Major Utah crystal cave listed on eBay. HELP!!

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Re: Major Utah crystal cave listed on eBay. HELP!!

Postby caverdan » Aug 12, 2009 8:47 pm

I hear you Bill.....we need to work all angles. I'm willing to have some patience also as I'm sure Dale is on top of it. If it was in Colorado..........but remember. We're talking about Utah.....a place where outsiders usually don't butt in. :big grin:
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Re: Major Utah crystal cave listed on eBay. HELP!!

Postby Bill Putnam » Aug 12, 2009 9:21 pm

Dale,

I'm glad you have faith in the government to Do the Right Thing. Perhaps this time they will. But given their track record, I would not bet on it. If they fail (which could easily happen for more reasons than we can imagine), what is your back-up plan? I hope you are working on one. Personally, I lost faith in the government as a savior of caves shortly after I began to understand how it operates. The truth is, the government has had a few notable successes in cave protection but far, far more unknown and forgotten failures. Ask a few career government cave managers and you can get the details, ad nauseum.

Whether or not the claim actually covers the cave is largely irrelevant. The guy has a claim to something, even if it's just surface mining rights to the rocks lying on the ground or whatever. It may or may not be valid, but if he is determined to hold out that will ultimately have to be determined in court. As long as he has that claim you (or the government) will have to deal with him. The government will have a difficult time taking those rights away from him at this point. Even if they succeed, it will take time, money, and other resources. These things have a finite value in dollars. He knows that, hence his present course of action.

My offer to help fund a buyout is on the table. Get 99 more people to pledge $100 each and you're done.

(p.s. to Dan - I don't feel that offering to help the local Utah cavers do something to resolve this relatively quickly and painlessly is butting in. They could buy out the claim and deed it over to the government, the NSS, or a local grotto, for example and put the issue to rest. But then, if they are determined to try to make the government save the cave rather than save it themselves, perhaps it is butting in to suggest another course of action. Quien sabe? Sometimes, however, an outside observer has a clearer and less emotional perspective on a problem. In this case, I think you and I are making some valid suggestions that should at least be considered for a backup plan.)
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Re: Major Utah crystal cave listed on eBay. HELP!!

Postby Caverdale » Aug 12, 2009 10:39 pm

Bill, you make some good valid points. Yes, I know the government does not always do what they are supposed to do. Some of the cave-related incidents they have pulled aggravate the hell out of me. Most of that is in Nevada, not Utah. However, we are talking about a very specific, highly regarded cave. I can relate a story to you about how the BLM recently (about 2 years ago) dropped the ball on this particular issue because the Field Office Manager (now transferred) refused to let the concerned Resource Planner work on anything to do with Crystal Ball Cave. This involved removing the area from mineral claims and leasing the cave to the Bates'.

The organized cavers are not the only ones concerned. There is a considerable number of the citizenry that is also up in arms about this and applying pressure to return the cave to the Bates' control. In this particular case, I am quite confident of the outcome. I do know a lot of inside information that is not for the public, or even for my fellow local cavers, to know. Maybe I shouldn't even say that.

Please don't discount what the BLM can do. Please don't send Shuman any money. It would just encourage him to do it over again with other caves. Please.
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Re: Major Utah crystal cave listed on eBay. HELP!!

Postby Bill Putnam » Aug 13, 2009 12:37 am

Hey, if you guys are on it I'm happy to wait and see. I sincerely hope it works out as you believe it will. I just don't share your confidence in the BLM. The local guys in such agencies are usually good people, but it's the folks one or two layers above them that gum up the works and prevent progress. Regardless, I would never try to go buy the claim or rights or cave or whatever on my own - these things are best done by local cavers or grottos. If you wind up going that route you can count on my support - not just moral support, but financial as well.
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Re: Major Utah crystal cave listed on eBay. HELP!!

Postby graveleye » Aug 13, 2009 1:31 pm

are we witnessing the birth of the SWCCi?
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Re: Major Utah crystal cave listed on eBay. HELP!!

