Cave's 30,000 years of beauty gone in a snap

Cave conservation issues, techniques, questions. Also visit the NSS Cave Conservation and Management Section.

Moderator: Moderators

Cave's 30,000 years of beauty gone in a snap

Postby Wayne Harrison » Oct 7, 2007 4:58 pm

The Brooksville Ridge Cave isn't what it was a few years ago, its finders say.

By DAN DeWITT, Times Staff Writer
Published October 7, 2007

BROOKSVILLE -- A few months after Robert Brooks found a cave in northern Hernando County, he said only one sensation could equal the thrill of discovery:

"If I went back in 10 years and saw not one flaw, that would be the same feeling all over again."

Less than five years later, Brooks would already be in for a letdown.

Though the entrance to the cave -- reputedly packed with more formations than any in the state -- is now sealed, it has been left open for long periods during the past five years by the company that owns the surrounding land, World Woods Corp., Brooks said.

Vandals have entered the cave and snapped off dozens of stalactites and helictites -- delicate mineral protrusions formed over the past 30,000 years by dripping water.

Before:
Image

After:
Image

via St. Petersburg Times
User avatar
Wayne Harrison
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 2382
Joined: Aug 30, 2005 5:29 pm
Location: Pine, Colorado
NSS #: 18689 FE
Primary Grotto Affiliation: unaffiliated
  

Postby KeyserSoze » Nov 7, 2007 11:45 pm

That really sucks. Even when I was a little kid I wouldn't have done something like that to a cave. Can't they find things in their own houses to wreck, like we did?
User avatar
KeyserSoze
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 225
Joined: Nov 6, 2007 2:18 pm
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
NSS #: 61069
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Louisville Grotto
  

Re: Cave's 30,000 years of beauty gone in a snap

Postby myotis » Jan 14, 2008 12:22 pm

Very sad indeed. If the jerk that ever did this is ever caught, I'd like to go to his/her house with a sledgehammer, walk up to his/her big screen TV while they watch and bury the hammer in it. Then when they complain about it, tell them that in a thousand years, it will probably all grow back anyway.

I doubt they'd even learn from that, though.
Is this really necessary? Really? Ok......
User avatar
myotis
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Sep 19, 2005 1:24 am
  

Re: Cave's 30,000 years of beauty gone in a snap

Postby Ralph E. Powers » Jan 14, 2008 3:54 pm

And some people bitch about cave gates.
Without the possibility of death, adventure is not possible. ~ Reinhold Messner


http://ralph.rigidtech.com/albums.php
User avatar
Ralph E. Powers
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 2101
Joined: Sep 10, 2005 5:48 pm
Location: Chattanooga, TN
NSS #: 37616
  

Re: Cave's 30,000 years of beauty gone in a snap

Postby Mudduck » Jan 17, 2008 8:18 pm

Recently I was approached by a co-worker who knew I did some caving and ask if I would take him. He had never been before so I told him on my next trip somewhere I'd let him tag along. Well, a couple of days later he came up all excited telling me how he could'nt wait to go etc. etc. As we were talking and sitting near a computer I pulled up some images to show him the type formations he'd see and what to expect on our trip. Whats the first thing he said!!?? "Man i can't wait to break off one of those!" After scraping my jaw up off of the floor. I somewhat calmly ask him why would he want to do something like that. His response was"I don't know, I just think it would be a cool thing to have around the house." I carefully scolded and corrected him and needless to say shyed away from taking him anywhere anytime soon. The ironic part is a few days prior I had overheard him complaining about a house sitter throwing the classic "party while the owner is away" and thrashed his house and broke lots of stuff. Even after reminding him of his horrible experience he still could grasp the hole "take nothing but pictures thing". Some people!! :hairpull:
I think I can...I think I can...I think I can
Mudduck
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 451
Joined: Jan 1, 2008 6:56 pm
Location: Columbus, MS
Name: Bill Reed
NSS #: 60046
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Currently a Lone caver
  

Re: Cave's 30,000 years of beauty gone in a snap

Postby NZcaver » Jan 17, 2008 9:10 pm

Mudduck wrote:...I carefully scolded and corrected him and needless to say shyed away from taking him anywhere anytime soon...

