Cave Conservationist

The Newsletter of Cave Conservation and Management

Volume 14 No. 3 October 1, 1995

Published by the NSS Section on Cave Conservation and Management

Sellicks Hill Quarry, Hawaii Road Crisis, Sloans Valley Landfill, Arizona Bat Management, Cave Registers, New Melones Resource Plan, Providence Mountains MOU, Annual Meeting Minutes

The Cave Conservationist is the official publication of the Conservation and Management Section of the National Speleological Society. Distribution is free to members of the Section. Section membership costs $5 annually and should be mailed to the Secretary. (A membership form for your convenience is included on page 21.) Additional complimentary copies are distributed on a temporary basis at the discretion of the Section to NSS members, internal organizations, cave owners, and others involved in cave conservation projects. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the either the Section or the NSS and should be attributed to the author or, in the case of uncredited articles, to the Editor.

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Evelyn Bradshaw, 10826 Leavells Road, Fredericksburg, VA 22407-1261.

SUBMISSIONS: Articles and other Cave Conservationist correspondence should be sent to the Editor. Submissions on computer disks should be made with 3.5" IBM compatible diskettes, . Microsoft Word, Word Perfect 5.0-3 compatibility, or straight ASCII format is preferred. Do not format materials for multiple columns! Diskettes will not be returned unless requested. Arrangements may be made for transmission via modem; call or write the publisher for details. Or send an e-mail message, or your article, to the Publisher via the Internet to Note: if you send diskettes or articles to the Publisher, be sure to notify the Editor that you have done so, and send him a hard copy. Please note that the Cave Conservationist is posted on the Internet World Wide Web. If you don't want your article posted, please request that in a cover letter with your article.

Copyright 1996 NSS Conservation and Management Section, except as noted. Internal organizations of the National Speleological Society may reprint any item first appearing in the Cave Conservationist so long as proper credit is given and a copy of the newsletter containing the material is mailed to the Editor. Other organizations should contact the Editor.

Printed by members of the D.C. Grotto and the Potomac Speleological Society.

Cover illustration is reprinted from the Australian Caver, submitted via the Internet..

Visit our World Wide Web site on the Internet at

Conservation & Management Section Officers

Chairman and Publisher: Rob Stitt
1417 9th Ave. West
, WA 98119


Editor and Vice-Chairman: Jay R. Jorden,
11201 CR 132
Celina, TX 75009-2527

Secretary-Treasurer: Evelyn Bradshaw,
10826 Leavells Road
Fredericksburg, VA 22407-1261


Directors at Large: Mel Park
1541 Peabody Ave.
Memphis, TN 38104
George N. Huppert
1830 Green Bay St.
La Crosse, WI 54601





The ERDC Report is Released 11/22/95

















I've just returned from the 1995 National Cave Management Symposium held in Indiana. Over 150 cavers, cave managers, cave owners, and cave scientists attended this year's Symposium in Southern Indiana. This was an invaluable opportunity for exchanging information and ideas about caves and cave management. Since the proceedings of the Symposium will be published separately, we won't be excerpting much of it here, but a future issue may contain a summary article.

The 1997 Symposium will be held in Washington State, with field trips to caves on Vancouver Island, Canada in the planning stages. Stay tuned for more information.

This issue of The Cave Conservationist (and the next one, which will be mailed at the same time) contain a variety of information and articles collected over the last several months. Some of it is out of date by now, as issues tend to be fast moving and may be resolved by the time it makes it into print. For a more up-to-date window onto many of the fast moving issues, check out the Section Web page on the Internet. - Rob Stitt


Submitted by Heiko Maurer via the Internet.

Mine workings uncovered an opening in a Cambrian dolomite quarry on private property in late 1991. The Cave Exploration Group of South Australia (CEGSA) was called in, in September 1991, to map the cave on condition of total secrecy. There were nine trips into the cave totaling 40 hours, with the last being on October 26th 1991. These resulted in a map, a video and some photographs, which were handed over to the Quarry. Approximately 1km of passage was surveyed with many potential leads and some very fragile (aragonite) and beautiful formation, as well as sediment beds. The Quarry claimed insurance and liability problems and barred cavers further access to the cave, named Sellicks Hill Quarry Cave and numbered 5A20. The following two years were spent negotiating, in good faith, access to the cave while, it was later discovered, the quarry prepared to blast the cave.

The quarry, with the approval of the department of Mines and Energy South Australia (MESA) and in the interests of 'safety' detonated charges to implode "The Big Room", a chamber 70x30x20m on Friday, Dec 10, 1993 the day before a State election. The Big Room was said to have posed a collapse danger to vehicles traveling over it, along a haul road crossing the north east corner of the room.

The Quarry manager, Ron Delaney notified Dr. Grant Gartrell who had been negotiating with the Quarry and MESA for the cavers. Grant was furious at the betrayal of trust and no longer felt bound by the secrecy agreement. The media was notified and the local tourist commission was alerted to the fact that a potential major tourist attraction had possibly been destroyed. Presentations were made to the local shire council and the tourist association. Ministers were approached and their staff briefed. The media took a close interest. The newly elected state government succumbed to the pressure and called an "Inquiry into the Facts" and notified the cavers on the afternoon of the 25th. The 26th was a public holiday and the Inquiry sat on the 27th & 28th of January, 1994. We effectively had one day to gather our facts.

Fortunately, interstate experience was available and Australian Speleological Federation (ASF) Senior VP Pat Larkin was flown over along with DR Armstrong Osborne. The Quarry and MESA argued that the cave was professionally and completely destroyed, that the Big Room was a safety hazard and that under occupational health and safety law the quarry was obliged to make the area safe. The frame by frame viewing of the video of the blast was saddening.

A constant problem was that the Quarry presented their data as facts with little evidence, for example their drilling logs showed that they had to skew the cavers map some 20-25m in an easterly direction to fit the quarry floor and where they thought the Big Room was under it; any challenge to their facts always responded in hiding behind "commercial confidence" reasons. Being a medium sized commercial enterprise they would have political clout and would have lobbied the local council and government ministers, particularly the Minister for Mines and Energy who is perceived to have more influence than the Minister for Environment and Natural Resources. The company had previously provided hospitality tents at major sporting events such as the F1 Grand Prix, in which political leaders and other captains of industry mingled and were entertained.

To the surprise of the other parties, the cavers gave a very professional and persuasive presentation, arguing for access to the cave to ascertain the state of the cave. Thus no further quarrying should be permitted in the area of the known cave. We argued that significant parts of the cave would have survived the blast and physical inspection was the only way to assess the state of the cave-if it was destroyed, worth preserving or had tourism potential. The footage from the failed attempt to blow up Speaking Tube Cave at Mt. Etna, Queensland, helped enormously, although the same lessons are available to those planning future blasting of caves.

We pointed out that the quarry had been operating quite safely for two years, by simply having the dump trucks drive around the area of the Big Room, pointed to the conflict over responsibilities within MESA and presented draft legislation to require notification and investigation of the discovery of significant voids encountered during routine quarry drilling operations. At no stage was closing the quarry presented as an option; we simply want to establish the facts (is the cave still there?) by a physical inspection.

The Inquiry report , by the independent assessor Messrs. Grimes and Moore, was entirely in the cavers favor. The government ignored it. The cavers then put their case before the State Heritage Commission. Its charter is to consider heritage values and ignore any political consequences. It put an interim stop order on the area of the quarry containing the cave. The Minister for Environment and Natural Resources overruled his own Committee, canceled the Stop Order the next day, and publicly denigrated cavers in the media for using the cave as their own private playground for two years, stating that it would cost the government some A$40m to close the quarry. The ASF then took the Minister, Quarry and MESA to court.

The case was set down for hearing before Justice Bollen on 30-31 May. We received excellent legal representation and had set up a fighting fund to raise cash and personal guarantees of $40k. The arguments had changed from safety, tourism, heritage and economics to legal ones about whether the Minister had acted properly in overturning the advice of his own committee (to impose the Stop Order and investigate).

The Judge found against the cavers and an appeal was considered but eventually rejected on the grounds of expense and the lowered chance of success. Meanwhile the Shadow Ministers of the Labour (opposition) and Democrat parties had been kept informed and they raised questions in the state parliament, resulting in the matter being placed on the agenda of the Environment and Resource Development Committee (ERDC). In the meantime, quarrying continued and cavers kept a watchful eye on activities in the quarry.

The ERDC meets once per week and the case was listed for May/June 1995. The Committee heard submissions from all interested groups including cavers. The ERDC commenced hearings with a visit to the quarry in late May and then the following groups presented to the Committee:

31/5 Southern Quarries Pty Ltd. - Mr. David Salkeld, General Manager
Professor David Stapledon - Consultant Geologist for the quarry 7/6 Dept. Environment & Natural Resources Australian Speleological Federation
14/6 SA Museum Environment, Legal Community Advisory Service (ELCAS) Conservation Council of SA
7/7 Dept. Mines & Energy SA Dept. Industrial Affairs Southern Quarries Pty Ltd- Mr. David Salkeld, General Manager Olliver Geological Services Pty Ltd - Consultant Geologists for the quarry

In total four submissions were made to the committee, being three written submission and the presentation of 7th June. The Sellicks Hill fighting fund, funded the attendance of Dr. Armstrong Osborne, Sydney University and Ms. Willow Forsyth, Westpac Bank also from Sydney to appear on our behalf. The ASF funded the attendance of Patrick Larkin, Senior Vice President and Dr. Grant Gartrell completed the presentation team.

Grant submitted a paper and spoke regarding the cave discovery and exploration (Sep-Nov 91), all the negotiations and discussions with Southern Quarries Pty Ltd and Mines and Energy SA up to the blast (Dec 10, 94). Highlighting several issues dealing with the 'Quarries Confidential Agreements' and the proposed consultancy contract, the promises and continued intent, by all parties, to allow access again. He then pointed out that since the blast, through the Independent Inquiry we have discovered that they had been planning the blast for at least 4-6 weeks and that he had had a number of discussions with both the quarry and MESA during that period and they gave no indication of their intention. This was a crucial point which the Committee reiterated in questioning Grant, that the cavers had been misled by the quarry and a government department.

Dr Osborne presented a case from the scientific perspective, giving facts and details and drawing comparisons with other caves in Australia. He referred to the government's Independent Inquiry Report (Messrs Grimes & Moore) and the transcript of the Inquiry, Jan. 94, in supporting our case. The significant question the Committee asked of Dr Armstrong was "How long do you believe the quarry will need to be disrupted to allow for scientific assessment of the cave ?" Dr. Osborne replied that approximately two weeks, in cave research, initially to gather data. This may not have to disrupt quarry operations as this depends on where they are blasting and the frequency of blasting.

If we recall the governments press release of 11 Mar. 94, they referred to figures of A$8-14m to quarantine the cave area and up to A$40m to close the quarry down. Ms. Forsyth handles a significant Mining default loan portfolio for Westpac Bank and presented a case to assist the committee in deliberating about the economics. Her presentation concluded that the upper limit for closing the quarry completely was A$8m and that the upper limit to quarantine the cave area was A$2.3m. A very significant difference in magnitude to the figures used by the government.

Unfortunately, time ran against us (the committee started late) and Patrick was only given five minutes to sum up the case. He did this well, getting across the message that the Game Keeper should be separate to the Poacher. The Committee invited further written submission from the cavers.