Postby Caverdale » Aug 13, 2009 3:13 pm

graveleye wrote:are we witnessing the birth of the SWCCi?

As I understand the purpose of the SCCI, it is to acquire and manage caves. Most all of our caves out here are on various government lands and cannot be purchased, even Crystal Ball Cave. We do manage some caves on government lands, but it is done under the applicable government agency directives and various MOUs.
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Re: Major Utah crystal cave listed on eBay. HELP!!

Postby Phil Winkler » Aug 13, 2009 3:24 pm

Dale,

I'd say you are correct. Similar to how the situation is with Fern Cave in Alabama. Cavers provide stewardship and control visits while the government owns it to protect it.

A win/win for all concerned: public, cavers and gray bats.
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Re: Major Utah crystal cave listed on eBay. HELP!!

Postby Rev.Kirkby » Aug 16, 2009 9:58 pm

'Nuther newbie here....landed here quite by accident after Googling the Giant Crystal Caves documentary I saw on Natl Geo this evening, but found that I couldn't leave without reading every single posting on the forum.

I really jumped in just to say thanks for such an interesting and informative forum. One learns many things when exposed to various individual mindsets. And just for the record, if the BLM can take care of the situation to everyone's satisfaction (except for those whose goal is only "mo' money"), then more power to them.

I'm just not going to hold my breath.

Respectfully

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Re: Major Utah crystal cave listed on eBay. HELP!!

Postby Caverdale » Aug 18, 2009 7:34 am

The previous auction didn't receive any buyers, so it has been relisted as:

http://cgi.ebay.com/UTAH-Crystal-Ball-M ... 286.c0.m14

The price has been lowered to $2,500. Please don't bid on this. Your money will be wasted. You will not receive ownership of the cave. You will only encourage Corey Shuman to do similar actions on other caves.

Here are a few things, composed hastily, that have been gleaned from the auction site:

Crystal Ball Cave has been reclassified by Shuman as a mine.

Shuman defines an adit as "A horizontal access point to a mine" and uses the fact that the USGS topographic map has adit symbols at each cave entrance and uses the label "Adits". The adit symbol is also used for caves. Using this definition he has apparently declared that Crystal Ball Cave is a mine, because the "USGS says so". On other forums and/or perhaps the first auction, he said this in so many words. I am not able to bring up the first auction listing on eBay to check, but I swear that I have seen this statement. If he is going to be that technical, he should also be aware that the adit symbols are misplaced on the map and do not represent the true locations. They are close, but not cigar.

Using this declaration, his photos, numbers 4, 6, 8, 9, and 10 are all labeled clearly as photos of the interior of the "mine" but are of course the cave's interior. Photos 5 and 7 are of calcite crystals clearly from the cave’s interior.

His claims of illustrated ore are ridiculous:
Photo #8: "An example of the iron ore bodys (sic) within the mine" is a photo of slightly iron-stained calcite crystals and black limestone bedrock. Shuman has no concept of what constitutes iron ore. Ore is mineralization that can be mined for a profit. There may be a few ounces of iron oxides here, but little else.
Photo #10: " An example of a body of lead ore within the mine." is again a photo of calcite and black limestone bedrock at the back. Black limestone is not the galena he mentions.

Shuman has gotten wiser and no longer claims the area has quartz veins with gold and silver.

His auction is highly contradictory:
"This auction is not for any Speleothems, Stalactites or Stalagmites. This auction is not for any cave formations of any sort." All of these are clearly shown. The individual calcite crystals are defined as speleothems by any speleologist.

"This auction is not for ownership of a cave or any sort of cave related items. Its is for control of locatable minerals and the ability to secure the land on which your minerals are located." Obviously contraditory.

"20000ft+ of tunnels! Iron-Galena-Calcite-Valid Claims There are massive amounts of calcite and flourspar (sic) as well as iron, and galena. There is also good potential for gemstones in the area." Fluorspar presence is highly unlikely.

