Cave Conservation Cafe Invitation

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

Moderator: Moderators

Postby Squirrel Girl » Oct 18, 2007 5:16 pm

An awfully lot of publically managed caves on publically managed caves are on public lands out west--the BLM, the Forest Service, and the NPS. Folks like Ron Kerbo (now retired), Ransom Turner (RIP), Dale Pate, Jim Goodbar (all from New Mexico where I used to live) are dedicated public servants and CAVERS who have worked really hard to save the caves. Oh yeah, how could I forget Paul Berger and Stan Allison. And there are quite a few others there in NM. That doesn't count the other western states like CA and up into the Dakotas.

I take a stand supporting a lot of really fine federal employees working their hearts our for our natural resources.

I've had a few of my own share of horror stories (not with caves, but other resources). But there are a lot of really good people trying hard to do well.

----------------------------
Ok, that being said, I'm with Phil. What's with the extremely short notice?? I live about 30 miles from the venue. I *could* take off work and attend. But I also wonder "Is it worth it?" The agenda seems fairly formal, and I wouldn't really be contributing.

Gordon, what's up with this?
Barbara Anne am Ende

"Weird people are my people."
User avatar
Squirrel Girl
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 3162
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 5:34 am
Location: Albuquerque, NM
NSS #: 15789
  

IDNR Law Enforcement

Postby wyandottecaver » Oct 18, 2007 5:48 pm

....Caves on state property in Indiana require a permit to enter. This has to do with our DNR Law Enforcement Division. They created this division and then needed something for these guys to do with their military style weapons. So they require a permit, which is nothing more than a way to hassle cavers and to enhance revenue if you don't have a permit. This same law enforcement division also formed their own cave rescue group. Now tell me, what kind of experience to do these guys have in cave rescue? They are not regular cavers.[/quote]


I am a past employee (caves specialist) of the IDNR though not of the law enforcement division. I also think the permits should be scrapped, but for different reasons. I honestly feel the permits are a non-issue because 1) even at the NSS 07' convention the number of permits actually turned in vs the number of person/trips to state owned caves seems to have been very low (on the order of 20%) during "normal" times I doubt more than 5% of trips have permits. 2) there is no charge for the permit, the instances I am aware of where someone was fined for not having one was when they were also commiting some other crime like vandalisim, and 3) enforcement is opportunistic, i.e. a DNR officer happens to notice cavers at their vehicles and asks about a permit. In my opinion, the worst thing about the permit system is no one cares. cavers don't care so they don't use them which negates the safety and cave visitation information they were designed to collect, and once turned in, no one at the State cares either, so if you are overdue or there are 300 trips a month to a cave no one knows till FOX news shows up.

As for the DNR cave rescue team, I have trained with them several times. While none cave more than 1/month they ALL cave at least several times a year. Some are also recreational cavers. Are they caving experts? no. But they are orders of magnitude better than most volunteer fire departments out there. Most importantly, by law they will be the folks in charge of emergencies on State property and they do at least have a good understanding of cave rescue challenges.
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
  

Postby Dane » Oct 18, 2007 6:14 pm

TnCaver wrote - "So I'm asking, did the Gulf road need to be gated off or was this an
over reaction by our state parks department? And why???"

The Camp's Gulf Road was gated because of wear to the road - that's the only reason. Two many 4-wheelers (big and small) wearing out the already existing puddles. It got to the point that standard, off the lot trucks and 4x4's were getting stuck - the Park could not afford all the labor involved in getting people out, and didn't have funds to repair the road.
Still, the hike is not far, by TAG caver standards anyway, and it is virtually level the entire way.
And I agree with JoeyS that the cave itself, and even the nearby campsites have never shown any excessive wear, litter, or vandalism.

As to permits, the park service (whether federal, state, or local) has a responsibility to protect and manage these resources FOR US. I do not think the intent is to protect the cave from cavers, but for cavers. While there are certainly cases where visitation is limited to certain times of the year, generally because of endangered bat roosting, that would be true (and proper) regardless of what entity was managing the cave.
And when there are fees involved, they are nominal.
No, permitting is designed to keep out vandals, and/or enable identification of those that do litter or vandalize the cave.

As to fears over publicity, I do know that in the case of Pettijohn's down in Ga, the availability of pamphlets at the kiosk on the trail to the cave coincides with a measurable DECLINE in litter and vandalism - a case of limited publicity positively impacting the cave environment.

In addition, and Phil can speak to this from personal experience I think, but it is my understanding that European caves are generally not gated, and in fact, locations are essentially public knowledge. Whether it is because of broader cave education or just a higher level of public conservatism, their caves are generally cleaner with virtually no vandalism.

