Presently, the caves of the Cup Coutunn System are sufficiently well-known for being a subject of violent dispute between local organizations on the right of control, protection, and the organization of tourism. Periodically, the matter reaches the point of open resistance, and physical control over the caves changes hands two or three times a year. All of these organizations in their own time have put forth efforts to rescue the caves; and therefore, it is doubly regrettable that a number of top-priority problems are not resolved because of this opposition.
A main problem is the immediate restoration of the air circulation management in the system. Four artificial entrances into the system, pierced during the mining exploitation, changed and forced the air circulation to such a degree that the caves dry at a catastrophic rate, but the mounted trellis doors of reinforcing steel naturally do not save the caves from this. The zone of destruction, caused by the change in the micro- climate, considerably exceeds that caused by the mining exploitation. The damage zone spreads rapidly and may destroy up to 30 per cent of the system after five or ten years. All the proposals of the last eight years on the hermetic sealing of adits, which were made by the speleologists to all the parties, die away in spite of the fact that only a delivery of cement is required, and all work would be done on a voluntary basis.
The second problem concerns the "unintentionally savage" tourism that capitalizes off the popularity of the caves. This kind of tourism has been rampant recently due to a large degree to the above-mentioned confrontation surrounding the caves. Every party of the conflict needs publicity and moral support. That is why if somebody appears who is willing an "international expedition" to organize on a commercial basis, any party to which he applies immediately lends all possible support even without attempts to clear up the real situation. It is not important whether a party openly profits from such events or helps without compensation, pretending that it believes in the announced purposes, or even is inadvertently led astray on that account. This does not change anything. We do not know of a case when these large-scale expeditions brought anything besides harm for the caves and money to the organizer. It is especially deplorable when famous speleologists are dragged into such arrangements and, intentionally or not, take part in them. These criticism do not refer to the widespread participation of the world's speleologists in normal research expeditions that do not have any commercial basis. The situation is paradox in that the idea of the organization of a commercial tourist complex does not cause objections among those advocating the protection of the caves, although in the whole world, the speleologists resist actively against similar projects in really unique caves. In reality, with the legislation, mass psychology and the economy of the region we have, the establishment of a tourist complex is the only way to preserve the caves. Excursions may be organized in the nearest and not particularly vulnerable regions without damage to caves. At the same time, this arrangement shuts down the possibility of uncontrollable attendance to deep regions.
Moreover, organization of such routes is the only way to attract enough capital for if only a partial reconstruction of the damaged part of the caves. Such a restoration project would consist of the clearing up of the most evident traces of the mining exploitation, cleaning of graffiti from speleothems and the like.
The appearance of a tourist complex has another important aspect. The project of a geologically oriented tourist complex (caves are only a part of the project) is not only commercial, but serves the purpose of keeping the intelligentsia in the region. The work of many scientists is connected with geological and mineralogical enterprises, and these specialists are rapidly losing jobs today. If this project does not work, the threat of an alternative scheme to renew mining exploitation of onyx and cave souvenirs may materialize. Therefore, it is very important to achieve in a point of no return in the realization of the tourist project.