Photo of the new gate at the NSS owned Trout Cave

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Photo of the new gate at the NSS owned Trout Cave

Postby Brian Masney » Dec 6, 2008 10:40 pm

I haven't seen any photos of the newly installed gate at Trout Cave so I stopped by earlier today since I was in the area. I figured other people may be interested in seeing a photo of the gate.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/masneyb/30 ... 747119264/

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Re: Photo of the new gate at the NSS owned Trout Cave

Postby adleedy » Dec 6, 2008 11:08 pm

What a shame.
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Photo of the new gate at the NSS owned Trout Cave

Postby Ernie Coffman » Dec 7, 2008 12:53 am

What a shame to have to resort to this, but...when vandalism continues, it's the best cavers can do. I wonder how long before some idiot(s) will break into this beautiful gate, though. :doh: It seems that the gate is put there, only to keep honest people out. Needless to say, its been a long time in coming. In fact, I don't recall what convention it was presented at, but I'm pretty sure it was in West Virginia? :roll: Someone wrote in on the Flicker site
trogva says:
It's always sad to see a beautiful cave entrance destroyed. I hope it's worth it.

Walt Pirie
Yes, it is, but...that's how responsible cavers and trustees have to react to the vandalism that takes place in these natural wonders.
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Re: Photo of the new gate at the NSS owned Trout Cave

Postby tncaver » Dec 7, 2008 7:59 am

Ernie Coffman wrote:What a shame to have to resort to this, but...when vandalism continues, it's the best cavers can do. I wonder how long before some idiot(s) will break into this beautiful gate, though. :doh: It seems that the gate is put there, only to keep honest people out.


Gosh, the entrance to Trout Cave was very scenic. Now it looks like something from a Mad Max movie. Although I must say, that shiny, clean, rust free gate looks very effective. However, in a few short years, it will be a gnarly looking rusty thing. It truly is a shame that other methods could not be tried (or were not tried) before the NSS resorted to gating another once scenic cave entrance. As was recently proven, game cameras can catch cave vandals. And what about education? I have heard conservation minded cavers preaching about educating the public about caves for years. Was this tried? What is it about Ellison's Cave that seems to working without gating? Somehow I feel that gates are simply the EASIEST way to keep "honest" cavers out or caves.
Am I missing something here?
And BTW, what is the new cave access policy for Trout Cave? And I wonder if my NSS dues went up to pay for that gate? :down:
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Re: Photo of the new gate at the NSS owned Trout Cave

Postby NICKSCAVE » Dec 7, 2008 10:34 am

Wow, Ernie hit the nail on the head. vandals will always find a way to destroy things when they see fit. I remember a time when caving was about caving rather then bull$&*# access policies. Now it seems to be all about speleopolitics. once again, as Ernie said, all this does is keep out card carring, due paying cavers. :down:
Oh Boy,we may have to blast N.S.S 54295RE
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Re: Photo of the new gate at the NSS owned Trout Cave

Postby tncaver » Dec 7, 2008 10:54 am

NICKSCAVE wrote:Wow, Ernie hit the nail on the head. vandals will always find a way to destroy things when they see fit. I remember a time when caving was about caving rather then bull$&*# access policies. Now it seems to be all about speleopolitics. once again, as Ernie said, all this does is keep out card carring, due paying cavers. :down:


As Cheryl Jones would say "Not so fast Grasshopper". I (WE) haven't heard the cave access management plan yet.
Maybe the NSS has a good one. I hope so anyway. However, NICKSCAVE, I do agree, that once upon a time, caving
was about caving. I even remember when the NSS was about caving. Now it seems that the NSS has become another
conservation organization rather than a caving organization. Perhaps that has something to do with the lower membership
renewals. I know I consider whether to renew every time renewal time arrives. Especially when the rates go up. In the past,
I have renewed for up to three years at a time. This time however, I renewed for just one year. I don't want any money paid
in advance to be used to gate caves unless it is the absolute last possible way to protect a cave.
I contributed to buy Great X, but I'm not anxious to contribute to gating it. I also bought a brick to build the current
NSS headquarters in Huntsville. I certainly hope that if the headquarters are moved that my brick will be installed in
the new building. Or better yet, keep it where it is...for now anyway. Opps. :off topic:
Back to Trout Cave. Lets hear more views and news before we go running off the cliff like lemmings. :grin:
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Photo of the new gate at the NSS owned Trout Cave