The Sellicks Team then took their fingers to the keyboard and produced a final written submission, we included a paper written on "Tourism Assessment of Sellicks Hill Quarry Cave," commissioned from Ernst Holland, Karst Manager, Jenolan Caves Trust. We obtained copies of Cave & Karst Acts from the USA and other Australian states and ensured that we had covered and answered the Committee's Terms of Reference. The submission was completed around 2am early one Sunday morning, ready for delivery to the ERDC. Patrick also submitted a paper dealing with the government processes, the legal questions and how this failed and should be altered to ensure this doesn't happen in the future.

The quality of the work and the presenters for the ASF are beyond reproach. Comments have also filtered back via politicians and others that the ERDC was also very impressed. The future of karst and caves in South Australia HAS CHANGED. Government departments will no longer treat them, nor the caving fraternity, lightly

The Committee has finished the hearings on Sellicks and the latest news is that they will report to Parliament in late September. Once their report has been tabled in Parliament, the public will be able to obtain a copy, and the respective Ministers and Government departments will be given three months to respond.

The ERDC report will be the beginning of the next phase.

The ERDC Report is Released 11/22/95

A preliminary assessment, before close study, of the ~150 page report hot off the presses: The Environment and Resources Development Committee (ERDC) tabled its Report into Sellicks Hill Quarry Cave today at 2.15. In its Report, the ERDC recommends that, if possible, the Sellicks Hill Quarry Cave be opened up to further exploration. In the face of conflicting evidence about the cave's current condition, the Committee finds that the best way of assessing that condition now is to enter the cave and have independent experts evaluate the evidence collected underground. The Committee was careful to emphasize however that such entry should only be attempted if: 1) an initial downhole camera study finds that the cave retains its potential value, 2) it is safe to enter and 3) non-intrusive and non-destructive access is possible. The Report says that the quarry owners' role in the implosion was central and crucial. The Report criticizes Mines and Energy SA's (MESA) failure to involve other agencies with greater expertise in a wider range of disciplines in the decision-making process. The Report is also critical of the length to which MESA has been prepared to go "in an effort to re-write the history of its involvement in this controversy", adding that, "there is an obvious and irreconcilable discrepancy between the contemporaneous evidence about the Department's role and the view of that role subsequently fashioned and presented to the Committee."

The Report basically follows the Grimes and Moore recommendations and the government has two months to reply.

The Committee has drawn on the Memorandum of Understanding between the Nature Conservancy and the NSS, Nov. 1991. A big THANK YOU all for your support, especially Rob Stitt and the NSS Office!

Heiko Maurer


In August 1995, Mr. Norman Olesen announced plans for a cut-rate "emergency radial to be built in 1996 through the heart of the Puna lava cave area, the world's greatest concentration of lava tube caves. Mr. Olesen is Deputy Director of the Hawaii County Planning Department, and a member of the staff of the office of the Mayor of Hawaii County.

Most of this "emergency road" would consist of upgrading present unpaved or partly paved subdivision roads, with a short length of new road to connect Ainaloa Boulevard to 9 Road in Hawaiian Acres Subdivision. Parts of 9 Road, F Road, and 8 Road would be rebuilt. Ainaloa Boulevard may or may not be rebuilt.

Cut?and?fill techniques are planned to "smooth out" lava ridges containing Kazumura and other caves, according to Mr. Olesen. The caves themselves are to be "collapsed", unless declared "significant" by state archaeologists. Among those which would be crossed by this "emergency road" are Kazumura Cave, Keala Cave, the D Road Cave System, Pirates Cave and possibly Fern's Cave. Others are believed to be in its path also. Kazumura Cave is the longest lava tube cave in the world, with about 34 miles mapped and exploration continuing. With more than 5 miles of passages, Keala Cave also is world-class, and exploration and mapping are incomplete in the D Road Cave System. Depending on plans for Ainaloa Boulevard, Lower Uilani Cave also may be harmed; it has been nominated for inclusion in the Hawaii State Natural Area Reserve System. The others also contain notable geologic, biologic, cultural, and other resources and values.

The announcement was made at the monthly meeting of the Board of Directors of the Hawaiian Acres Community Association, a large subdivision containing much of the cave area and home to numerous cavers and speleologists. In answer to a question, Mr. Olesen said he would "try to save the caves" but didn't "know anything about speleologists," and relied on archaeologists for information on caves.

Mr. Olesen further stated that an Environmental Assessment must be done before the road is built. To obtain information on the Environmental Assessment and how to provide input, write to:

Mr. Norman Olesen, Deputy Director

Hawaii County Planning Department

25 Aupuni Street

Hilo, HI 96720

Submitted 10/28/95 by William R. Halliday PO Box 1526 Hilo, HI 96721 or 6530 Cornwall Court Nashville, TN 37205

Publishers Note Added at press time (11/26/95). Continuing correspondence between cavers and Mr. Olesen reveals the usual sparring that takes place in a situation like this. In a letter to Ron Greeley dated 11/3/95, Olesen denies that the road improvements will have much impact on the caves, stating that "all of the work will be performed on existing compacted gravel roads . . . the county only intends to surface these existing roads with asphalt and slightly widen the shoulders." He goes on to state that the "County of Hawaii has no intention of deliberately destroying lava tubes," and promises a case by case review if any tubes are accidentally uncovered. In a response from Halliday on 18 Nov. Bill points out that at least two bulldozers have fallen into other Puna caves this year, and that Lower Uilani Cave (see issue 14-2 of the Cave Conservationist) has a skylight at the edge of the shoulder in one place. He is still concerned as to whether the county intends to fill any caves that are accidentally uncovered.

Your letters to the County would still be of value.


From an article by Esther Schrader of the San Jose Mercury News Mexico City Bureau:

"MEXICO SEES CASH IN FAMED CAVERNS" Developer buys the right to turn a national park into high-tech attraction

Imagine the U.S. government so strapped for cash it agreed to turn the Grand Canyon into a Disneyland-style theme park.

That's what is shaping up for the world-famous Cacahuamilpa caverns, which a Canadian developer plans to turn into an enormous backdrop for a high-tech Magic Mountain gone wild - complete with exploding volcanoes and life-sized robotic dinosaurs identical to those in "Jurassic Park".

Desperate for money because of its economic crisis, Mexico in April granted industrialist Barry Sendel the first-ever rights to build a concession in one of Mexico's 44 national parks. But Sendel plans more than just snack bars for Mexico's answer to Carlsbad Caverns.

The developer who designed attractions at Disneyland and Universal Studios plans to spend $19 million turning the natural wonder into "The Caves of Time". Using holographics, state-of-the-art headphone sound and dinosaurs made by the creators of Steven Spielberg's "E.T." and "Jurassic Park", visitors would be led through simulations of the Big Bang, the formation of glaciers and seas, the origins of life and the rise of humans.

Outside, Sendel plans an insectarium filled with 50,000 varieties of bugs, a planetarium, museum, hotel, and restaurant. Shuttle buses and gondola rides would take tens of thousands of visitors a year from parking lots to the towering caves.

Sendel has managed the caves since April 18 and has agreed to pay the Mexican government more than $500,000 a year for 50 years. While he is still seeking approval to build the theme park inside the two explored miles of the caves, Mexican officials say the bulk of the project could be approved by September.

Mexican authorities say they have no choice but to allow the development in order to save the caves, which are littered with garbage and in disrepair after years of government neglect. There are no medical services and no security inside the caverns. Dozens of vendors selling everything from tacos to replicas of the caves operate in a free-for-all marketplace outside.

Pedro Alvarez-Icaza, general director of environmental regulation at Mexico's National Ecological Institute, the government agency in charge of the national parks said that is unlikely Mexican authorities will allow the dinosaur portion of the exhibit inside the cave, but that they have no reservations about permitting their placement outside. The government has few reservations about the other effects Sendel plans, including installing fake floors and rock bases over a portion of the cave, pumping in smoke and water based gas to simulate erupting volcanoes, and wiring the caverns for light and sound.

Sendel makes no apologies for his plans. He says he intends to restore the beauty of the caves while attracting more visitors than ever.

"Being an environmentalist myself, I don't want to see the caves destroyed any more than they have been, and they've been allowed to go downhill for years", Sendel said.

The article also quotes Jeanne Gurnee, former president of the National Speleological Society, the foremost cave exploration and protection organization in North America, "Would you do this at Yellowstone Park? At Yosemite? This is a natural phenomenon, not Disneyland, and it doesn't need embellishment." "This goes against the whole idea of a national park, which is to share the wonders of nature with the people of Mexico and with visitors without the benefit of theatrics."


by Hilary Lambert Hopper

(July 15 1995; updated slightly October 9, 1995)

(In this story, there are not a lot of thrilling underground cave pix. This is the cave saga in which Roger Brucker regularly wears a suit and tie). The Sloan's Valley Cave System (SVCS) is located at the rural southern end of Pulaski County in southern Kentucky, just south of the growing city of Somerset, which benefits from the tourism traffic that flocks to Lake Cumberland, a sinuous reservoir that was impounded in 1951.

Parts of SVCS have been used by local residents since the 19th century. During the 1960s-70s a 26-plus mile long cave system, with over 16 entrances, was surveyed and mapped in an effort led by Dave Beiter, Louis Simpson, Bill Walden, and other mainly Ohioan cavers from the Dayton and Cincinnati areas. The exploration of Sloan's lower depths and the potential for connection to the many adjacent cave systems was limited by the backflooding of Lake Cumberland.

During these years the Miami Valley Grotto was established, and a fieldhouse was built on land leased from local landowners. (In an aside, that land is presently for sale). Sloan's is situated in and along valley edges in the Neuman limestone on the western edge of the Cumberland Plateau. The surrounding hills contain economically useful coal seams. From the '40s to the '60s a ridge-top across US 27 from SVCS was first deep- mined and then surface-mined. The surface mining's legacy was a large flat area, a valuable resource in this region. Thus local businessman Junior Weddle was seen as a hero to Somerset residents in the late '70s when he proposed opening a landfill on the site.

Louis Simpson, Nick Crawford, biologist Tom Barr and many other local residents and cavers actively opposed this proposal, as it was feared that offsite surface runoff would flow toward or into the SV Railroad Entrance on one side of the landfill, and into the semi-explored, largely unmapped warren of karst features on the southeastern flank of the proposed landfill. These protests, via the public hearing process, were regarded as trivial by the Kentucky Division of Waste Management which, in agreement with the landfill company's environmental consultants, determined that the Pennington shale layer below the proposed landfill site would act as an excellent natural liner.

In '79 - '80 the Pulaski County Landfill (PCL) opened for business. It was intended to be a 5-year temporary operation but you know how these things go. It received extensions, renewals, and expansions; obtained an asbestos permit in the mid-'80s. Also, producers of "special wastes" - industrial wastes legally defined as non- hazardous - were given temporary or long-term permission to dump in the PCL. The local residents along Dixie Bend Road also reported midnight dumping, the burial of an entire semi, eye-burning chemicals, nauseating chemical odors, etc., over the years. Inspectors dutifully came, wrote these complaints up, found everything OK, and went away. Meanwhile back down across US 27, the main Sloan's Valley CS owners Tom and Cathy Crockett noted that overflow runoff from the landfill's sediment pond was settling on their property in a low area, creating an impoundment of grey and brown sludgy sediment a few inches to several feet deep, and ten by twenty feet on a side. Crocketts and cavers speculated as to what this might contain, and whether or not it ran into the Railroad Entrance of the SVCS. KY state Groundwater people came and looked at the situation, promised to return, and then never came back.

