(a) “Cave” means any void, cavity, recess, or system of interconnecting passages which naturally occurs beneath the surface of the earth or within a cliff or ledge, including natural subsurface water and drainage systems but not including any mine, tunnel, aqueduct, or other manmade excavation, and which is large enough to permit a person to enter. The word “cave” includes any cavern, natural pit, or sinkhole which is an extension of an entrance to a cave.
(b) “Cave life” means any life form which is indigenous to a cave or to a cave ecosystem.
(c) “Gate” means any structure or device located to limit or prohibit access or entry to a cave.
(d) “Owner” means a person who owns title to land where a cave is located, including a person who holds a leasehold estate in such land; the state or any of its agencies, departments, boards, bureaus, commissions, or authorities; or any county, municipality, or other political subdivision of the state.
(e) “Person” means any individual, partnership, firm, association, trust, corporation, or other legal entity.
(f) “Sinkhole” means a closed topographic depression or basin, generally draining underground, including, but not restricted to, a doline, limesink, or sink.
(g) “Speleogen” means an erosional feature of a cave boundary, including, but not restricted to, anastomoses, scallops, rills, flutes, spongework, or pendants.
(h) “Speleothem” means a natural mineral formation or deposit occurring in a cave, including, but not restricted to, a stalagmite, stalactite, helictite, anthodite, gypsum flower, gypsum needle, angel hair, soda straw, drapery, bacon, cave pearl, popcorn (coral), rimstone dam, column, or flowstone. Speleothems are commonly composed of calcite, epsomite, gypsum, aragonite, celestite, or other similar minerals.
(2) VANDALISM.—It is unlawful for any person, without the prior written permission of the owner, to:
(a) Break, break off, crack, carve upon, write upon, burn, mark upon, remove, or in any manner destroy, disturb, deface, mar, or harm the surfaces of any cave or any natural material which may be found therein, whether attached or broken, including speleothems, speleogens, or sedimentary deposits. This paragraph does not prohibit minimal disturbance or removal for scientific inquiry.
(b) Break, force, tamper with, or otherwise disturb a lock, gate, door, or other obstruction designed to control or prevent access to a cave, even though entrance thereto may not be gained.
(c) Remove, deface, or tamper with a sign stating that a cave is posted or citing provisions of this act.
(3) CAVE LIFE.—It is unlawful to remove, kill, harm, or otherwise disturb any naturally occurring organism within a cave, except for safety or health reasons. The provisions of this subsection do not prohibit minimal disturbance or removal of organisms for scientific inquiry.
(4) POLLUTION AND LITTERING.—It is unlawful to store in a cave any chemical or other material which may be detrimental or hazardous to the cave, to the mineral deposits therein, to the cave life therein, to the waters of the state, or to persons using such cave for any purposes. It is also unlawful to dump, litter, dispose of, or otherwise place any refuse, garbage, dead animal, sewage, trash, or other similar waste materials in a cave. This subsection shall not apply to activity which is regulated pursuant to s. 373.106, regarding the intentional introduction of water into an underground formation, or chapter 377, regarding the injection of fluids into subsurface formations in connection with oil or gas operations.
(5) SALE OF SPELEOTHEMS.—It is unlawful for any person to sell or offer for sale any speleothems in this state or to transport them for sale outside this state.
(6) PENALTIES.—Any person who violates subsection (2), subsection (3), subsection (4), or subsection (5) is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.