tncaver wrote:Jonah, I think perhaps you are becoming somewhat of a conservation fanatic like so many, who have what I call the "gate" mentality.
Just my opinion of course. There are caves in TN that are heavily vandalized. But as I mentioned previously, they were well known
party caves that locals have visited for decades. The NSS has always taught cavers to "leave nothing but footprints" and "cave lightly".
Again, vandalism is not the only way to damage caves. Nonetheless, the actions of cavers (not local partiers) have in some instances had effects just as unsightly as blatant vandalism. The NSS has indeed pushed slogans. But has it taught cavers to love caves (not caving, caves)? Has it taught the virtues of behavioral restraint? NSS is a recreational organization. I've seen enough now of recreational pursuits of all sorts to know that when recreation is made a priority, something is always exploited, something is always overused. But when affection and fidelity dictate behavior, care and protection become priorities. I do not think I am a conservation fanatic, and I try to distance myself from most of what passes for conservationist philosophy. I don't know exactly what you mean by a "gate" mentality, but I have no interest in restricting cave access (with very few exceptions). I simply wish that cavers could collectively take a fresh look at their motivations and the effects they are having on the places they visit, and make some changes in thought and action that might benefit both caves and themselves.