Postby Ernie Coffman » Dec 7, 2008 11:04 am

In answer to TNCAVER, I found this management plan for Trout Cave, along with some other items on the Internet.
http://www.caves.org/preserves/jgcp/mp-jgcp.html :waving:

As for the gate being paid for by funds that would increase one's membership fees, that's a far fetched thought, really and truly! Go to the Board Minutes and see Peri's explanation of why the BOG suggested raising the fees. Let's face it, everything is going up...except for gasoline, and that's going down. Wonder of wonders! :clap: Of course, it could go back up, at any time, too! As for the dues increase, rather than drop from three years to one year, you really should be thinkiing of going for a Life Membership or a Sustaining one, where a good hunk of the change will go for a Life, considering it will help the NSS and it will get you out of having to be reminded to re-up every year. But...that's another subject. :off topic:
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Re: Photo of the new gate at the NSS owned Trout Cave

Postby jharman2 » Dec 7, 2008 11:07 am

I would like to set the record straight. The gate was not erected to stop vandals from entering the cave. It was erected to protect a colony of about 150 Indiana bats that use the cave as a hibernaculum. Note the entry on the VAR limited access cave list. http://www.caves.org/grotto/dcg/CC/cc-frameset.html

"Cave is now gated and locked from Labor Day until May 15. Open for non-commercial use by properly equipped cavers at other times. (Hamilton and New Trout are still open)."

I will keep my opinion of the gate to myself. However, I do believe that as NSS members we should all be somewhat concerned that this gate was erected with money from our donations / dues and there was never a chance for open discussion. Sounds eerily similar to the big government we all fear.
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Re: Photo of the new gate at the NSS owned Trout Cave

Postby Ralph E. Powers » Dec 7, 2008 11:08 am

It is indeed a shame that it had to come to that. But people just don't know when to leave well enough alone... vandals I mean, morons, idiots.
Another cave I know of had received a massive gate because of morons and idiots http://nsscavers.ning.com/photo/photo/s ... to%3A63249. However the gate was primarily not because of spray-painting idiots (although hundreds had left their mark, but of bat killing jerk-offs that almost slaughtered an entire colony, simply because they thought it was the right thing to do... bats are dangerous ya know... they carry rabies. :doh:

If we don't want to see more of BIG UGLY gates then we need to educate more people. The best people are the kids in grade school, where young minds are still impressionable. Grottos can put together slide-show or multi-media presentations that help teach kids about caves and about the harm that vandalism can do in the long term. Teach about bats and how useful they are to everyone and so forth. Catch 'em young (the kids not the bats) and hopefully they'll grow up with the seed of conservation and preservation planted firmly in their psyche so that in their (later) teenaged/young adult minds ... spray-painting, leaving trash and killing bats isn't such a cool idea. This goes for above ground places that need to be preserved as well.
But for us, I believe as NSS members who have a conservation creed and individually we all developed a code of ethics in regards to preserving a cave's natural beauty (most radical of all is NOT to go into the cave period!) aren't we obligated to pass this on to the younger set rather than spending thousands of dollars trying to prevent them from doing something they could've been just as effective or more so, taught in a class-room when they were younger?
We spend hundreds of hours volunteering our time to various projects. Can't we do the same in the classrooms? I'm sure there are science teachers who'd love a change of pace and are probably just as committed to the environment as we are... they'd be glad to have guests of honor (Grotto presenters) show up and give a neat presentation that used to be only viewable in a Grotto meeting.

Something to think about.
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Photo of the new gate at the NSS owned Trout Cave

Postby Ernie Coffman » Dec 7, 2008 11:14 am

Here's where the money came from on the gating project at Trout Cave in WV.
http://www.caves.org/grotto/dcg/bat-cou ... t-2008.pdf If one reads the management plan and this project paper, you'll see that the gate is to protect the bats that are starting to come back to this area. What frightened them--10K of them, it says--away, if not for vandalism, etc.? This is an area that really needs to protect the bats, considering the white-nose syndrome that has killed off so many of them. I'm beginning to itch, just from thinking of the fewer bats around that won't be eating their fill of flying insects. :clap:
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Re: Photo of the new gate at the NSS owned Trout Cave