This was the situation in 1992 when scientifically and regulatory- minded cavers joined forces with a local citizens activist group that had been complaining - to no avail - about the PCL for years. The landfill had recently changed ownership to a W. VA/PA company, and its permit renewal was coming up to keep it open to July 1 of 1995. This date, set by the KY Division of Waste Management, was the final compliance date for all of KY's landfills that planned to operate beyond that date. The PCL announced that it was commencing the application process for a major expansion. The original PCL would be closed as of June 30 1995, and the expansion would open for business on July 1 1995. This expansion and upgrade would include a state-of-the-art plastic liner, etc etc. The plan was for the PCL to become a major regional landfill for southeastern Kentucky, to take garbage from 18 KY counties, and all surrounding states.

With these announcements, came the windows of opportunity for citizens to have input, during the public hearing process. Although this had been to no avail during the fight against the original PCL, we resolved that we would make a difference this time. In May of 1992, the Somerset/Pulaski County Concerned Citizens Coalition (hereafter the "Citizens") and the soon-to-be NSS designated Sloans Valley Conservation Task Force met on the Crocketts' front patio. Our first product was a blistering, fact-based, regulation-smart Press Release and accompanying vile green brochure authored by me, geologist Duke Hopper, and world-famous industrial advertising genius Roger Brucker.

Both local papers carried excerpts; and at about that same time, the International Geographical Union's 1992 Karst Problems field trip came to Somerset, led by Drs Doc Dougherty and George Huppert. This also made the local papers - that some 20 international karst experts were being shown the local environmental mess.

This publicity got the state's environment secretary Philip Shepherd involved to the point that in October of '92 he sent a one-day army of water and waste division people into the field to be shown the situation, and to take a broad array of water and sediment samples, as dictated by - us! I led the field trip, and support was provided by Duke Hopper who prepared the itinerary and listed the sampling to be done, and by the Citizens who kept me from collapsing in fear of what I was doing. One of my favorite moments on the trip was when one of the state people first spotted the Crocketts' pond of goo and called back to the waste management manager in an excited voice, "George, wait 'til you get a look at this!" - and George remarking that he had never seen this on any of the maps - well of course not, it was off the permitted landfill property!

My other favorite memory of that trip is this: the SV Task Force had documented and mapped a series of leaks from the old underground mine works, all around the base of the landfill. These leaks were characterized by the red water of acid mine drainage. We were asking that these leaks be tested to determine if they contained landfill leachate - and if so, what was in the leachate. One of these leaks was on the southeastern flank of the landfill, up a snake-infested, logged-over slope, above a series of sediment ponds built by the coal company and landfill company (all of which drained into a swallet). My goal was to show this red leak to the experts and have them take samples.

As I jogged up through the trees, setting a fast pace, I could hear a bulldozer rumbling and roaring in front of me. I finally burst out of the woods to where I could get a good look at the leak we were coming to sample. And what did I see but a bulldozer, poised one minute from obliterating the red leak and its trail downslope toward ponds, swallet, caves, and Lake Cumberland. I called into the woods, "You'd better hurry up!" Give the dozer driver credit - he stopped as soon as he saw me. So as the state experts and Citizens tore out of the woods, they saw a bulldozer, blade up, parked next to the water we had come to sample.

I give you these memories not as foolish anecdotes or to be self-aggrandizing, but because they each perfectly exemplify the attitude and actions of the Ky. state officials and the landfill owner/operators.

By December of 1992, lab results of the sediment and water samples, and a re-test, indicated that several of the red leaks contained organic chemicals, some worse than others, in addition to what you might call the "natural" acid mine drainage ingredients. A leak (called a "spring" and used by locals for water) next to the landfill's entrance, right next to several homes, repeatedly contained vinyl chloride, which according to some laws is a shut- 'em-down carcinogen. The Crockett's goo pond was officially - but only verbally - characterized as "hazardous waste" that would have to be removed and taken to a permitted disposal site.

Also by the end of '92 Duke Hopper, with Joe Morgan's and my field assistance and Jim Currens' lab work, had conducted a short, sharp dye-trace that physically tied the landfill's runoff to the Crockett's goo pond, and to the underground stream within the Railroad Entrance of the Sloan's Valley CS (also, in early '92, caver Mark Turner was attempting to dye-trace the swallet on the southeast side of the landfill). During 1993, in an effort manned most steadily by Wayne Hansen, the SVCTF in cooperation with the MVG installed John Wilson's fabulous cave registers in six of Sloan's most popular entrances, to begin to get a handle on Sloan's caver/spelunker/church and scout trip visitors. Sloan's is a major cave system, a natural regional treasure, and deserves respect and research. It can be a showpiece of realism-based conservation. To assist us, Gina Turner, ET Davis and other cavers came up from Atlanta's Dogwood City Grotto on several occasions. Meanwhile the struggle continued to shut down the present PCL and prevent the expansion from opening in July of 1995, and to get the landfill and state to acknowledge their responsibility regarding the Crocketts' property and probable underground contamination by landfill runoff. We - SVCTF, Crocketts, and Citizens - found that we were shut out of most of the give and take between the state, landfill, legal advisors, and environmental consultants. This was, I was told, because we were not "contractually involved." For those of you who are environmental consultants and public employees, this is a commonplace. For American citizens it is a disgrace, that we be forced to play childish games to obtain documents that pertain to the future of our resources, and in the case of the Crocketts, of the future of their own property! In the summer of '93, probably the PCL's most amazing stunt was to attempt to sneak into its expansion permit request a DOUBLING of the cubic feet it would be allowed to excavate, downward toward the limestone beneath the expansion site's shale. The Citizens caught this stratagem, and used the regulations to require that the PCL go back through the public hearing process. These chess moves culminated in a public hearing in April of '94 - our chance to get the data in to the state that might counterbalance what they were being fed by the consultants.

Here is what we took into that hearing: A performance by Roger Brucker in which he demonstrated with a plate, peg-board, sponge, tube, and bucket, what happened to the leachate as it left the landfill property and headed for Lake Cumberland. He very deliberately poured brown "leachate" from a bottle labeled "vinyl chloride" with a skull and crossbones. When some splashed on front- row audience members he exclaimed, "Oh, I'm sorry, I hope you don't DIE"; it was a great performance and made it clear at a very simple level that the landfill leaked no matter what the county-level waste management board had been told by the landfill owners. One man in the audience growled, "I wonder how much they paid HIM."

Secondly, Duke Hopper had prepared a map - three feet by six feet - in which he mapped the original landfill, the proposed expansion, the cave system, and all of the known surrounding caves and karst features, and the surface and groundwater flow. This was big enough to communicate to an audience, with a copy for the Division of Waste Management. I presented this map along with letters from the country's karst experts - and this is where the wonderful nature of the karst research and conservation community comes into this story.

I asked for help via fax, and I got it: letters to the KY Division of Waste Management from - Jeanne Gurnee, then-NSS Pres; from Al Krause, NSS Conservation Chair; Carl Anderson, Secretary of the Georgia Speleological Society; ET Davis, Chair of the DCG; Roger Brucker; John Mylroie with the backing of the Karst Waters Institute Board; George Huppert; and I am told also from Doc Dougherty and verbally from Ralph Ewers.

Their message was simple: this is not the right place to put a landfill, even less to put a major new landfill, and here is the literature and research to back us up. I read each of these letters, slowly and carefully, and a man in the audience later said he could have "hugged me" for those letters and a woman told me, "I could have listened to those letters all night." This is the power of the scientifically-oriented caving community. The evening was rounded out by a several-hour presentation by the Citizens on the regulations and laws that had been broken, ignored, and sidestepped. The meeting went on until 1:30 am. That was April of '94. In May, these things happened: *The Division of Waste Management sent the landfill company a list of 26 major deficiencies in their expansion application. These included such things as "please put the contours on your map" and "you are required to do an extensive and comprehensive dye-trace study of the site." The deficiencies and their remedies were serious, big-ticket items. I am not here to ask why they were never brought up before. They were finally being brought up. *The original PCL entered the Superfund investigation process. This was the result of work initiated by Roger Brucker with the help of DCG and other Atlanta-area cavers and EPA people; via a request for an investigation submitted by the Citizens to the Atlanta EPA office. *I found an attorney who was willing to help the Crocketts for little or no money. He could not resist; and he was committed to it, after the landfill company's president called him an "ambulance chaser." Also, in May of '94, the landfill company let the payments lapse on its performance bond, the insurance policy that keeps things rolling if a company decides to walk. However this was not discovered by the Pulaski County Solid Waste Board until June of 1995. As Roger said at this point, "I think this game is in its third quarter." By late '94 the KY Division of Waste Management told the landfill company that its expansion application was "backburnered" indefinitely beyond the July 1 1995 deadline because of the company's continuing inability to deal with the application's deficiencies. On Dec. 31, 1994 the Crocketts issued a notice of intent to file suit regarding the contamination on their property, because of the company's and state's inability to do anything about it.

To date in 1995 we have seen the landfill company struggling to move forward, while their once-excellent position in the KY landfill game slips away from them. Temporarily they have become a transfer station, shipping local garbage to a landfill in an adjoining county. They are supposed to cap the original PCL. They have agreed to have Ralph Ewers conduct a groundwater monitoring program of the original PCL. The PCL has now moved up another rung in the Superfund process. The Crocketts have heard nothin' from nobody and the pond of goo continues to slop into the Railroad Entrance, both overland and via a swallet in the side of the goo pond. The landfill company continues to assure the county waste board that they will soon have what they call a "draft permit," but we hear that their consultants keep losing dye in the expansion area's sinkholes. The sinkholes that the state found out about from our map. On July 1 the SVCTF and MVG conducted what we called a "solemn, celebratory hike" from the Railroad Entrance of Sloan's, uphill along the drainage ditch that eventually took us to the leak next to the landfill's entrance - as the resulting newspaper article said, we "followed the path to the poison." This was a day to celebrate the decades of work that cavers and others have put into this struggle, and to celebrate that the expansion that was supposed to be open for business on this date, was not.

The SVCTF, in cooperation with many individuals and groups, has at least temporarily achieved its short-term goals and is now hoping to be able to turn to long-term realism-based conservation of the SVCS. However the PCL continues to maneuver its way toward obtaining a permit for its expansion, and the state cannot seem to deny that permit, although the landfill's engineering consultants keep obtaining negative results in attempting to make the site "monitorable." Apparently, data that does not reflect favorably on the landfill's application process does not have to be reported to the Kentucky Division of Waste Management, and hence there are no concrete grounds for denying the permit. The process and struggle continue.


This article by Debra C. Noel is reprinted with permission from Bat Conservation International (BCI). **

What happens when a state wildlife management agency wins the lottery? For starters, money to fund research and conservation programs is suddenly available, people learn more, and animals benefit. To make sound decisions about the conservation and recovery of wildlife, a management agency must have enough information about an animal or group of animals. In an ideal world, for example, we would know where all important bat roosts are located, what species uses a roost, how many bats use it, when they use it, and what the population trend is.