I say take him caving, and watch him closely. :shock: A little cave conservation education, a little appreciation for his surroundings, who knows? He may even become a caver.
User avatar
NZcaver
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 6342
Joined: Sep 7, 2005 2:05 am
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Name: Jansen
NSS #: 50665RL
  

Re: Cave's 30,000 years of beauty gone in a snap

Postby TomTurner » Jan 17, 2008 11:45 pm

Now that the cave's entrance has FINALLY been secured I've posted a number of photos from Brooksville Ridge Cave taken during the early exploration and survey of the cave to my Flickr photo pages. I can only hope that the rest of the cave hasn't suffered the damage that the entrance room has. Enjoy !
http://www.flickr.com/photos/brcfla/
TomTurner
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Jan 17, 2008 11:23 pm
  

Re: Cave's 30,000 years of beauty gone in a snap

Postby myotis » Jan 18, 2008 12:12 am

NZcaver wrote:
Mudduck wrote:...I carefully scolded and corrected him and needless to say shyed away from taking him anywhere anytime soon...

I say take him caving, and watch him closely. :shock: A little cave conservation education, a little appreciation for his surroundings, who knows? He may even become a caver.


You sound, if I may say so, idealistic. An admirable trait, were the stakes not so high.

I agree with part of your statement, but with a difference. Until that person in question demonstrates cave conservation ethics, and remorse for his actions, I wouldn't let him near anything, supervised or no. I'd always be worried that he'd come back after the fact and do in my absence what he wouldn't have the balls to do in my presence. Or just simply wait until my back was turned, then do whatever he felt like doing. I wouldn't even do it if the cave in question was gated. Because if he was smart enough to find his way back to the gated cave, then he is also probably smart enough to find his local Home Depot and buy a pair of bolt cutters to get in after the fact. However..... We have a cave near where I live that is very well known, and heavily visited over the years, and by all the wrong kinds of people. Subsequently, over the years, it became rather heavily trashed out. Pretty much, if it could have been reached by a can of spray paint, it was coated in fluorescent colors. If a hand could be put on it, it was broken off. Beer cans and liquor bottles abounded. Bats were deliberately killed en masse. All the worst behaviors in caves that we all are too, unfortunately, well acquainted with. Nothing could be done about it, because the owner, a caver, believe it or not, allowed it. In time, it became what is known as a "sacrificial cave", a cave that the owner would allow to be destroyed in order that other caves would be spared. In theory. Guess what. It didn't work. The poison just simply spread to other nearby caves, on other people's property where the *sshats could find themselves a bare patch of rock to leave their own mark where it could be more easily seen by anyone who came by. After awhile, there were no good spots on the walls left, I guess, in the "sacrificial cave". Because that was what it was all about, really, on the bottom line, I think. Leaving your mark where everyone could see it where no-one had ever done so before. Territorial p*ssings, as it were. For probably the same reason why other jerks climb the freshly painted town water tower to spray paint their message to the world on the side of the holding tank.

The cave was pretty much, a lost cause. However, it did still serve a constructive purpose, as far as I was concerned. A garishly spray painted and ugly bad example. When I met someone who expressed an interest in caving, if I had doubts or they gave me any reason to suspect the content of their character, for whatever reason, I would take them to that cave. Then, I'd take them on a tour of the worst this cave had to offer. God knows the owner didn't care a lick. And I would watch them. And listen to them. Closely. If the person showed genuine dismay, if not outright horror at the waste of a perfectly good cave, then I knew the person might be worth bringing to a good cave, after they had heard the conservation rap. God knows they were owed one at that point. If they did not show the appropriate reaction :yikes:, I knew they were not to be trusted.

Because, my experience has taught me that some people are just plain evil, thoughtless, and beyond reclamation. Sociopaths. They can and will say whatever they believe you want to hear to get them what they want. And seem perfectly sincere. And you don't want to be the one to lead them to a nice cave and later find out that they have done the unthinkable. They might not do it on the trip where you give them the keys to the kingdom to all the wonders of the underground, but what's to stop them later? Without you. And if that happens, you'll never be sure if the dastardly deed was done by your novice, or not.

