their adoption.


  1. There shall be at least one General Meeting of the membership (per calendar year). The date, time, and place of these meetings shall be provided to the membership before the date of such meeting. The EC shall determine the date, place, time for these and special meetings.
  2. A quorum at a General Meeting shall be twenty members or ten percent of the total membership, whichever is greater number.


Committees shall be established by the EC to execute the work of the Grotto. President of the committees shall be appointed by the president of the Grotto, subject to approval of the EC. Each committee president shall select the personnel and promote the activities of its committee. All committees will operate under the direction and approval of the EC.


The Grotto may acquire real and intangible property, including equipment, literature, and other materials for use by and on behalf of the membership. The fiscal year is the calendar year.


The Grotto may issue and distribute a newsletter to the members in good standing, other than Family members, regular issues of newsletter, and is empowered to issue and distribute special publications, subject to regulations governing the subject matter, publication dates, and distribution as prescribed by EC.


In the event of dissolution of the Grotto, all assets remaining after meeting outstanding liabilities shall be assigned to NSS. However, if the named recipients is not then in existence or is no longer qualified recipient, or unwilling or unable to accept the distribution, the assets of this organization shall be distributed to a fund, foundation, or corporation organized and operated exclusively for the purposes specified in Section 501 (c ) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (or the corresponding provision of any future U.S. Internal Revenue law).


This Grotto is a nonprofit organization. No part of the net earnings of the Grotto shall inure to the benefit of or be distributable to its members, trustees, officers, or other private persons, except that the Grotto shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distribution in furtherance of the purposes set forth in the constitution of the Grotto. No substantial part of the activities of the Grotto shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the Grotto shall not participate in, intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office. Notwithstanding any other provision of these bylaws, the Grotto shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on (a) by a corporation, contributions to which are deductible under Section 501 (c ) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code (or the corresponding provision of any future U.S. Internal Revenue law) or (b) by a corporation, contributions to which are deductible under Section 170 (c ) (2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (or the corresponding provision of any future U.S. Internal Revenue law).


The Constitution and Bylaws of NSS shall be binding on the Grotto where applicable. Any actions inconsistent therewith shall be null and void.


The Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto does not and shall not discriminate members on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender, gender expression, national origin, or military status, in any of its activities or operations.


All proposed amendments in these bylaws must be presented to the entire membership and notice given to the members of the place, time, and date of the General Meeting at which the amendment(s) will be considered for adoption, and provisions shall be made for absentee voting. This notice shall be given not less than twenty days prior to the designated meeting. Adoption of the amendment(s) shall require a two-thirds vote of the members voting, either in person, electronic e-mail, or absentee ballot, and the total votes cast must constitute at least fifty percent of the membership.


R1: Dues (3/28/2015, 4/30/02, 7/7/00) Dues are set at $12 per year per household, payable at anytime, renewable on a yearly basis.

R2: Resources (11/16/02, 7/7/00), The book, Alpine Caving Techniques, Marbach/Tourte, as revised, is the recommended resource for caving techniques.

R3: Elections (3/28/2015, 11/16/02, 07/07/00) The floor will be open for nominations 30 days before the AGM, elections to be held at the AGM with officers assuming positions immediately and will hold office for two consecutive years, unless, a) no accepted nominations are made to replace the officer, and b) the officer expresses desire to maintain the position.

R4: Meetings (3/28/2015, 4/30/02, 10/26/00) The Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held annually at a place and time designated by the EC. Local informal meetings organized members (a.k.a. “Pub Nights”) are strongly encouraged to foster socialization and networking throughout the state.

R5: Newsletter (3/28/2015, 11/16/02), 1. The newsletter editor may be a volunteer or be appointed by the EC, subject to acceptance.  2. The newsletter will be published at least biannually and distributed primarily by electronic means. 2. Editors failing to produce two newsletters in a 12-month time frame will be terminated by the EC. 3. Exchange copies are provided electronically. 4. Complimentary printed issues may be provided at no cost to potential members. 5. Members desiring printed copies may be assessed distribution costs. (stricken 4/6/19 – the newsletter editor has been replaced by our website)

R6: Member’s Statement (3/28/2015), Per Article I: Membership of these Bylaws, the statement of support by a prospective or renewing member of the grotto is: “By willfully becoming a member of the Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto, as a grotto member in good standing, I agree to: 1. Cave with appropriate gear, 2. Follow the current national decontamination protocol (available at, and 3. File a trip report within 30 days of each trip at:

R7: Student Members (3/28/2015), All members of student caving organizations within the state of Montana, such as, but not limited to, The Bigfork High School Cave Club, and the University of Montana Cave Club, are eligible for free NRMG membership upon request. The student members will be verified by their respective cave club on a yearly basis. This free membership will be terminated once said individuals are no longer enrolled in the school that themselves and the cave club were associated with, or once their membership within the cave club ceases.

R8: Lewis and Clark Cavers Volunteers (4/12/17), all Lewis and Clark Caverns Employees shall receive free NRMG membership for the full time that they are employed at the caverns if they so wish.

R9: Honorary Membership (4/12/17), The NRMG may grant a “Distinguished Lifetime Membership”, with all benefits of paid membership, Due Free, to those members of the NRMG or past Montana grottos or organizations (i.e. Shining Mountain Grotto, Lake Missoula Grotto, Montana Speleological Survey), who have contributed significantly to caving and the understanding of caves in the Northern Rocky Mountains. Members may be nominated yearly at the Annual Grotto Meeting and voted upon by the NRMG membership via secret ballot at the AGM. Up to one member per year may be chosen.