But the reality for bats is far from this perfect world. The reasons are many; an important one is that "glamour" species like bald eagles, peregrine falcons, and black-footed ferrets have long taken precedence over animals like bats, which often don't inspire the same kind of public sympathy or interest. And because interest in the plight of bats has been comparatively low-on both a public and an official level-funding and adequate personnel with the necessary expertise have also been lacking.

Before 1990, management of Arizona's 28 species of bats was no different. The Arizona Game and Fish Department employed one non-game mammalogist responsible for managing 134 non-game mammals in the state, including bats. Clearly it was impossible for only one person to focus much attention on any one group of animals. Bats weren't entirely overlooked, however, and some surveying and population monitoring was done by independent bat specialists around the state. But with limited money available from the Arizona Non-game Wildlife Tax Checkoff and other state and federal funding programs, the Department itself was able to conduct only a few surveys on only a few bat species.

Then in 1990, wildlife management in Arizona changed. Citizens placed an initiative on the ballot to allocate Arizona lottery profits to a variety of conservation, education, recreation, and access and acquisition purposes. The new "Heritage" program would provide $10 million to the Arizona Game and Fish Department and $10 million to Arizona State Parks-every year. The Arizona voters passed it by a landslide.

Suddenly, the Game and Fish Department had to plan for the best use of this money. A committee of broad thinkers was assigned the task of developing a department-wide plan. One of the first things they did was to set aside money to fund private contracts for wildlife inventory, research, urban habitats, and education. Luckily, they also recognized that bats had long been ignored, and set aside annual funds for their management as well. The Arizona Game and Fish Department's Bat Management Program was officially born.

The program is ambitious. Designed to manage Arizona's great diversity of bats, it also promotes bat conservation and education. In addition, the program conducts statewide bat surveys and is developing a cooperative network among bat biologists, cave specialists, and other experts from across the nation. The Department hired me as the coordinator, and I hired two wildlife biologists, Shawn Castner and Tim Snow, to help me. At the time, I had no idea that this program was the only one of its kind, making Arizona the most progressive state in the nation with regard to its bats.

Our first job was to learn about the life history of bats, how to identify different species, and how to conduct surveys to assess their presence and numbers. We started by talking to bat specialists, attending bat study workshops, and learning how to enter mines and caves safely. We absorbed every bit of information we could get our hands on. By the winter of 1992, with a lot of help from many people, we were-more or less-ready to go.

The next task was to set priorities for conducting surveys. Mines and caves appeared to be the most critical place to start because of bat sensitivity to human disturbance and because of the increased number of abandoned mines being closed in Arizona. With an estimated 80,000-100,000 mines in the state, many slated for closure, we had adequate cause to be concerned about the safety of resident bats.

We began our first surveys of abandoned mines on public land along the Bill Williams River in west-central Arizona in November 1992. Little was known about bats in the area, and it was within the winter range for California leaf-nosed bats (Macrotus californicus), a species on the candidate list for endangered or threatened status. Many of the mines along the river are geothermally heated, making them ideal habitat for these non-hibernating bats.

Because of the time of year, we expected to find active winter colonies of leaf-nosed bats and temporarily vacant nursery roosts for a number of other species. We used the accumulation of guano as evidence that an empty mine might accommodate a nursery colony during the summer; the quantity of guano present indicated how great the use might be. From November until March the following year Tim and Shawn surveyed 514 mines along the river. Forty-two percent showed some evidence of bat use, and 14 percent of these showed significant use. Two of the roosts contained California leaf-nosed bats with over 500 individuals each-important discoveries.

Between April and September 1993, we surveyed an additional 711 mines on public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). In contrast with the geothermally heated mines along the Bill Williams River, only 19 percent of the BLM mines showed evidence of bat use, with 3 percent showing significant use. We speculated that the number of bat roosts along the river was higher than in some other areas of the state because the warmer mines provide better habitat year-round for the overwintering California leaf-nosed bats, as well as for summer nursery colonies of many other bat species.

During that first summer, we also conducted a survey on the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground. We discovered five significant bat roosts, one of which contained 200 California leaf-nosed bats. But the most important discovery was the identification of several key flight corridors for bats using the nearby Colorado River for food and water. Even before we completed the survey, our work achieved results. Data gained from mist-netting bats over Yuma Wash showed that, even though the wash was dry, it was the most important flight corridor on the entire range and that bats used it for foraging. In 10 hours we had captured 36 bats of four species over this dry wash. The Army had proposed using it as a test site, which would result in some disturbance to vegetation and the ground. But because of what we learned, plans are now under way to locate the test site in a less sensitive area.

That summer we also found a mine that contained a nursery roost of about 350 Townsend's big-eared bats (Plecotus townsendii)-the largest such roost known for this species in Arizona. These bats are being considered for federal endangered or threatened status. Several months later, we learned that the site would be lost to open-pit mining operations. When we informed officials at Consolidated Mines of the risk to an important bat roost, they were extremely cooperative and supportive. They waited to break into the roost until late in fall, when the colony was at its lowest population size, and we were able to exclude the few remaining bats. Other nearby sites, where we had discovered small groups of big-eared bats, were available as alternative roosts. True, the original roost was lost, but the animals would surely had died had we not discovered them through the survey and recommended a way to save them.

Last year, the second summer, we focused on mines within the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge along the Colorado River in southwestern Arizona. We surveyed 111 mines during this project. The most important find was an abandoned mine containing a mixed maternity colony of about 10,000 California leaf-nosed bats and Yuma myotis (Myotis yumanensis). Barriers had been placed over all five openings of the mine some time in the past, and all had been breached by visitors. Although human disturbance at bat roosting sites ranks as one of the greatest causes of decline, in this case it may have been fortunate for the bats because it meant they could still enter the mine. Plans are now being made to replace the old barriers with bat gates, which will prevent people from entering but will allow bats unrestricted access.

This winter, we conducted a similar survey in the Prescott National Forest in north-central Arizona. Because the survey was conducted during the colder months, the number of bats and species we caught in our nets was low, as we expected. But the project was valuable in another way because it directly affected the management of a group of abandoned mines located on forest lands. The U.S. Forest Service had requested that the mine operators close the inactive sites. Our survey of these mines indicated that one was a hibernating site for Townsend's big-eared bats and that none were important nursery roosts. Our recommendation was to gate the hibernaculum and close the remaining mines. Other similar projects have shown that the few bats occasionally using nearby mines will likely move to the protected site.

Another survey conducted in response to proposed mine closures resulted in discovering a transitory roost of about 20,000 lesser long-nosed bats (Leptonycteris curasoae), an endangered species. These stopover roosts allow the bats to replenish their energy, and prepare for the next leg of their journey south to Mexico, where they reside during the winter months. Even though transitory roosts are used for a mere six to eight weeks every year, they can be extremely important. The newly identified site is on National Park Service lands and is one of only two known transitory roosts for the species in Arizona. The National Park Service has recently approved funding to replace the existing barriers with approved bat gates. The roost will be monitored and a survey of the surrounding habitat will be conducted to locate and eventually protect agave plants, one of the bats' main food sources.

Other protective measures also resulted from last year's work. At a cave owned by the Arizona State Land Department, two independent bat specialists contracted by the Arizona Game and Fish Department began a long-term survey of the cave's bat populations. For the past 40 to 50 years, the cave has been a very popular site for recreational spelunkers. It is also home to a summer nursery colony of Townsend's big-eared bats and a winter colony of California leaf-nosed bats. Evidence showed a direct correlation between greater visitation to the cave in recent years and a decline of the big-eared bat colony-a species extremely sensitive to disturbance. The bats have declined by 50 percent in the cave and, perhaps even more alarming, the females failed to reproduce in 1994.

The State Land Department was also concerned about the liability brought on by increased recreational use. We recommended installing bat gates on all three entrances to the cave to reduce liability and to protect the bats. The Department agreed, and last November, heavy-duty bat gates were installed on all three entrances to the cave. We are now developing a management plan for the cave with the help of three Arizona grottos (local chapters of the National Speleological Society). Many options are being considered, including limited visitation. The Arizona Game and Fish Commission has also approved the use of Heritage funds to purchase the property from the State Land Department.

A major benefit of the Heritage monies is a greatly expanded capacity to collect data. In addition to surveying caves and mines, we have also been inspecting artificial structures for possible bat use, finding colonies beneath bridges, in the crevices of dams, and in buildings. Bats roosted in half of the 32 bridges thus far inspected, nine of which harbor significant roosts. Surveying just two dams resulted in locating a roost of about 2,700 Yuma myotis, and one of the fifteen buildings we examined contained about 2,000 of these bats. Another way we have increased the amount of information available is by providing grants to knowledgeable independent biologists.

By analyzing the data collected from all of these projects, we have discovered some important things about bats in our state. Over the last two years we have completed surveys at 1,895 mines and caves. Overall, 32 percent show some evidence of bat use, and 8 percent show use we consider significant. In geothermal areas, the percentage of bat use is much greater, making these sites even more critical to bats. Heritage has now funded bat surveys in 11 areas of the state, with an additional four pending approval.

One of these Heritage-funded projects was the extremely successful forest bat survey, which has been conducted for the last two years. This cooperative project by the Department, the U.S. Forest Service, and BCI uses radiotelemetry technology to follow bats to their roosts. Using this technique has resulted in locating many tree roosts for bat species we previously knew nothing about. Some of what we learned the first year was groundbreaking. BCI member volunteers returned to this project last year and are enthusiastic about helping for as long as they are needed. In return, the Forest Service is receiving valuable data about bats; the information is having a direct effect on forest management practices such as logging, snag removal, and controlled burns.

Conducting surveys and collecting data helps promote sound bat management. But education increases the public's awareness and understanding of these animals, and their awareness in turn supports further conservation efforts. Realizing this, we have also been extremely involved in bat education, both for the public and for biologists.

During the summer of 1993, we focused on bats in an issue of the Department's monthly magazine, Wildlife Views. In conjunction with the Department's Education Branch, we also published a poster featuring the state's bats. Using BCI photos, the poster includes a brief natural history summary on the back of each photo, so that teachers can also use them as flash cards. The response to both these publications has been enthusiastic. We have received many positive comments from students, teachers, biologists, and the general public.

We have also cosponsored several bat study training workshops, directed toward Department and other agency biologists, teachers, and the general public. Some of these workshops have been presented in cooperation with the BLM and the Department's Education and Habitat branches, training hundreds of biologists from Arizona. Other workshops have been cohosted with BCI, whose field-study workshop program trains people from across the nation in bat natural history, survey protocol, mine assessment, potential threats, and bat management and conservation strategies.

The citizens' initiative that made the Heritage program a reality has been the single most important catalyst in improving wildlife management in Arizona. On a statewide level, the funding has allowed us to take the lead in the kind of management that anticipates future needs for our wildlife. For bats it means that each year a wealth of new information is being gathered and analyzed, for the first time enabling us to make informed decisions about their conservation. And it means that many important new bat roosts have not only been identified but have also been protected.

