WV Cavers! Show Your Support for the Caves of the Upper Elk!

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WV Cavers! Show Your Support for the Caves of the Upper Elk!

Postby George Phillips » Jul 24, 2008 6:05 pm

The next meeting of the Pocahontas Public Service District will be on Tuesday July 29 at 7 PM at the PSD office in Durbin.

The meeting agenda is to vote on the recommendation for Site #5 for the regional sewage treatment plant. This is the site behind Beckwith Lumber - near the Slatyfork Catch and Release parking area - where Old Field Fork and Big Spring Fork meet to form the Elk River.

The engineers who evaluated this site stated it was high risk due to flooding (Site #5 is in the 100 year floodplain) and karst (voids, subsurface water flow under site) but that it was "buildable".

This site is $ 3 million more expensive than the only viable alternative site currently being considered - Site #7 on Snowshoe Drive near the "Forever Wild" sign. This site has been taken out of consideration as it located on "private land" (Snowshoe). The PSD is now claiming they cannot spend public monies on private land.

In addition, Site #5 requires ~7 miles of pipeline be installed in the Big Spring Fork Valley. There are 68 known caves and springs along the pipeline corridor - including Sharps Cave. These springs feed the Upper Elk River and provide the cold, clean water to the Upper Elk River supporting its reproducing rainbow, brook and brown trout populations - which is why it is considered one of the blue ribbon trout streams of the East.

A single failure of this pipeline would result in large quantities of raw sewage immediately entering the caves/springs causing irreversible damage to the groundwater, surface streams and trout habitat of the Big Spring Fork and Upper Elk. It will take years for the watershed and the trout fishery to recover from such an event.

This project also has the potential to impact several large and hydrologically significant caves located downstream in the Elk River valley including My Cave, Left Tit Pit, Elk River Cave, Bradshaw Run Cave and Falling Spring Cavern.

We need to have a lot of folks at next week's PSD meeting to voice their opposition. The angling community is already preparing to show up in significant numbers. It would be great if we could get some cavers there as well.

Please feel free to forward this message to other West Virginia cavers who might be willing to come to Tuesday's meeting.

Maybe you can do some Pocahontas County caving this weekend and stay over for the PSD meeting Tuesday? Have some fun caving and do something to protect the caves you enjoy - all on the same tank of gas!

Directions to the PSD Meeting:

The PSD office is located on Back Mountain Road about 1/2 mile from Old Rt 250. You can get there by crossing the West Fork Bridge (steel bridge) on the west end of Durbin. After you cross the bridge go to the stop sign (about 50 yards), turn left up the hill on Old Rt 250 and look for Back Mountain Road about 1/2 mile on your left. Turn onto Back Mountain Road and go about 1/2 mile until you see the PSD office - a small block building by the green water tank - on your left.

If you are traveling from the south you can cross over Rt 66 from Slatyfork/Linwood and take Back Mountain Road north from Cass - about 15 miles of winding road. Cass Cave and Cassell Cave are located on or near Back Mountain Road.
George Phillips
Occasional Poster
Posts: 40
Joined: Jan 24, 2007 3:20 pm
Location: West Virginia
NSS #: 27623
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Charleston Grotto

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