Remembrance

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Re: Remembrance

Postby NZcaver » Feb 11, 2017 5:23 am

GroundquestMSA wrote:What "set me off" was spending a year or two working on the underground update column, therefore reading about the activities of most US grottos. This coupled with the comparison of caves owned by conservancies and traveled only by cavers with caves in regions ignored or abandoned by cavers. I see little evidence that NSS is doing much to save caves from wasteful, careless use. I have no interest in keeping anyone out of caves, but also none in enfranchising cave tourists. I am still caving often, walking constantly.

I'm not critical as caving as a hobby. It's one of mine. I am simply convinced that cave overuse is a reality and that careless use is a reality and that those two things are tied to caving being pushed by recreational clubs. I wish there were ways to solve these problems without reducing caver numbers, but I can't imagine any.

OK Jonah, I'll bite. "Wasteful, careless use... cave overuse... tied to caving being pushed by recreational clubs." I guess I just don't see this the same way you do.

Caving is certainly not a common choice as far as outdoor sports/hobbies go, and it would be fair to describe the caving community as somewhat "fringe." Without at least some "official" encouragement at local levels, less people get to try caving, and more people who actually do get caving for the first time will be less likely to do so under experienced guidance. While I'm sure many people would survive just fine, it may be less advantageous for cave conservation in general, for landowner relations, for personal safety, and for encouraging new blood in project caving and the cave sciences. I mentioned this in an earlier post, and it's not an unfounded theory. Look at what happened when policies in some states closed caves for WNS. Affiliated cavers mostly stayed out of caves, but casual visitors - including vandals - did not.

What would happen if we transfer this philosophy to other outdoor sports? Less hikers, rock climbers and mountaineers, please! Trails, crags and mountains are overused by wasteful outdoorspeople. Stay out of the backcountry and stick to boardwalk nature trails and roadside viewing areas. And don't let your kids play in the mud! Sure, I get that there needs to be some balance between access/use and environmental responsibility. But if legitimate conservation concerns lead to hardline preservationist attitudes, what will become of adventurous spirits?
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Re: Remembrance

Postby GroundquestMSA » Feb 11, 2017 8:03 am

But if legitimate conservation concerns lead to hardline preservationist attitudes, what will become of adventurous spirits?


I believe that preservationists, though they may serve the purposes of future conservation, are cowards. I'm not interested in removing myself or humans in general from the natural processes of the world, or in damping anyone's fascination. I desperately want children to play in the mud.

Without at least some "official" encouragement at local levels, less people get to try caving, and more people who actually do get caving for the first time will be less likely to do so under experienced guidance. While I'm sure many people would survive just fine, it may be less advantageous for cave conservation in general, for landowner relations, for personal safety, and for encouraging new blood in project caving and the cave sciences.


Yes, fewer people would try caving (though no one would be obstructed from caving). This would make personal motivation and responsibility factors in caver population, which are somewhat lacking now. If everyone were responsible for their own research, their own safety, their own access arrangements, their own landowner relations etc., instead of being led along on a tour, they would perhaps take the time spent in the cave more seriously and see it as a natural place with many attachments, not just a fragile playground.

I can only speak for myself, but I'm not sure about the value of experienced guidance. Or at least "official" guidance. I had some experienced guidance from my father and he from his father, but neither were Cavers and they let me learn things pretty much on my own. They are incredibly reasonable men, and I'm very glad I "learned" caving from them instead of from the formulaic doctrine of clubs.
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Re: Remembrance

Postby NZcaver » Feb 12, 2017 5:52 am

GroundquestMSA wrote:I can only speak for myself, but I'm not sure about the value of experienced guidance. Or at least "official" guidance. I had some experienced guidance from my father and he from his father, but neither were Cavers and they let me learn things pretty much on my own. They are incredibly reasonable men, and I'm very glad I "learned" caving from them instead of from the formulaic doctrine of clubs.

Conversely, I'm very glad the formulaic doctrine of clubs exists - albeit more in the form of "best practices" than strict adherence to some regimented indoctrination. I like that it's able to provide some structure to guide new cavers to make better choices, while still allowing them to learn and discover some of the magic of caving for themselves. Or something like that.

