Food for Thought

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Food for Thought

Postby TomTurner » Apr 19, 2015 9:19 pm

On a recent visit to Carlsbad Caverns I noted that a small section of the seemingly-fresh asphalt parking lot was deteriorating, exposing a similarly deteriorating layer of plastic sheeting beneath the asphalt. Having never witnessed such a practice I inquired from an area-resident friend “Sup with this?” He explained that it was to impede oil and other vehicle residues from penetrating the surface and leaching into the ground below. Sounded like a good idea.
Upon closer inspection I observed a large circular drainage basin located at the lowest point of the rather large parking area. Looking over the edge of the six inch concrete barrier surrounding the entire lot revealed that the drainage basin led into a short, maybe eight-foot long culvert pipe that discharges every nasty liquid washed from the lot directly onto the hillside outside of the perimeter of the parking lot.
Being a National Park I can only assume as to the amount of planning, red tape and $$$ involved in the parking lot creation. I guess my question is how in the world can such an egregious “dropping of the ball” take place?
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Re: Food for Thought

Postby leeboop » Apr 21, 2015 12:04 pm

I remember catching a presentation by Dale Pate at the 2014 NSS Convention about the recent changes to this area. A quick google turned this up: http://www.nps.gov/transportation/front_pdfs/Carlsbad_Rehabilitation_Project.pdf.
Lee Boop (NSS #59401)
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Re: Food for Thought

Postby TomTurner » Apr 21, 2015 10:10 pm

Hi Lee, Goddess of all that is subterranean. It’s been a while, hope all is well.

Thanks for the link.

I copied a couple paragraphs from the article and posted them below. It addresses the problems associated with what was the original parking lot, apparently located closer to the cave’s main walk-in entrance, but didn’t address simply moving the apparently well-documented contaminant issue to another location on site a few hundred feet away from the original.
I’m certainly no engineer but it seems that a series of filtration basins could be outfitted to cleanse at least a portion of the runoff.
I’ve witnessed the same here in Florida at Lithia Springs Park in which I even had the presence of mind to capture in a photo seen here… https://www.flickr.com/photos/brcfla/52 ... hotostream
I guess it just boggles my mind that the folks who should know better and should be setting an example for others are apparently clueless.
And I just enjoy a good rant now and then : )

“The Bat Cave Draw and Visitor Center rehabilita-
tion project, managed by the Denver Service Cen-
ter (DSC), was a unique project affecting 1.75 acres
that required years of collaboration and planning
to develop. Carlsbad Caverns (CAVE) has been
an important tourist site since the 1930s; early on,
large parking facilities were developed around the
cavern. A 1997 Infiltration Study determined that
the primary parking lot, built directly above the
main cavern approximately 80 years before, was
adversely impacting the cave system.
“Studies found that antifreeze, gas, and other pollutants
were actually leaching down into the cave,” explains Jessica
Brown, a landscape architect and horticulturist with the Na-
tional Park Service in Denver, Colorado.
“The National Park Service never would have done such a
thing in later years, once a critical scientific approach was
adopted into the management of resources such as the
delicate Cavern environment,” said John Benjamin, Super-
intendent of Carlsbad Caverns National Park. “However, in
those early days the only goal was to get tourists to see these
spectacular underground wonders in the quickest and easi-
est way possible.”
TomTurner
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Re: Food for Thought

Postby leeboop » Apr 23, 2015 5:43 pm

Boy oh boy... "Goddess of all that is subterranean" ??? I've got you totally fooled. :rofl:

I'm no engineer, but it could be that there is some sort of filtration below the surface of the "large circular drainage basin" that you described, similar to a rain garden? The outflow that you saw could be for periods of heavy rain, when the basin that is intended to filter the majority of the water and introduce it into the subsurface is overwhelmed.
Lee Boop (NSS #59401)
NSS Social Media Committee Goddess/Chairman
email me with suggestions, constructive criticism, and offers to join the Social Media team: socialmedia@caves.org
http://www.caves.org/committee/sm/
leeboop
Frequent Poster
 
Posts: 57
Joined: Nov 23, 2012 9:09 pm
Location: Tampa, Florida
Name: Lee Boop
NSS #: 59401
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Central Connecticut Grotto
  


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