But adequate funding alone is not the only advantage Arizona's bats have. The Game and Fish Department's Bat Management Program is truly a cooperative effort: our accomplishments wouldn't have been possible without help and support from biologists, the citizens of Arizona, private businesses, and conservation organizations like BCI. We are looking forward to continued success stories in the years to come.

**For more information about bats, BATS magazine, or membership in BCI, please write or call Bat Conservation International, P. O. Box 162603, Austin, Texas 78716, USA, 512-327-9721. For a donation in any amount, you will receive bat house plans and information about bats. Basic membership, which includes a one-year subscription to BATS magazine, is $30, U.S. funds only, please.

A sidebar is headed "How to Help Bat Management in Your Own State." (A number of states do have checkoff programs tied into income-tax reporting, allowing taxpayers to earmark a portion of the refund due for various purposes including non-game wildlife programs. The Arizona program obviously goes far beyond that.

Arizona's creative use of lottery funds has demonstrated the kind of progress that can be made when funds are available. Another creative solution has been proposed on a national level by the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (444 N. Capitol St. NW, Suite 544, Washington DC 20001).

The Wildlife Diversity Funding Initiative would raise funds for state non-game programs by establishing a user fee in the form of a modest surcharge on outdoor recreational equipment such as binoculars, bird guides, and camping gear. Wildlife enthusiasts in the United States contribute an enormous amount to our economy; equipment expenditures alone total $9.4 billion each year. A surcharge on such goods would help provide funds to all states for research, conservation, and educational efforts for non-game species. A major advantage of adequate funding is the ability to detect and prevent wildlife declines before they reach the critical and most costly stage.

You can help this Initiative by (1) letting outdoor recreational equipment companies know that you favor a modest surcharge on equipment to fund such a program; (2) letting the owner of the store where you buy your equipment know, or attaching a supportive note to your catalog orders; (3) writing a letter to the editor of any conservation or outdoor recreation magazine voicing your support for a dedicated user fee for conservation; and (4) contacting your state fish and wildlife agency and becoming involved in your own state's coalition to build support for this solution to an urgent national conservation problem.


This article by Daniel Snyder in the Mother Lode Grotto's summer 1995 Valley Caver addresses that topic. Graphs and some specific details have been omitted. For the full text write to MLG, P. O. Box 260452, Sacramento CA 95816-0452.

Here is the analysis of the Rippled Cave register. An examination of the register data from Rippled Cave for the past several years should hold special interest for all of us in light of the difficulties associated with heavy use of that cave in recent years and Rippled's continuing importance as our principal training ground.

Having the good fortune to possess complete cave register data for the period in question, we should be able to demonstrate whether or not the access restrictions imposed since November 6, 1993, have actually had the effect of lessening violation. The neighbors of the cave have stated that they have noticed a significant reduction in visitors. Still, it's nice to be able to give quantitative evidence of our success--and that is the first aim of this report. But first, a bit of background information.

A register has been maintained in Rippled Cave continuously since the end of November, 1991. Although the cave is known to have periodically contained a register prior to this date, only the booklet for 1973 now remains in the Mother Lode Grotto's possession from this earlier period. The current register is comprised of five booklets in the grotto archives and a sixth currently in the cave. With the exception of the sixth booklet, all of these are the standard NSS form developed by John Wilson.

Unfortunately, this form is seldom fully completed by visitors to our small caves and, as a consequence, this report represents about the limit of what can be done with the data gleaned from them. The new booklet, designed by the author and Martin Haye, is an experimental modification of the NSS form and is intended to elicit a clearer and more complete response from visitors. Its success or failure will be evaluated at the end of this year.

Our ability to use the Rippled Cave register information to judge how well the road gate is doing its job rests on the assumption that the gate, fencing, and "No trespassing" signs have not significantly affected visitors' inclination to sign the register. After all, some may now fear that the register will be used as a tool to prosecute trespassers, or to censure grotto members who have long been accustomed to taking private trips to Rippled Cave. However, since nothing prevents an individual from signing anonymously or with a pseudonym (as the ubiquitous "Cave Junkie" from the Stockton area has for years), I don't believe this consideration will have much effect on the data. There will always be individuals who will not sign a register for various reasons. With NSS register forms and with the new form, the presence of these individuals will often be noted by other members of their party who do sign in and include the size of the party.

Furthermore, several groups listed in the Rippled register did not record the number of individuals present, and still other groups of which I have personal knowledge (since, to my shame, I was in two of them) are not represented at all. Where I know of an unrecorded trip and the persons on it, I've supplemented the register, but some will inevitably have slipped through the cracks. For this reason, the visitation figures must be regarded as minimum numbers.

In March of 1993, while leading the MLG survey of Rippled Cave in Amador County, Rich Sundquist was approached by an irate neighbor of the property who expressed the intent to contact the owner about permanently sealing the cave if the extremely high level of visitation was not brought under control. The private road past Rippled, maintained by the neighbors at their own expense, had on several occasions been blocked by cars-even by buses-parking below the cave. Trips sometimes occurred not only during the days but also late into the evening.

In short, Rippled Cave had become quite the local nuisance and the neighbors, tired of the regular disturbance and fearing that some of the numerous complete strangers flocking to the cave might cause worse trouble than the loss of peace and quiet already suffered, demanded action.

As a result of lengthy negotiations conducted on behalf of the MLG, the MLG agreed to gate and fence the southern half of the property, post "No Trespassing" signs, and set an annual quota of organizational trips to be distributed among the grottos using the cave and the local search and rescue organization. In addition, we agreed that a representative of the neighbors world be contacted several days prior to any organizational trip. The fencing and gate were accordingly installed on November 6, 1993, by a large force of MLG volunteers. The access policy, formulated with input from the various grottos on their use needs, was distributed with gate keys in December.

After these actions had been taken, the neighbors, who would now know which visitors were authorized and which were not, could then contact local law enforcement if problems arose. These arrangements have reportedly proven satisfactory.

The immediate question to be asked of the register data, then, is "How many visitors did Rippled Creek receive per year before access restrictions and how many after?" I've attempted to show this graphically in a bar graph for 1992, 1993, 1994, and the first half of this year. Visitation in 1994, the year following implementation of access restrictions, was only 60% of the 1993 level and 53% of the 1992 level. If visitation during the second half of 1995 equals that during the first half, visitation will have further declined to 86% of the 1994, 52% of the 1993 level, and 45% of the 1992 level. Based on this information, the access restrictions appear to be a smashing success.

But why did visitation ever reach the levels it did in the 1990s? It boggles the mind to consider that between 1973 and 1992, the annual number of visitors to Rippled Cave increased by over 320% and the annual number of groups by over 260%. Many factors could be offered as explanation, such as the cave's ease of access, large horizontal extent, proximity to major urban centers, or the encroachment of development in the area. However, statistics show that local use of the cave has always been slight except for training trips of Amador County Search and Rescue. Non-organizational trips by non-local visitors have remained fairly constant between 1973 and the present except in 1992, when there was a lack of official MLG trips and a roughly corresponding increase in private trips by individual members.

Certainly the cave's size and accessibility have made it a popular cave for Central California grottos, but Rippled was already well known to these organizations in 1973. In fact, not including survey trips to the cave, MLG use has increased only slightly. The increase in the use of the cave by other grottos and by groups learning rescue skills account for some increase in visitation.

However, by far the largest boom has been among organizations other than NSS grottos-particularly the Leoni Meadows family camp near Grizzly Flat, El Dorado County, and affiliated organizations. Prior to installation of the road gate, these organizations led large to very large field trips (as many as 31 people or more) to Rippled Cave. These trips accounted for over 37% of recorded visitors and 19% of the groups in 1992, and over 26% of recorded visitors and 15% of groups in 1993.

These trips were coordinated by a former MLG member who has devoted much time and energy to introducing kids, teenagers, and their parents to the wonders of caving. This is an objective for which, despite reservations, I have an appreciation, having myself been introduced to caving through a similar program in New York. Most of the Leoni Meadows visitors who note their destinations reside too far from the cave to return on their own, and among the hundreds of families who have been introduced to caving by this camp, I am aware of only two who retained an avid interest in caving. Both families are or have been members of the MLG and have contributed much to the grotto.

Nevertheless, completely aside from the impact over 200 visitors a year must have had on Rippled Cave's wildlife and other features (although the cave seems for the most part indestructible), this level of visitation seriously jeopardized relations with the neighbors and owner. The actual visitation due to the Leoni Meadows Camp may even be higher than reported here, as several trips led by the above-mentioned former MLG member were assumed by me to be private (since I lacked other information) and are thus recorded in the charts as "non-local" trips. Since installation of the road gate, use of the cave by the Leoni Meadows Camp has ceased, although an associated group comprised of seven individuals did visit Rippled in January 1994. The only other non-NSS organizations (two groups) to visit the cave since have been the guests of one of the grottos and of Amador Search and Rescue. In fact, 59% of the decrease in visitation at Rippled Cave from 1993 to 1994 may be attributed to near cessation of large trips by the Leoni Meadows. This reduction in use by large groups from non-NSS organizations probably stems from the elimination of the parking area for the vehicles (especially buses) needed to bring 15-30 people to the cave.

Another analysis was made by months in an attempt to flush out any seasonal pattern that might exist. We can see that in 1973 visitation was sporadic and followed no detectable pattern. While no pattern can definitely be stated to exist in the later years for which we have data, it is interesting to note that the heaviest visitation in 1992 and 1993 occurred in late winter and during the summer, while after implementation of access restrictions, summer visitation declined dramatically while winter has remained busy. This is largely a result of the near-cessation of visitation by the Leoni Meadows Camp and other non-NSS groups. February 1993 wins the prize as the busiest month on record: 70 people visited Rippled Cave in seven groups (every weekend of the month in addition to one weekday). This is the infamous month in which some of the Boy Scouts who had attended a large MLG Rippled beginner trip early in February returned in force with their friends over the next two weekends, adding their numbers to a cave already trampled by the aforementioned beginner group, a Diablo Grotto vertical practice, an SFBC trip, a Mother Lode survey party, and a small independent group-a case of extremely bad timing, I suppose. No wonder the neighbors reached the end of their rope at about the same time!

Aside from straining relations with the neighbors, the unrestricted access which formerly prevailed at Rippled Cave might well have resulted in another consequence: a serious accident. It happens that one of the few fields filled out often enough in the Rippled register to use in this report records the experience level of the visitors. Obviously, the number of times one has been on a wild cave trip does not directly indicate the skill level of the individual visitor, but in a population of individuals, cavers with great skill and confidence will tend to be found among those most familiar with the environment-that is, among those who have been in many caves. I found it alarming, therefore, to discover that prior to November 6, 1993 (when the gate and fencing were installed), 46% of the 235 people whose experience is known had been on fewer than five wild cave trips. These are unquestionably novices. The real proportion of novices is likely much higher, as the majority of the 294 visitors for whom experience was not known were children and young adults in the large family camp field trips.

After installation of the road gate, etc., only 27% of the 174 visitors for whom experience is known are recorded as having been on one-four wild cave trips. Since the experience of 80% of visitors during this period is known, the proportion of novices is probably accurate. The proportion of visitors who have bee on 50 or more wild cave trips has increased from 24% to 41%.

Summary and Conclusions

Rippled Cave register data from 1992 through the present show a significant in visitation following the implementation of access restrictions, mostly as a result of the near elimination of use by a foothill family camp.