To me, some statements are amusing: "You can expect to find an amazing oasis in the desert here. The mine is huge,
around 20000 feet of volume. and 5000 feet of tunnels and passages. And a lot more inside the mine and in the area of the claims that is still unexplored. View the pics, ask some questions... dont miss out on this one. The potential
here is limitless!! Questions?? ASK!!"
"5000 feet of tunnels" should be more like 650 feet between entrances! The cave is completely explored.

The BLM is already on this problem. Last week they put government locks on the gates. Removing a government lock is clearly a trespassing violation.

I don't know how to respond to eBay about this. Their complaint process allows only listing of the auction number with no explanation of the problem. E-mail letters will probably never get read considering the volume they get daily. My advice is to let the BLM handle this.

Stay tuned.
Last edited by Caverdale on Aug 18, 2009 11:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Major Utah crystal cave listed on eBay. HELP!!

Postby batrotter » Aug 18, 2009 9:56 am

With Caverdale's last post it seems as though my initial suspicions were correct. I'm not asking for an apology from all of you that badmouthed my posts. I got enough satisfaction reading all the subsequent posts, thank you very much.
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Re: Major Utah crystal cave listed on eBay. HELP!!

Postby Caverdale » Aug 24, 2009 4:34 pm

The latest eBay auction for Crystal Ball Cave was ended abruptly without any bids about 3 days before its scheduled end. In this auction, Corey Shuman, the seller, had changed the name from "Cave" to "Mine". Yesterday, Shuman visited the cave with 4 friends in blue jump suits with "Mine Inspectors" tags stitched on them to give a tour of his "Mine". Unfortunately, for them at least, they couldn't get past the new locks that the BLM had placed on the gates the week previous. The cave's previous proprietor had a talk with Shuman, who had some very harsh words for Glenn Carpenter, the BLM's Field Office Manager, and for me personally. If you want to see some of this diatribe, visit: http://www.goldrushexpeditions.com/ He is threatening to sue the BLM and Carpenter, and thinks that Carpenter will lose his job over this for violating mining law. Shuman also thinks that the FCRPA of 1988 doesn't apply to Crystal Ball Cave in this case, although his exact reasoning is difficult to follow. He would probably like to sue me also, but can't find a valid reason.

The BLM is still working on this problem, but they have their "procedures" which take time. The cave seems safe for now.

If you are trying to access the above link to goldrush from a U.S. government site, you probably won't get through. You will be redirected to a site with some harsh and obscene language, a reflection of the true nature of the person we are dealing with.
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Re: Major Utah crystal cave listed on eBay. HELP!!

Postby thelivingwest » Aug 24, 2009 7:57 pm

Caver Dale:
The only reason eBay auctions end early is if the seller decides to remove the listing. Perhaps Corey has decided to run tours himself through the mine/cave? On Saturday, August 23, 2009, Corey visited the site with several members of
Mojave Underground, who had patches that indicated they were members of the Mojave Underground's Mine TEAM, not a "Mine Inspector" tag.

The BLM locks for the time being exclude everyone, including cavers, so I'm not sure why you're bragging
about new locks being put in place. Unless you have already been given a key, which goes to the issue of who is best able to manage and be the "proprietor" of any specific cave.

The Bates controlled access to the cave via their mining claims. After all this worry over caveselling on eBay, are we about to see Corey manage the cave via HIS mining claims? And what argument are you going to use to deny him this right when the Bates' used the very same technique to manage their claim to the cave?

The comment about not being able to link to GRE from a government computer is unintelligible--if you can't get through to GRE from a government site, how can you be redirected anywhere?

Characterizing Corey as a problem will have the BLM answering some very difficult questions about selective enforcement, favoritism, and circumvention of the existing laws on mines and caves. You are not helping the situation by implying connections and inside knowledge of BLM strategy and plans of attack.

Is it true that the Bates' conducted a tour of 100 visitors to the cave weeks before Corey's locks went up? And that someone epoxied Corey's locks to render them useless?
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Re: Major Utah crystal cave listed on eBay. HELP!!