So Gordon - what does the NSS hope to accomplish from their (our?) involvement? What will be the return on our investment?
Dane
"Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think freely, to risk life, to be needed."
http://www.myspace.com/daneinchattanooga
User avatar
Dane
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 576
Joined: Oct 22, 2006 11:02 pm
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Name: Dane
NSS #: 57919
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Chattanooga
  

Postby tncaver » Oct 18, 2007 8:36 pm

Dane,
Thanks for your reply. I find it interesting that you suggest the condition
of the road into Camps Gulf Branch was the deciding factor to closing
off the Gulf to vehicular traffic.
I have visited Camps Gulf several times over the years and I found the road to be in much better shape over all than it had been 15 years
ago before the park took ownership. However, it still had some
considerable mud holes in it. But that was nothing new. I'm sure the
mud holes kept a lot of curiosity seekers out.
Still, I'm sure that gating the road off will be a good thing over all.
Many people miss the camp site near the cave but restricting access
will keep the area more pristine.
tncaver
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 2631
Joined: May 17, 2007 7:03 pm
  

Cave Conservation Cafe Invitation

Postby Gordon Birkhimer » Oct 18, 2007 9:51 pm

Hey Guys, I don't really have much information other than that which was presented to me. And, I have invited YOU!. I suggest everyone attend - as I am - in order to be in tune with what's going on in the political world of caving... Or, I can just sit at home and watch the harrowing cave rescues on TV to get my caving political information. Politics on any subject is an active choice.
Gordon Birkhimer
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Jan 16, 2006 11:50 am
Location: Falls Church, VA
Name: Gordon Birkhimer
NSS #: 42778
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Bubble Cave
  

Re: Cave Conservation Cafe Invitation

Postby Squirrel Girl » Oct 18, 2007 9:55 pm

Gordon Birkhimer wrote:Hey Guys, I don't really have much information other than that which was presented to me. And, I have invited YOU!. I suggest everyone attend - as I am - in order to be in tune with what's going on in the political world of caving... Or, I can just sit at home and watch the harrowing cave rescues on TV to get my caving political information. Politics on any subject is an active choice.
I've done *tons* of advocacy. Don't lecture me! :waving: But sitting in a room like a lump on a log is a waste of my time. If I can contribute in a meaningful way, I'll take vacation time off work. If not, I won't. Maybe you can go back and inquire from s/he-who-presented-to-you and fill us in.
Barbara Anne am Ende

"Weird people are my people."
User avatar
Squirrel Girl
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 3162
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 5:34 am
Location: Albuquerque, NM
NSS #: 15789
  

Postby Cheryl Jones » Oct 19, 2007 12:19 am

http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/hoosier/docs/ev ... _event.htm
The event is hosted by the USFS, and organized by the Hoosier National Forest. The NSS is a sponsor. (Perhaps you saw the film at Convention. You may borrow it from the AV Library for a grotto program or perhaps to show to a school group.)

We'll have an NSS exhibit set up and NSS brochures (Fragile Underground, etc) will be included in the info packs given to each attendee. This is an outstanding opportunity to increase the NSS's visibility, educate a range of federal agency staff, and promote the value of cave and karst resources to a large and influential audience.

Through the Government Liaison, Conservation Committee, Education Committee and the NCKMS coordinator, the NSS maintains a close working relationship with the cave specialists in the USFS, NPS, BLM, and USF&WS responsible for cave management on a national level. These folks are NSS members and attend NSS Conventions.

Very importantly, the NSS has Memorandums of Understanding with the BLM, USPS, USFS, and the USF&WS that define how we'll work together to study, manage, and conserve caves. You can read these in the Board Manual on the NSS Business Web page. They are listed in the Appendix. (AA, AD, AF, AH, and AN)

It is vital for the NSS to continue to emphasize to the folks at the agencies' national HQ the value of cave and karst resources, and the responsibility they have for managing them well. Additionally, we must keep reminding them that people care. The NSS has organized cave resource conservation and education sessions over the years in Washington DC, hosted by the USFS, and met regularly with various officials. Our Government Liaison even meets annually with congressmen.

The NSS is YOUR voice in Washington and otherwise on a national level, and your support of the Society gives us the clout to make a difference for caves and their inhabitants. And we have made a difference, beginning with the Federal Cave Protection Act.

The Society's goals direct us, in part, to "promote interest in and to advance in any and all ways the study and science of speleology, the protection of caves and their natural contents..." By supporting and participating in the Cave Conservation Cafe, we are furthering these goals.
Last edited by Cheryl Jones on Oct 19, 2007 10:56 am, edited 3 times in total.
Cheryl Jones
NSS OVP
User avatar
Cheryl Jones
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2469
Joined: Sep 2, 2005 11:53 pm
Location: Virginia
Name: Cheryl Jones
NSS #: 14479 FE OS
Primary Grotto Affiliation: BATS
  

Postby Cheryl Jones » Oct 19, 2007 12:30 am

But sitting in a room like a lump on a log is a waste of my time.

The goal of inviting cavers is twofold: First is to show that caves have friends -- that there really is an interest "out there" by many people in how caves, lava tubes, and karst on federal lands are managed.

Second is to have enough cavers to effectively mingle with the audience and talk caving, conservation, national issues, the value of national (federal) cave specialists, etc. The more federal folks we can engage in conversation the better.