This reduction is especially significant when one considers that Rippled Cave is by far the most heavily visited cave in Amador County, being a perennial favorite for its ease of access and large horizontal extent. Based on a cursory inspection of register data from Connie's, Sutter Creek, Pearl, Fern Frond, Moss, and Ive's Hill Caves, visitation does not appear to have been shifted from Rippled to other caves in Amador County. However, since the Leoni Meadows Camp has also long utilized Crystal-Cosumnes Cave in El Dorado County for field trips, we may suppose that visitation to that cave has increased. Unfortunately, no Crystal-Cosumnes register exists for the period in question, and the register installed last year soon disappeared.

Our efforts to reduce visitation at Rippled have no doubt succeeded in large part due to the proximity of the neighbors. Similar efforts by unknown parties recently to gate the access road to the Crystal-Cosumnes Cave property (locally popular not only for the cave but also for gold panning, fishing, camping, etc.) have resulted in the gate's being cut off by a torch within a year of its installation, even though the only real inconvenience it had caused was a walk of a hundred yards to reach the river. That attempt probably failed due to the absence of neighbors to help enforce it. We may guess that the Rippled road gate, fencing, and signs would not have succeeded if the cave were in a remote, uninhabited location. Yet, the mere presence of the neighbors without the gate etc. apparently did not deter visitation. I suppose the equation here is



In addition to satisfying the concerns of the neighbors, the successful reduction of visitation to Rippled Cave may result in another benefit to all cavers and other interested in visiting caves: namely, the prevention of an accident due to a high proportion of novice cavers. Such an accident would almost surely have resulted in grave injury to the victim, a difficult and well publicized rescue, and ultimate closure of Rippled Cave.


Evelyn Bradshaw

This is an attempt to recall briefly the specifics of the register program carried out in the Virginia Region several years ago before computerization was widespread and before the advent of the NSS Contemporary Cave Use Study project (CCUS). Registers very similar to those now used in the CCUS project had been placed in perhaps as many as a dozen VAR caves, including some of the most popular ones. A principal difference between the old and new register forms was that the old ones clearly wished for visitors to provide their full name and address. Without a doubt, the most heavily visited cave in the set was Trout Cave in West Virginia, which has since become an NSS-owned cave. Full registers at Trout Cave accumulated with discouraging rapidity as far as data processors were concerned.

Some statistical studies based on the register data were carried out and reported on by John Wilson of Richmond, Virginia. But before the books were turned over to the extraction of data for these studies, I went through copying information to be used in an NSS recruiting project. Only those names and addresses of non-NSS visitors over the age of sixteen were included. An alphabetized card file (remember, few of us had PCs then) was maintained of all the names, showing the cave(s) visited with dates and such relevant information as number of caves visited, light source used, year of first cave visit etc. With the card file, duplications could be avoided.

Periodically, when 200+ new names accumulated, bulk rate letters were sent out with information about the NSS, and an invitation to ask for more information. NSS members have often complained about how long it was after they began caving before they learned about NSS; we hoped to acquaint serious cavers with NSS sooner. General information about caves, and their fragility, as well as safety/conservation pointers were also included in the hope of having a beneficial effect even if the individual never responded. Also, names of cave visitors were referred to appropriate local grottos. At least one very active NSS leader was recruited through this referral program. Figures are no longer available, but it is recalled that the office reported a good response to the bulk recruiting mailings.

To the extent that cave visitors provide names and addresses in the current registers, a membership recruiting program of the type described above is still possible. The evidence is that the inquiry cards addressed to NSS and bound into the back of the current registers are often never seen or used. Often the visitor pays attention only to the actual page on which he or she enters data about the visit. Therefore an active membership program involving use of data provided in cave registers can still be beneficial. It may not help a local grotto much if the registers serviced by the grotto in nearby caves show more non-local visitors than nearby residents. Therefore, coordination at a regional or even national level may be worth considering.


Ralph Squire wrote May 31, 1995, to Jim Lakner of San Francisco, as follows:

Dear Fellow Caver,

In July 1993 I was appointed to the New Melones Ad Hoc Work Group to help advise the Bureau of Reclamation on the development of a new Resource Management Plan (RMP) for New Melones. They considered me to be the representative of the cavers since I had chaired the New Melones Task Force, NSS. There have been 21 of us on the committee. We have met often and have a Draft RMP out. The final should be adopted within a few months.

I feel that I have been very successful with input on cave management. I am enclosing copies of the Draft Cave Resources Element. The original Cave Management Plan mentioned is the one developed by the BLM Cave Advisory Committee of myself, Ernie Coffman, Bob Martin and the famous Dave [Cowan] of Mother Lode who moved to West Virginia. Ernie, I understand, has moved to Oregon. Bob Martin, the last I knew, was in Washington State. With Cowan, Coffman, and Martin scattered, that leaves me here. Help!

The bottom line on the entire RMP is that the Federal Government is out of money to do much of anything to carry out its suggestions. In fact, rumor has it that the Bureau of Reclamation may even be gone before long. So they are very anxious to farm out anything they can. Therefore, the RMP suggests "volunteerism" as the answer. Scrap the bureaucracy and turn the power back to the people.

As a result, a new organization, formally sanctioned by the Bureau, has been created called New Melones Partners. It currently has a 6-member Steering Committee (of which I am a member), which will approve or disapprove any formal proposals by individuals, companies, and/or non-profit organizations, to manage any resources mentioned in the RMP. I promised the others that I would come up with a management proposal for caves.

I also enclose a copy of my suggested proposal. It is a paraphrase of the Cave Resources Element, except that it basically says that we cavers will take care of the management ourselves. This is a little like leaving the fox in charge of the hen house, but from a responsible position. Are we up to the task? What is your personal response to the idea?

Most cavers I've talked to so far seem to like the idea, and feel that gating should be minimal. Dixie Pearson and I see eye to eye on bat protection. John Gardner says that the actual gating of any caves we can unanimously agree upon can be done-no sweat.

I have enclosed a copy of the Proposal that I will submit to our Steering Committee for approval on the 12th. Please look it over and let me know immediately if you have serious problems with it, or suggested changes. Since your name has been suggested as a possible appointee, would you be willing to serve, if asked? We would probably meet at my place on occasional Saturdays to begin and then function by phone and/or mail as much as possible. . . .

Draft Proposal

To: New Melones Partners Steering Committee

From: Ralph Squire (NSS)

I propose to establish a Cave Management Committee to evaluate issues regarding access and cave management, and to assume responsibility for the management of the caves at New Melones. This committee will have representatives from the scientific disciplines relevant to the caves and will also represent the grottos of the NSS in Northern California that regularly explore and study the caves.

It is anticipated that the committee will consist of about 12 people, plus a representative of the Bureau of Reclamation.

Based on the criteria set forth in the Federal Cave Resources Protection Act, the committee will do the following:

A. Prepare a Revised Cave Management Plan to:

a) Address future expected operational reservoir levels,
b) Reflect current cave conditions;
c) Include new information on bat resources, and
d) Address management of caves located in the future.

B. Begin implementation of the Revised Cave Management Plan by:

1. Constructing and installing properly designed gates on those caves that are recommended for controlled entry.

2. Developing a controlled entry program based on a permit system. Permits will specify guidelines for safety of visitors and protection of resources.

3. Providing periodic patrolling and monitoring of gated caves.

4. Monitoring cave registers in all accessible caves.

5. Approving or disapproving any applications for scientific Study Projects, including exploratory excavation for new cave entrances.

6. Making an annual evaluation of the success of the gating and permit system.

7. Reviewing any surface developments that could affect cave resources.

8. Maintaining and updating a cave database.

9. Cooperation with any cave search and rescue operations.

10. Coordinating development of public information materials for display at a Visitors Center that will educate the general public about the importance of cave resources and direct them to visit commercial "show caves" in the area and/or attend meetings of grottos of the NSS.

11. Reporting progress occasionally to the New Melones Partners Steering Committee.

Proposal . . . . . New Melones Lake Resource Management Plan


Protect significant caves in a manner consistent with the 1988 Federal Cave Resources Protection Act by preparing and implementing a revised Cave Management Plan that addresses access control, gating, data recovery, monitoring and stabilization of caves.

The caves located in the limestone and marble Calaveras Formation along the Stanislaus River Canyon in Skunk Gulch, Grapevine Gulch, Coyote Creek and South Fork are exceptionally important components of the natural and cultural history of the area that must be protected from degradation and vandalism. Approximately 100 caves occur on both sides of the Stanislaus River near and above the confluence with the South Fork and at least 88 caves are known, named, and visited. The caves contain a complex of significant archeological, paleontological, biological, speleological and historical resources in such richness that they have been recommended as eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. In some caves, vertebrate fossils are found in stratigraphic context along with evidence of human habitation and burial during prehistoric and historic periods. Some caves house nursery colonies of special status bat species and unique assemblages of invertebrates. Cave protection is therefore a high priority for implementation under the RMP.

The Federal Cave Resources Protection Act of 1988 (P.L. 100-69, 43 CFR Part 37) requires identification, protection, and maintenance, to the extent practicable, of significant caves on lands administered by the Department of the Interior. The final rule issued October 1993 establishes the criteria to be considered in identifying significant caves. The National Speleological Society is now in the process of nominating significant caves in the New Melones area in coordination with Reclamation staff. Previous cave management plans prepared for New Melones will be revised and implemented in accordance with provisions of the Act.


* Establish a new Cave Committee to evaluate issues regarding cave access and cave management.

Re-establish the Cave Committee with representatives from the National Speleological Society; members of the scientific community representing the disciplines of cave ecology, bat biology, and archeology; members of local spelunking organizations; and Reclamation resource management staff.

Cave Committee shall nominate a list of significant caves and/or a special management area based on the criteria set forth in the Federal Cave Resources Protection Act (Part B sec. 37.11 (c)).

Protection and management of significant caves will be specified in the revised Cave Management Plan (see below).

*Prepare a revised Cave Management Plan to address future expected operational reservoir levels to reflect current cave conditions, to include new information on bat resources, and to comply with provisions of the 1988 Federal Cave Resources Protection Act.

Review previously prepared cave management plans and selectively revise management approaches for incorporation into the new revised plan in order to comply with new policies and requirements

Re-evaluate for closure, caves previously assumed to be inundated, but which are located in the fluctuation zone above reservoir elevation of 1,000 foot, in order to ensure that sensitive resources are protected and safety hazards prevented during periods of exposure.

Review and revise recommendations for controlled cave access based on the current conditions of caves.

In cooperation with speleological groups, compile information and/or conduct studies to identify caves that serve as critical bat roosts either as summer nursery colonies or winter hibernation roosts particularly for Townsend's big-eared bat and the pallid bat.

Specify methods for gating critical caves in a manner to prevent human access but to allow free access of cave organisms and air flow. Cave opening(s) must not be enlarged or significantly modified during installation of gate(s) since these changes could significantly modify cave microclimate. Gate should be constructed according to design recommendations by the USFWS which specify the use of angle iron (or other vandal-resistant materials) arranged in a grid that leaves openings six inches by twenty-four inches wide.

*Consistent with the Federal Cave Resources Protection Act, begin implementation of the revised Cave Management Plan as soon as possible, with priority given to protection of the most sensitive cave resources first.