Postby caverdan » Aug 25, 2009 8:43 am

Dale.....I applaud your efforts and thank you for keeping us informed about this claim jumper. Changing the listing from cave to mine is just too funny. Sounds like these boys need some schooling in geology......anyone know a geologist around here?? :shrug: :rofl: :rofl: Of coarse....it also takes a willingness to learn. :yikes: :doh: :argue: :boxing: :down:
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Re: Major Utah crystal cave listed on eBay. HELP!!

Postby wyandottecaver » Aug 25, 2009 4:14 pm

sounds like the cave won't be open to anyone anytime soon. Legal action seems inevitable and suing the government is never quick. It is almost certain that no one would lose their job over this type of incident and at worst might be relocated but that is doubful as well in my experiance.

just from what is out on the net, it seems a legal ruling will be necessary to determine 1) If the Cave protection law would apply to a new claim as opposed to standing claims at the time the law was passed 2) the claim holder could intentionally intersect a known cave with his own mining activities (i.e a new entrance) 3) if the crystals and calcite veins would constitute a "valuable" mineral resource
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Re: Major Utah crystal cave listed on eBay. HELP!!

Postby Caverdale » Aug 27, 2009 3:21 pm

wyandottecaver wrote:sounds like the cave won't be open to anyone anytime soon. Legal action seems inevitable and suing the government is never quick. It is almost certain that no one would lose their job over this type of incident and at worst might be relocated but that is doubful as well in my experiance.


According to a post on another forum, there is now a sign on the cave's door that says public tours to see the cave can be arranged by calling the local BLM Field Office. I have no verification of this, but from what has been related to me about how the BLM plans to eventually manage the cave, it sounds very reasonable. I do have a question about who will be the tour guide since no one in that office that I am aware of seems to have any knowledge of caves. Perhaps the prior operators will be given the job. The site also mentions that a lawsuit is pending. That, I believe. In my opinion, no BLM employee will lose their job, because their geologists will eventually show that the claims are invalid and the claim filer will have no case. There is no mineralization on the mountain that a reasonable person would consider worth mining.

wyandottecaver wrote:just from what is out on the net, it seems a legal ruling will be necessary to determine 1) If the Cave protection law would apply to a new claim as opposed to standing claims at the time the law was passed 2) the claim holder could intentionally intersect a known cave with his own mining activities (i.e a new entrance) 3) if the crystals and calcite veins would constitute a "valuable" mineral resource


Wyandotte, you ask a lot of important questions. My answers: 1) The standing claims when the law was passed were invalid, as recognized by the BLM and related orally, for decades, to the claim owners and myself by the Field Office Manager. He let the situation stand because he decided that it was the easy way for them to 'manage' and protect the cave. This was an "old time" manager, where much official business was done with a handshake. They have all retired. "New time" managers and other personnel are now in charge. The FCRPA does apply to the new claims, although the new claim owner says they don't because the act says mining laws take precedence over the act. However, if the mining claims are invalid, then what? In the latest eBay auction, it is claimed that the cave is actually a mine because of the "mining" that has been done inside, presumably referring to floor modifications to reduce the amount of crawling. This makes one wonder if the claimant has ever been to a commercialized cave where excavation of flowstone floors and speleothems for pathways is common if not universal. Declaring the cave is actually a mine is a form of subterfuge, "deception by artifice or stratagem in order to conceal, escape, or erode" (Webster's dictionary). Subterfuge usually doesn't work well in a court of law. Even if the claim was valid for valuable minerals, that only gives the right to those minerals. A non-patented mining claim cannot be filed to own a cave, not does it give the claimant surface rights.

2). I don't know. This sounds like a court would have to decide the intent of the claimant to deliberately intersect the cave.

3). No, as far as I've told, and I've asked that very question. Calcite crystals probably can be claimed under some provision of the mining law, but not for a lode claim, according to my sources.
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