I, for one, appreciate experienced cavers who volunteer their time and energy to mentor others. There have been more than a few cases of adventurous spirits coming perilously close to injuring or killing themselves, in the absence of reasonable guidance. I was once one of those people, and later became one who seeks to help those people when they ask for guidance. I've even, dare I say, contributed in small ways to the aforementioned formulaic doctrine. I don't regret it one bit.
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Re: Remembrance

Postby GroundquestMSA » Feb 12, 2017 3:20 pm

I understand, different ones of us learn in different ways. I'm a believer that caving isn't that complicated, and isn't that dangerous, and can be successfully self-taught. I think we've talked before on this forum about caving standards, and whether or not they should be enforced as strictly as cavers pretend they should. I know that I've been scolded, both here and in person, for not backing up knots, for not wearing kneepads, for not wearing gloves, for not wearing a "cave suit", for not wearing a helmet, for wearing blue jeans, for not taking backsights, for trespassing, and so on... despite the fact that I had considered the specific circumstances and made what I felt in each case was an appropriate choice. The way that cavers are taught rules out personal responsibility and diminishes the need for careful thought. I don't think that this is what beginners need, and while I am glad to help a new caver who asks for information or guidance, I will never insist on any particular safety or conservation or public relations standards. Natural and community idiosyncrasy are at odds with recreational structure.

In short, there is no such thing as "best practice" when it comes to caving, and pretending that there is absolves cavers from their responsibility to be more strict when needed, and denies them the freedom to relax the rules when appropriate.
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Re: Remembrance

Postby eyecave » Feb 12, 2017 6:45 pm

well,.......in 25 years of cave and cliff rescue i recall very very few rescues of experienced cavers........the majority involved rookies, newbies, or others with very little experience or guidance who were the ones in trouble......most landowner complaints are also committed by people who want to go caving but they don't know the "rules"......any rock climber, whitewater paddler, or caver should be in the company of other people who know what they are doing....i can see some sports don't really require supervision, mountain biking, trail running, hiking.....caving is a very simple and safe sport.....but when ignorance combines with the unexpected..disaster can result...... :cave softly: ...
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Re: Remembrance

Postby GroundquestMSA » Feb 12, 2017 11:41 pm

eyecave wrote:any rock climber, whitewater paddler, or caver should be in the company of other people who know what they are doing


That's a common opinion, but how can it be stated without qualification? Especially for caving, which is doubtless the safest by far of these three examples. An ignorant caver in his own company is the "adventurous spirit" that Jansen keeps referring to. Can ignorance and the unexpected equal disaster? Sure. Is disaster likely? No. Is it worth sacrificing intellectual autonomy and pure learning/exploration in exchange for marginal increases in safety? Not in my opinion. Is it worth sacrificing the natural integrity of singular places in exchange for some responsibility-free recreation, to be provided to shiftless recruits who would never go caving if they were required to do any of the work themselves, and who have no concept of natural history, economy, community, or fidelity, and what part caves and they themselves might play in these? No.

I'm aware that I'm being far more harsh than I ought to. I wish I could be gracefully persuasive... instead I'm neither.
It cannot be seen in what I've written, but I feel a deep kindness and affection for fellow humans, cavers and not, and I try to display it in real-life ways. No matter how strongly I oppose the NSS, my struggle is not with the individual members, but with the caving culture that has (following the rest of modern culture) become firmly exploitive, ignorant, and shallow. It's a struggle that I am free to withdraw from, after all I have no personal involvement in caving culture, but which I cannot get out of my mind. So I appreciate your indulgence and civil replies while I stumble along, hopefully toward some future peace.
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Re: Remembrance

Postby tncaver » Feb 13, 2017 7:43 am

Jonah, doesn't 25 years of cave and cliff rescue qualify eyecave as knowing what he is talking about? What does it take?
I've been caving for over 50 years and I agree with eyecave and NZcaver's opinions on this issue for the most part. Where do
you fit in? Are you or have you ever been a grotto member? I have been in several grottoes over the years and all of them
taught good caving conservation as well as good caving technique. I have other issues with grottoes but they are all member personality related rather than quality of guidance.
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Re: Remembrance

Postby GroundquestMSA » Feb 13, 2017 6:01 pm

tncaver wrote:Where do you fit in?


I don't
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