Prohibit unauthorized entry into caves designated for protection. Proceed to gate priority sensitive caves in a manner that will not adversely affect cave organisms or cave microclimate. Post signs at cave gates to inform the public of the need to protect sensitive resources.

Provide periodic patrolling of gated caves to monitor for trespass or vandalism. Regular inspection and repair of cave gates will be necessary to protect cave resources.

Strongly discourage the dissemination of information concerning the location and characteristics of sensitive caves as required under the Federal Cave Resources Protection Act.

*Develop a controlled entry program for sensitive and/or hazardous caves based on a permit system.. Caves eligible for entry by permit would include those recommended for gating or limited entry in the revised Cave Management Plan. The Cave Committee will establish criteria for issuance of cave entry permits that will consider the level of sensitivity and/or hazard of the cave; the experience and qualifications of the applicant; and the purpose and need for cave entry. Permitees will be required to release Reclamation from liability and from the need to take extraordinary measures during search and rescue services. Cave entry permits will specify guidelines for permittee safety and protection of resources including, but not limited to, prohibiting removal of materials, rocks, life forms, formations and artifacts from caves, requiring removal of any materials brought into caves upon exiting, prohibiting fires or camping within caves, and requiring that all cave gates be relocked upon exiting.

Requests for scientific collection of cave resources will be allowed by permit only, consistent with provisions of the Federal Cave Resources Protection Act, and upon approval of the members of the Cave Committee who will evaluate applications for scientific study of gated caves.

Issue permits for archeological studies under the Archeological Resources Protection Act and under requirements of the Native American Graves Protection Act

Allow exploration for new cave entrances and passages by permit only.

Public access will be limited to only those caves selected as suitable for general visitor use under the revised Cave Management Plan. Provide adequate sanitation and garbage services at caves open for public visitation.

Develop public information materials for display at the Visitor Center that may include slide programs, wall maps, safety tips and information on those caves open to general visitor use. Visitors desiring guided cave trips should be referred to commercial cave tours in the area.

Install cave registers in all accessible caves to monitor level of cave use and to discourage graffiti. Design any trail system that would provide access to caves open for general visitor use to be routed away from protected caves.

*Evaluate and monitor the success of cave gating program and entry permit program in achieving protection goals.

Cave Committee shall conduct an annual review of the level of compliance with gating and permit programs and make recommendations for modification or improvement.

*Maintain and update the cave inventory (GIS database) using the format specified in the 1978 Cave Management Plan. Appendix E.

Enter any new cave finds into the inventory database and forward information to the Cave Committee for evaluation and determination of the appropriate level of access and protection.

*Prevent interference with natural processes that are necessary to form new caves and/or maintain existing cave structures and formations in the vicinity of caves located above gross pool in particular, prevent diversion of flow or change in the rate of groundwater recharge resulting from existing or proposed development that may adversely affect cave systems.

Prohibit construction of facilities, such as parking lots, on top of cave system that would disrupt groundwater recharge and flow.

*Coordinate cave search and rescue operations with other federal agencies, the National Speleological Society, state, county agencies and local groups.

(Source, June 1995 newsletter, San Francisco Bay Chapter, NSS)


Scott Schmitz, August 1995 Explorer

On May 20-21, 1995, representatives of the Southern California Grotto met with State Park personnel at Mitchell Caverns in a meeting arraigned by a friend of Carol Vesely named Cyndie Walck, who is a Department of Parks and Recreation resource ecologist and a caver. The purpose of the meeting was to air out past misunderstandings between the park personnel and members of the SCG and to forge a mutually beneficial working relationship. This article summarizes the notes Cyndie made of the meeting.

It was agreed the Providence Mountains State Recreation Area has benefited from the volunteer efforts of grotto members in the past. However, there has been discontent within the grotto towards the park because after gating projects at Winding Stair, the DPR began charging members $20 entrance fees and initiated gear requirements many resented as overkill. The present DPR management has come to recognize in this era of shrinking budgets that the grotto has saved the park thousands of dollars by installing the gate for free. Outgoing SP Ranger John Pelonio was of the opinion the entrance fee to Winding Stair would be waived for grotto members provided access was requested in advance. This policy statement will be included in the MOU.

The Memorandum of Understanding is an attempt to formalize the relationship between the grotto and the Providence Mountains SRA.

It will serve as a guide for future rangers at the park who are not aware of the grotto's activities. Part of the problem the grotto has had in the past is the high turnover rate of personnel at the Park. John Pelonio, who was very favorable towards the grotto, was on the job at Mitchell's Caverns for only eighteen months before he was transferred to Mt. Diablo near San Francisco. The remoteness and harsh weather conditions of the Providence Mountains has left the SRA the ugly step-child of the State Park system. The MOU will serve as a bridge between Park administrations.

The meeting produced a list of future projects for the grotto in the Providence Mountains. The DPR is interested in having grotto members locate and survey new caves, inventory all the known caves for biota, formations, and provide GPS locations for the entrances so the park service can better patrol their caving resources. Known cave entrances will be tagged for the benefit of rangers and ridgewalkers alike to provide reference points. Members of the grotto at the meeting agreed to do this as long as the information was not distributed to the general public.

A photo monitoring project was suggested for Cave of the Winding Stair and Mitchell's Caverns to help the DPR determine the effects of visitation to these caves. This project would be expanded to other caves if warranted. And registers would be placed in the more heavily visited caves as part of the DPR effort to monitor cave use.

A restoration project will be held next June in El Pakiva Cave to remove debris from the excavation of the tunnel from the floor of the Queen's Chamber. When the connection between El Pakiva and Tecopa Caves was constructed, the rubble was deposited in an area containing some rare formations, including coral pipes known in just two other caves in the United States. The DPR would like grotto members to help uncover these buried formations, and there are several grotto members who have experience in restoration work.

A restoration projection is possible in Winding Stair as well. Heavy visitation and rescue practices has impacted the cave, and areas in need of cleaning or repair need to be identified. The grotto suggested the railroad ties in the Office Room be removed and alternate, more natural rigging points, possibly using redirects, be developed for the first drop. The stability of the railroad ties as a rigging point and the impact of the chemically treated wood on the cave environment are in question.

A cave gating project was requested by the DPR for Medicine Cave. A small cave, it still has a number of notable speleothems, but the cave is dry and any damage in the cave will be permanent, and bats are known to use the cave to get out of the desert sun. The cave has a surprisingly high visitation rate for its location and size with most visitations being of the unauthorized type. Suggestions for gating the cave's two entrances have already been forwarded to the State Park Headquarters.

The grotto can also help in developing displays of cave and bat conservation. The grotto can also design and/or print brochures and develop interpretive videos on these subjects. A joint project with Bat Conservation International was suggested.

The present park policy is that all caves and mines in the park are closed to the public without a permit. Caving groups are offered free access to all caves without a fee as long as access was requested in writing in advance and a brief trip report including observations on the cave's condition, biota, and other notable phenomena was submitted at the end of the trip. The policy for non-grotto visitation to Cave of the Winding Stair is a 1:1 ration of people with previous experience in the cave and newcomers. The park issues a permit and liability waiver but will not give out the location of the cave. The DPR will no longer inspect or require gear (for liability reasons) but will interview the party as to their caving experience. The DPR would like to steer interested non-cavers towards the grotto and would like the grotto to supply brochures and assign contacts for these people. (We will not be publishing Margie Nelson's phone number in any outdoor magazines.) A cave trustee program similar to the one in Sequoia National Park may be set up in the future if warranted.

The grotto has offered to meet with the new head Rangers when they are hired and take them through the more sensitive caves of the region and brief them on the status of grotto projects past, present, and future. We need to make them aware of the resource they have in the grotto and show them we are more of a help than a hindrance to their management policies. It is hoped a place can be organized to contain all reports and materials the grotto has sent to the Providence Mountains RA and a replica of the depository arranged in the grotto library so materials donated will not in the future disappear with the change of administration.

I hope this will begin the start of a closer relationship with park personnel that will last for years to come, and the grotto should look forward to helping preserve the cave resources of the Providence Mountains in any way possible.

Thanks again to Cynthia Walck, DPR Resource Ecologist, for helping to make the planned MOU possible.


Taken from article by Steve Petruniak, Windy City Grotto Conservation Chair, Windy City Speleonews, Aug. 1995

Over the weekend of April 7-9, 1995, Windy City, Northern Indiana, Chattanooga, and Evansville Metropolitan Grottos participated in one of three yearly weekend restoration and clean-up projects at Mammoth Cave National Park. There are also week-long summer camp projects, which are interesting and sometimes very hard and physically demanding, but very rewarding. This weekend's projects were no exception to this rule, and included restoration and trail maintenance and hauling much old wood and other human-introduced debris out of Mammoth's River Styx. That area had been part of the Echo River boat tour (now closed to the public due to the impact of boat tours on the fragile environment of the blind cave fish and the endangered Kentucky cave shrimp). Old wooden walkways, partially of steel, occasionally got silted over when the water level rose and fell, thus creating a nightmare to keep clean for visitors. It was decided to let this part of the cave go back to its natural state. The long range plan is to completely remove the wood and steel walkway, a project of several years in itself.

Steve Petruniak describes the project assigned to his group as calling for pulling out old wood boards and debris over a two-mile length wearing wetsuits. Other volunteers put these water-logged boards, which sometimes weighed four to five times more than originally because of the water, into haul bags and carried them out on their backs another two miles.

These boards, full of nails and creosote, had to be removed because they leach into the water, affecting and harming the cave environment. One piece of pipe over forty feet long, winding like a snake under the surface in a U-shape, took several people just to get it out of the water. A pipe cutter was then used to cut it into three pieces so it could be hauled out.

At least $4000 to $8000 worth of labor was donated to the Park Service over the weekend clean-up. These projects sometimes are in areas where Park Service personnel just can't go or require specialized work, such as going down pits using vertical techniques, or wetsuit work.

During the weekend Steve noticed along some of the trails numerous dust bunnies and lint balls. Apparently Mammoth Cave has one of the worst lint problems in the country. A lint cleaning program may be initiated soon to provide some relief to the Frozen Niagara section of the cave. This section has the worst lint problem, especially on the famous Frozen Niagara formation itself, which desperately needs attention.

Mammoth Cave, which is the longest cave in the world, has had tours which date back to around 1816. Through the years visitors have left layers of fuzzy lint layers that have obscured these beautiful formations, and could eventually cause permanent and even irreparable damage. Decaying lint can create some acids that can etch onto the formations, thus providing a food source that can introduce non-native species like mites.

The constant job of counteracting the past abuses of the cave, protecting the various endangered cave-dwelling species, and reducing damage from modern-day use, is a continual battle for the Park Service. It has a dual mandate to provide for the visitors' enjoyment of the cave and at the same time to protect the fragile resource.

Some of the Windy City people also did a small clean-up project at Hidden River Cave before the Mammoth Cave clean-up. This involved hauling some felled timber up the very steep sinkhole by either carrying the logs or rolling them uphill. The American Cave and Conservation Association (ACCA) has a museum and a visitors' tour to the cave on the site. A newly constructed bridge now takes visitors into the cave up to the dam.