It sounds like I am being paranoid, doesn't it? Like I should be more trusting of my fellow man. Or does it? Leave it to say that I have actual, factual and concrete reasons for feeling this way. You can do all the right things, and still be the indirect instrument of destruction by someone in your group. Trust me. It happens.
Last edited by myotis on Jan 19, 2008 12:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
Is this really necessary? Really? Ok......
User avatar
myotis
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Sep 19, 2005 1:24 am
  

Re: Cave's 30,000 years of beauty gone in a snap

Postby David Grimes » Jan 18, 2008 1:23 am

Generally if someone wants me to take them caving and I question their intentions I keep a close eye on them in the cave and on the way there I just break out my GPS and lead them on an adventurous trek through heavy forest before arriving at the cave entrance. I have yet to have one find their way back to the cave on their own even though everyone I have taken has turned out to be responsible cavers but you never know when you first meet someone.

The only real drawback is someone could easily have a GPS or have a good memory so it's not fullproof but most people just looking to destroy something don't want to put forth the effort to find a cave entrance. In my area generally the only caves that are vandalised are the ones that are easy to find. There are a few well known sacrificial caves here and thats generally where I take newbies to see how they do.
User avatar
David Grimes
Admin
 
Posts: 1297
Joined: Jun 19, 2007 6:14 pm
Location: Port Richey, Fl / Harrison County, In
NSS #: 59533
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Indiana Underground Society
  

Re: Cave's 30,000 years of beauty gone in a snap

Postby NZcaver » Jan 18, 2008 11:16 am

myotis wrote:You sound, if I may say so, idealistic. An admirable trait, were the stakes not so high.

Thank you for the compliment. I do try, but I must admit my traits frequently flip-flop between idealism and a very bad case of materialism. :big grin:

I realize there are many out there who will never want to understand or give a damn about conservation. It's just not in their limited vocabulary, and it probably never will be. They're at the very least ignorant, and at most they could be downright sociopathic just like you said. Like you, I've seen vandalized and trashed caves many times - sacrificial or not. I have mixed feelings helping in cave cleanups. I'm happy to help, but frustrated and angry about needing to clean up after other thoughtless and destructive people.

But for the rest of the potential-future-caver population, a little education can go a long way. You're right about the stakes being high. But to everything there is a balance. Without being too melodramatic... hypothetically if all "old" cavers were to shun any non-caver asking to go caving, then the caving community would eventually die out. And the caves would ultimately suffer one way or another.


[PS - Myotis, if you want quotes to show up properly in your posts, you need to uncheck the "disable BB code" box. If you click to edit your post, you'll find the box at the bottom left of the page. To change the setting for all posts, click on the link at the top right of the page marked "user control panel" and go to "board preferences" --> "edit posting defaults."]
User avatar
NZcaver
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 6342
Joined: Sep 7, 2005 2:05 am
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Name: Jansen
NSS #: 50665RL
  

Re: Cave's 30,000 years of beauty gone in a snap

Postby Mudduck » Jan 19, 2008 9:02 am

This discussion has definately an "education" or "abstenance" direction. I think what it boils down to is taking everyone on an individual basis. For instance, if you meet someone new, they found out you are a caver and then said those things(breaking stuff off etc.) then I would'nt consider taking them anywhere. If its someone your around often and you can see there actions in daily life you should be able to draw a conclusion to whether or not they could be educated and made to understand how caves are a precious irreplaceable resource. The gentleman I spoke of was a nice guy but head strong in his decisions. He tends to be irrational in his actions from time to time. While I still talk to him and "watch" him. I'm not sure I'll ever truly trust him in a cave. It boils down to gut feelings. We all have them. For me it will always be a case by case basis as I'm sure it is with everyone. It does'nt take but a few carefully ask questions to determine someones mind set.
I think I can...I think I can...I think I can
Mudduck
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 451
Joined: Jan 1, 2008 6:56 pm
Location: Columbus, MS
Name: Bill Reed
NSS #: 60046
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Currently a Lone caver
  