Cheryl
User avatar
Cheryl Jones
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2469
Joined: Sep 2, 2005 11:53 pm
Location: Virginia
Name: Cheryl Jones
NSS #: 14479 FE OS
Primary Grotto Affiliation: BATS
  

Postby Squirrel Girl » Oct 19, 2007 5:51 am

Thanks for the information, Cheryl.

I met the head of cave management here in Washington for the USFS a few years ago at an IMBA-sponsored Trail Design and Building course. We were just chit chatting, and the next thing you knew we had something in common.

Unfortunately it turned out he hated someone in charge of cave management in another agency who I really like. :hairpull:

But...

It's hard for someone on the "outside" to see that with the schedule presented that there'll be *any* mingling. I have a very important customer who expect me around all the time, and to take off means at minimum 2 hours of commuting (if traffic goes my way), then I think I'm a warm body.

I just went to a public meeting the other day and they expected 15 people to show up and 100 showed up and they said, "You bicyclists--don't talk." OK, it wasn't *quite* that bad, but it was really, really close. Sometimes less is more. The decision had been made prior to the meeting, the numbers didn't matter.

Anyhoo, it sounds like this is a meeting of good intentions with people who care. And I very much applaud the efforts. Yay!

I just wonder if a bunch of bodies is a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. I don't know that, but I just kinda wonder. Is it better to provide written comments to a plan?
Barbara Anne am Ende

"Weird people are my people."
User avatar
Squirrel Girl
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 3162
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 5:34 am
Location: Albuquerque, NM
NSS #: 15789
  

Tuesday at the CCC

Postby Gordon Birkhimer » Oct 19, 2007 6:32 am

Very good Barbara. It's all settled and we look forward to seeing you at the event on Tuesday. I think some of our NSS friends will be there to mingle with. Also, I have not seen "Caves: Life beneath the Forest Floor" and I look forward to seeing that. I think it will be a good time for caves and cavers in the Nations Capital.
Gordon Birkhimer
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Jan 16, 2006 11:50 am
Location: Falls Church, VA
Name: Gordon Birkhimer
NSS #: 42778
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Bubble Cave
  

Postby Cheryl Jones » Oct 19, 2007 11:16 am

I met the head of cave management here in Washington for the USFS a few years ago at an IMBA-sponsored Trail Design and Building course....

The folks in DC involved with cave management, including those who oversee road and building construction, user fees, mineral resources, etc., of course gradually change over the years, as do job titles and responsibilities. This is another reason why regular meetings and education sessions are important.
It's hard for someone on the "outside" to see that with the schedule presented that there'll be *any* mingling.

As with most events, I envision there'll be opportunities to mingle before and after the morning session and during the lunchtime "cafe" afterwards. There will even be an opportunity to ask questions during the panel session, perhaps to help bring out information and direct a discussion.

Anyway, the invitation is from the USFS, not the Society, and it was generous of them to include NSS members. By attending we show our support and our interest in staying involved. Of course most members will have to work that day, but at least you know the Forest Service wanted to involve cavers in the event. That accounts for a lot. :goodjob:
Cheryl Jones
NSS OVP
User avatar
Cheryl Jones
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2469
Joined: Sep 2, 2005 11:53 pm
Location: Virginia
Name: Cheryl Jones
NSS #: 14479 FE OS
Primary Grotto Affiliation: BATS
  

Postby tncaver » Oct 19, 2007 1:46 pm

Hey Cheryl,
If you go to the cafe meeting I hope you will give the NSS forum
an accurate and unbiased report about the meeting, what it was about,
what it accomplished etc. Those of us who can't make it will be appreciative.
tncaver
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 2631
Joined: May 17, 2007 7:03 pm
  

Postby Cheryl Jones » Oct 19, 2007 2:11 pm

Sure, no problem. The NSS Conservation Chairman or someone else probably will write up a review for the NSS News, perhaps the conservation issue.

You seem suspicious, Tncaver. What's up? Have you seen the film that will feature during the event?

Cheryl
User avatar
Cheryl Jones
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2469
Joined: Sep 2, 2005 11:53 pm
Location: Virginia
Name: Cheryl Jones
NSS #: 14479 FE OS
Primary Grotto Affiliation: BATS
  

Postby tncaver » Oct 19, 2007 2:28 pm

No, I haven't seen the film.
Hopefully there will be nothing to be suspicious about.
tncaver
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 2631
Joined: May 17, 2007 7:03 pm
  

Postby graveleye » Oct 20, 2007 9:54 am

When it comes to any government attention to a cause or subject, a degree of suspicion is warranted. That's also why there should be a contingent of NSS people involved here - to make sure some hair-brained ideas are not allowed to spawn.
ad astra per aspera

http://www.myspace.com/jamthecontrols

The views expressed in this post are not necessarily those of any organization I am affiliated with.

Become a sustaining member of the SCCI
User avatar
graveleye
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2934
Joined: Mar 14, 2006 11:12 am
Location: Georgia, USA
Name: Kevin Glenn
NSS #: 57238RL
  

PreviousNext

Return to Conservation Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users