Thousands of people have gone some 174 steps down to the entrance platform of the cave but could venture no further. Before 1943, tourists to Hidden River could have continued to walk on wooden bridges and walkways for more than a half mile further, to the famous Sunset Dome Room. When the cave was closed in 1943, pollution for industry of the town of Horse Cave, along with time, took their toll on the old walkways and bridges, which were eventually washed away. It took many years to get a new sewage treatment plant, stop dumping sewage into the cave system, and for the cave to clean itself by natural flooding to the point that it is today. Just five years ago the smell alone would have kept anyone from going into Hidden River Cave. It is interesting that this new bridge has been finished using recycled plastic wood and supplies for the decking materials. Planks, made from recycled plastic milk jugs, were used to promote more use of recycled products in construction.


Based on feature in Spring 1995 newsletter of American Farmland Trust

This feature describes modifications made by farmer L.K. in his approach to farming. He'd found conventional farming in his sinkhole-prone, highly erodible landscape in southwestern Illinois both economically risky and environmentally damaging.

So he went to a new approach revolving around moldboard plowing. He now advocates no-till farming and integrated crop management. These both save him money and protect the soil. Now, instead of "plowing the heck out of the farm and watching the dirt wash away," all the soil is at a stable soil environment and without expensive structures. Various practices he adopted made him eligible for a new, conservation-oriented federal farm program, the Water Quality Incentive Program. This rewards farmers for adopting measures to protect groundwater and nearby streams and rivers from agricultural nonpoint source pollution. Programs like this that provide incentives for environmental protection will preserve farmland and farmers better than the price support programs that encourage high yields and intensive farming practices.

Cave owners who are also farmers may be interested in the American Farmland Trust, 1920 N Street N. W. Suite 400, Washington DC 20036.


(Source, July 1995 Oregon Grotto Speleograph)

The old wooden cave gate on the upper end of Lava River will soon be gone. Over the weekend of October 14-15, the U.S. Forest Service is seeking help in tearing down and removing the old gate. This same weekend a brand new steel air-flow bat gate will be constructed on site. With enough hands volunteering, it's hoped the new gate will be operational the following Monday.

The new gate will provide protection to a portion of the cave used by bats for hibernating. According to a USFS spokesperson, "Missing boards on the old gate have been permitting recreationists to disturb the bats during the critical time of the year. A new well-constructed gate will give the little guys some undisturbed rest."

USFS will hire professional help for welding and assembling the new gave but cave volunteers will be needed to remove the old gate and move steel and equipment to the construction site.

This is not the only USFS gate Oregon cavers have helped install in 1995. One went into Red River Cave May 13-14. In the future the Forest Service will be allowing access to that cave by permit only. No more than one group of six persons will be allowed in the cave per day. Vertical gear will be needed to drop the entrance pits.


The West Virginia Chapter of The Nature Conservancy reports (spring 1995 newsletter) that WV's governor has signed into law the Conservation and Preservation Easements Act. This makes it possible for environmentally significant land to be protected from harmful development, without removing title to the land from the owner. At the same time the owner should realize tax savings on the portion of the property subject to the easement.

In other words, both conservation and landowners benefit. A conservation easement is a legal agreement by which a landowner voluntarily restricts or limits the type and amount of development that may take place on his or her property. The holder of the easement could be the government or any non-profit groups which meet certain requirements (including The Nature Conservancy). Pre-existing law did allow such easements but the process was much more complicated and necessitated severing ownership of at least a small portion of the landowner's property. West Virginia has now joined nearly every other state in the country in enabling conservation easements by statute.

The Nature Conservancy has jumped into cyberspace on America Online. Call 1-800-827-6364 for more information.


MINUTES of the NSS Cave Conservation and Management Section Annual Meeting, held July 18, 1995, during the 1995 NSS Convention in Blacksburg, Virginia.

1. Minutes of the previous meeting held June 22, 1994, in Texas were accepted as printed in the May 1, 1995, Cave Conservationist.

2. Finances A financial report as of June 1, 1995, was presented; a copy is attached to these minutes. It was noted that this does not reflect $96.27 for printing the 5/1/95 Cave Conservation, $63.28 for checks printed when our bank was changed (a development beyond our control), and $14.29 for miscellaneous postage.

3. Newsletter Jay Jorden as editor reported that with the help of Rob Stitt as publisher we have brought out two newsletters this year. Things are going well; we have found good relevant material. Jay added that submissions for the newsletter are welcome; they can be sent by email as well as the other possible methods of transmittal.

Copies of the newsletter have been placed on the World Wide Web. This does raise questions about copyright and impact upon our membership. Some of our material has come from NSS newsletters, which give blanket permission for reprinting in other NSS publications provided they receive credit as the source and are sent a copy. Given the general accessibility of material on the World Wide Web to anyone with the required electronic equipment, what does this mean for copyright? It could also discourage some from submitting material to be published in the newsletter.

As to the membership question, we have chosen to put our newsletter on the Web because of a conviction that it is important to get out to a wider audience information on cave conservation and management. This does remove a possible incentive to become a dues paying member of the Section.

We need to monitor developments as they affect the Section during coming months and take action if it seems necessary.

A question was raised about the decision last year to send copies of our newsletters on a complimentary basis to federal agencies, using the mailing list assembled by the Conservation and Management Symposium Steering Committee. This use of this list has been cleared. It is not clear how many of the recipients find its content worthwhile to them. It was decided to continue this circulation to any who respond positively to an enclosed return card asking us to continue the mailing. Others will be dropped. Some state agencies may be added.

4. NSS and Conservation It was noted that the officers of the Section (which deals directly with conservation matters) are elected by only a small segment of the NSS membership. We feel a duty to "carry the NSS flag" for conservation as way opens.

Some doubt was expressed as to the level of commitment on the part of the NSS Board of Governors to conservation in recent years, at least in acting upon the expressions of the grass roots membership in favor of cave acquisition, management, and so on. We have gone on record as favoring a third NSS vice-president focusing on conservation but this has not happened. We are gratified that NSS does continue to have strong Conservation Committee chairs but need a closer liaison with the NSS Executive Committee.

It was also noted that conservation should be taken into account in, for instance, the Photography Section, Cave Diving, and NCRC. Conservation should be a component of all the activities of our NSS Internal Organizations including grottos. NSS tends to look to the special sections for expertise, and we have that expertise in the conservation and management field..

The NSS Digging Section, in a commendable step, has passed a resolution calling for sections to get together to develop a joint statement of intent as regards cave conservation as it involves digging. Then they plan to get their members fired up to do this.

Bill Halliday volunteered to write all of this up in a guest editorial that would be submitted to the News.

5. Conservation Award. Three nominations were received this year for the Section award for achievement in the field of conservation/management. The Richmond Area Speleological Society was chosen as award recipient. We established this Section award when the Board of Governors in a revision of the Society awards program saw fit to establish an award in conservation that recognizes individual rather than group effort. We believe that group effort is worthy of being recognized at the NSS award level. There is a motion before the Board of Governors this year which will accomplish this. We support such a motion.

6. Implementation of Federal Cave Resources Protection Act of 1988. Significant caves for protection under the Act are still being nominated as part of the initial phase of implementing the Act. To keep track of this, a clearing house was created by the government, and is operated by Joel Despain NSS 23136. This has the desirable effect of bringing all nominations to one central point. As federal agencies are downsized in the current drive to limit federal impact upon citizens, this federal clearing house may well disappear. It was noted that the information provided on these potentially significant caves does not describe their precise location. This is intended to maintain secrecy about locations. There have been 3300 nominations, mostly in the West for obvious reasons (fewer eastern caves are on federal property). The clearing house has served an important function, as many federal offices have no one with the management expertise to handle the processing of significant cave information. How important is it to us to see that this clearing function is continued?

7. Elections The usual process of approving reelection of the current officers was quickly carried out, and these continue for 1995-1996:

President Robert R. Stitt (also publisher)

Vice President Jay Jorden (also editor)

Secretary Treasurer Evelyn Bradshaw (also membership and circulation)

Directors at large George Huppert
Mel Park

8. Book on Underground Wilderness This source book was planned by the NSS Conservation Committee, with the work done by its Wilderness Subcommittee (no longer active) and is now nearing completion. It can be a very useful tool in the hands of those who have dealings with government or private landowners. Is the Section interested in supporting its publication? We do not yet have a good estimate of what it will cost. When the project was started two years ago, its publication seemed feasible. Now, because of its probable cost, neither the Section nor the NSS Conservation Committee can undertake it. Some limited distribution might be possible. Should it be free or for sale? This is a task for the NSS Special Publications Committee to assume. Rob Stitt volunteered to follow up on the project and do what he can to facilitate publication of the book.

10. Cave Formations Marketed It was called to our attention that displays in this country originating with

Star House
Salisbury Road
Tsim Sha Tsui,
People's Republic of

have included formations out of caves. This is an activity we prohibit and discourage in our country. It was agreed that we should look for avenues, such as our contacts with Chinese cavers and the World Wide Web, to educate the Chinese government, merchants, and people on the reasons why such displays should not occur. Perhaps (as with whaling?) international law prohibiting the mining and sale of speleothems should be sought.

11. Cave Locations on Maps It was reported that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has some well known caves on some of its maps. This has nothing to do with the Federal Cave Resources Protection Act. We complained about these maps three years ago but they are still being sold. Bill Halliday moved that we go on record as opposing the distribution of a brochure published in 1990 by BLM. This was seconded. Janet Thorne will take the matter up with the NSS liaison with the BLM. It seems that there is little coordination between the top in BLM and the local staff. For instance with an underground trail in Horsethief Cave; cavers aren't having a chance to have input before things happen that may hurt caves.

12. Bat Brochure Bill Halliday moved we continue the distribution of the bat brochure. This was seconded and passed.

13. New NSS Conservation Chair We welcome Dave Jagnow, new Conservation Chair of the NSS, and look forward to working closely with him.

Minutes by

E. Bradshaw


Balance brought forward 1/1/95 1327.52


Income from dues 480.00

Miscellaneous income (sale lit) 56.54

Total income 536.54


Expenses for newsletter 481.00

Other expenses (none)

Total Expenditures 481.00

Balance 12/31/94 1383.06

Financial Statement 1/1/95-5/31/95

Brought forward 1383.06


Dues 65.00

Total income 65.00


Newsletter 248.84

Other (misc postage) 7.02

Total expenditures 255.84

Balance on hand 5/31/95 1192.20

Amount of balance

encumbered by dues paid in advance @ $5.00/year

Expiral Amount Encumbered

9512(2) 5.00

9606(16) 80.00

9612(4) 30.00

9706(17) 170.00

9712(3) 37.50

9806(1) 15.0

Total encumbered 337.50


Evelyn W. Bradshaw, Secretary-Treasurer


If you are not already a member of the Conservation and Management Section of the National Speleological Society, you are invited to join. Dues are $5.00 a year, payable to the NSS Cons/Mgmt Section. Members receive the newsletter regularly and are entitled to vote at the annual meeting.


Yes, I would like to join the Conservation/Management Section. Here are my dues in the amount of $________ (dues of $5/year may be prepaid for up to three years).


NSS No.________






Please send this form with check/money order to the Secretary-Treasurer:
Evelyn Bradshaw,
10826 Leavells Road, Fredericksburg, VA 22407-1261.




Return to Cave Conservationist Home Page

Return to Section Home page