Re: Cave's 30,000 years of beauty gone in a snap

Postby myotis » Jan 19, 2008 3:05 pm

Mudduck wrote:This discussion has definately an "education" or "abstenance" direction. I think what it boils down to is taking everyone on an individual basis. For instance, if you meet someone new, they found out you are a caver and then said those things(breaking stuff off etc.) then I would'nt consider taking them anywhere. If its someone your around often and you can see there actions in daily life you should be able to draw a conclusion to whether or not they could be educated and made to understand how caves are a precious irreplaceable resource. The gentleman I spoke of was a nice guy but head strong in his decisions. He tends to be irrational in his actions from time to time. While I still talk to him and "watch" him. I'm not sure I'll ever truly trust him in a cave. It boils down to gut feelings. We all have them. For me it will always be a case by case basis as I'm sure it is with everyone. It does'nt take but a few carefully ask questions to determine someones mind set.


As a rule, you are correct. However, the guy in question I was talking about was someone from work that I had talked to at length beforehand, giving him the cave conservation talk, referring to a specific local "sacrificial cave" (yeah, that one) that had suffered much at the hands of fools. He made all the appropriate noises at all the right places and assured me that he would not ever dream of doing anything like that, and reaffirmed his desire to go caving. He seemed perfectly sincere. I certainly did not have a clue that he would be capable of doing anything stupid, much less do it. When I finally got him underground some time later, it was a totally different story. While I was filling out the register in the gated cave I took him to, he walked around doing what I was assuming was looking around while I was writing us into the register then at some point he whipped out a green crayon and wrote his last name on the wall. I had no idea this had happened, because if I had, he'd have paid for it dearly. Oh yes. There would have been blood. :boxing: Or, at the very least, legal action. I know it was him because on the trip down to the cave, he had produced a crayon (same color) out of the pockets of his coveralls at one point and had laughed and said his girlfriends' little kids must have gotten into his stuff since he had worn them last, saying they liked to wear them. We then did our trip, and had what I had thought was a good time, then some months later, after I had moved away from the area, I was contacted and notified what had occurred on my watch. Because jerkwad actually wrote his last name and I had honestly written all the required information into the register, it wasn't hard for the conservancy to figure out what trip the offense had occurred on. Thank goodness it was only crayon. Thirty seconds with a wire brush would have taken care of that. I was right with him for the remainder of the trip and I'm pretty certain that nothing further happened.

The incident left me more than a little shy, though, about whom to take caving. Much, much more than I had used to be. If I now have any doubts AT ALL, or even feelings of any sort that cause me to doubt, they do not go an-y-where. Given the general lack of respect for rules and conventions of today that most of the kids today seem to exhibit, I'm thinking that things of this nature will become an all too common occurrence in the future. Only most of the incidents will be done anonymously, like that damage of the helictite-like formation in Brookville Cave. Or the malicious damage of the butterfly formation in the Caverns Of Sonora.

I'd just urge you to trust your gut feelings, is all.
Is this really necessary? Really? Ok......
User avatar
myotis
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Sep 19, 2005 1:24 am
  

Re: Cave's 30,000 years of beauty gone in a snap

Postby tncaver » Jan 20, 2008 9:00 am

I don't think newbies should ever be taken to a formation cave on their first trip. If they
really like caving, they will be happy in any kind of cave. It' s better to observe their actions
in an ordinary cave than to find out bad intentions in a formation or biologically significant
cave.
tncaver
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 2631
Joined: May 17, 2007 7:03 pm
  

Re: Cave's 30,000 years of beauty gone in a snap

Postby wyandottecaver » Jan 21, 2008 5:44 pm

well,

I guess I agree with NZ in that the best we can do is try to determine someone's overall maturity and then keep an eye on them. too many potentially good cavers have been turned off and turned away by too much melodrama. Bad things happen, but if only the select few see the best caves have to offer then there won't be too many people worried when the transpark, highway, or wallmart finds some cheap real estate.
I'm not scared of the dark, it's the things IN the dark that make me nervous. :)
User avatar
wyandottecaver
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 2902
Joined: Aug 24, 2007 8:44 pm
Location: Indiana
  


Return to Conservation Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users