Postby tncaver » Dec 7, 2008 11:22 am

Thanks for all the knowledgeable replies. Now we know the real reason for the Trout Cave gate (I hope) and that there is an
access policy. The access policy seems pretty reasonable to me. However, I do have this one question about the gate.
Was it not possible to put the gate farther into the cave so that it would not ruin the beauty of the natural entrance? I have
never been to Trout Cave so I don't know this, but are there any smaller passages a short way into the cave that could
have been gated instead of the entrance, or better yet, put the gate up only on the passage that leads to the bats? Please,
those in the know, educate the rest of us with your knowledge of why a large gate was built in sight rather than a small gate
built farther back and out of sight? That cave entrance looks big enough to drive a truck into. At least a short ways into the
cave where a smaller gate could have been built out of sight. Inquiring minds (fellow NSS member minds) want to know.
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Re: Photo of the new gate at the NSS owned Trout Cave

Postby Ralph E. Powers » Dec 7, 2008 12:26 pm

tncaver wrote:Thanks for all the knowledgeable replies. Now we know the real reason for the Trout Cave gate (I hope) and that there is an
access policy. The access policy seems pretty reasonable to me. However, I do have this one question about the gate.
Was it not possible to put the gate farther into the cave so that it would not ruin the beauty of the natural entrance? I have
never been to Trout Cave so I don't know this, but are there any smaller passages a short way into the cave that could
have been gated instead of the entrance, or better yet, put the gate up only on the passage that leads to the bats? Please,
those in the know, educate the rest of us with your knowledge of why a large gate was built in sight rather than a small gate
built farther back and out of sight? That cave entrance looks big enough to drive a truck into. At least a short ways into the
cave where a smaller gate could have been built out of sight. Inquiring minds (fellow NSS member minds) want to know.

Don't know about Trout cave.. As to the one I posted the bats roosted in an area just past the entrance and there was no feasible way to access it for the workers to safely install the steel... probably also not to disturb the roost too much with the noise and smoke from the welders. Mayhap this is the same reason for Trout?

Way I see it... better a big ugly gate than an extinct species of bat. :shrug:
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Re: Photo of the new gate at the NSS owned Trout Cave

Postby Brian Masney » Dec 7, 2008 12:58 pm

The proposal to gate the cave states:

Trout Cave is privately owned by the National Speleological Society (NSS). The cave is heavily used by recreational cavers, including large scout and school groups. Historic accounts suggest that Trout Cave once supported up to 1,000 Indiana bats. However, previous disturbances to the cave reduced populations to around 10-20 bats. Since the cave was purchased by the NSS, hibernating populations of the Indiana bat within the cave have increased to 158 bats, and it is now the fourth largest hibernacula in the State. Although the Indiana bats now occupy a small side passage, historically these bats hibernated in the main passage of the cave where temperatures are more suitable for this species. The Virginia big-eared bat also uses the cave during the fall swarming period. Disturbances in caves have been identified as a primary threat to recovery of these two endangered species.


The bat counts for Trout is available online at:

http://www.caves.org/grotto/dcg/bat-cou ... ounts.html

In summary, the number of Indiana bats has gone up over the last few years (Note: Trout is only counted during the odd numbered years). Here are the numbers:

1999: 19
2001: 24
2003: 25
2005: 95
2007: 158

The entrance is located high in the cliff face and there is really only one way to get to the cave entrance. Personally, I feel that a 30' wide chain linked fence, with razor wire on the top, could have been placed further down the hill at the start of the climb to get to the cave. This would have restricted access during the winter and it would not have destroyed one of our beautiful cave entrances in West Virginia.

Here is another picture I took this past August from inside the cave looking out before the cave was gated. Route 220 and the South Branch of the Potomac River can be seen in this photo.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/masneyb/27 ... 747119264/

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Re: Photo of the new gate at the NSS owned Trout Cave

Postby wendy » Dec 7, 2008 1:31 pm

It remind me of the gate at Sauta cave, which was placed for the same reason I beleive, although the NSS doesn't own that one.
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Re: Photo of the new gate at the NSS owned Trout Cave

Postby graveleye » Dec 7, 2008 3:48 pm

The gate at Sauta was placed there to keep King Kong inside instead of rampage across the countryside.
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