Not welcome at this cave, anymore

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Not welcome at this cave, anymore

Postby Ernie Coffman » Mar 1, 2013 1:37 pm

Private landowner in Perryville, MO won't have the welcome gate open, anymore, at his cave that's been accepting kids, cavers, and conservationlists for decades. Read the article http://www.perryvillenews.com/archive/a ... mment-area and see if this makes sense. Something doesn't smell right, but there are so many problems out there with WNS, etc. that landowners can only go so far. :down:
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Re: Not welcome at this cave, anymore

Postby NZcaver » Mar 1, 2013 1:52 pm

That sucks. And it was brought to you by the nice people at USFWS, who also continue to preach about humans spreading WNS. Our tax dollars at work. :roll:
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Re: Not welcome at this cave, anymore

Postby graveleye » Mar 1, 2013 2:40 pm

totally outrageous.
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Re: Not welcome at this cave, anymore

Postby Chads93GT » Mar 1, 2013 2:44 pm

This isn't a wns Issue. This is a Grotto Sculpin issue. The beloved CBD and another enviro terror group sued the federal government to move forward with listing 400 species as endangered. The grotto sculpin, only found in perry county, MO (where I lived and still do a lot of caving (and the county to the north)), was on this list. The USFWS had a town hall meeting for the county and lots of people showed up and lots of land owners are now pissed about the situation and are afraid that the government will take/tell them what to do with their land if this fish is passed as endangered on sept 23rd of this year. I didn't see craig at this meeting, so I think he is misinformed. Farmers talk and spread misinformation easily like all farmers do in farm communities at the "liars table" at the local restaurants where they meet.

The USFWS did not want to move forward on this, they were sued and a federal judge is forcing them to make a decision. This is not the USFWS's fault for this.

INfo on the cave however, Mertz is the downstream continuation of the longest cave in the state. Crevice, at 30 miles, sumps out and emerges in the upstream portion of Mertz. Mertz is about 2.25 miles surveyed before it sumps out again, and emerges in the spring cave not far away, ending the waters underground journey from over a total of 32 miles of mapped cave of the crevice system. Mertz is a massive sinkhole collapse and is the largest cave entrance in the county at 70' wide. It drops you into a massive borehole and you can see daylight through this huge trunk for several hundred feet. Mertz is also an arc site which had artifacts found dating back 3-4000 years.

Craig is simply scared that he will lose his lands so he is closing the cave. A couple years ago we had a big sump dive trip to try and connect mertz to crevice and it was in the NSS news, so if you want to know more about the cave you can read about it in your back issues. We have had several caves closed on us, all private of course, due to the grotto sculpin issue.

Mertz however, is infected with GD, but hasnt tested positive for WNS yet, but that is not what this is about. ITs about the Grotto Sculpin.
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Re: Not welcome at this cave, anymore

Postby Chads93GT » Mar 1, 2013 2:48 pm

Image

Here is a panoramic I did of the entrance a few years ago.
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Not welcome at this cave, anymore

Postby Ernie Coffman » Mar 1, 2013 3:49 pm

Thanks for that update, Chads. Super looking entrance, and the whole story seems like a true bummer! I'll have to check my map, for my granddaughter lives in Columbia, and we did Icebox...or whatever its called a good number of years ago. Water there, too! I don't recall any sculpin issue back then.
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Re: Not welcome at this cave, anymore

Postby Chads93GT » Mar 1, 2013 4:05 pm

The sculpin issue came about last fall.

Devils ice box is in columbia. #8 long cave in the state ;)

Have you been to mertz? The main bore and everything but the active stream leading up to the sumps has been resurveyed and updated. The map looks awesome.
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Re: Not welcome at this cave, anymore

Postby tncaver » Mar 1, 2013 4:56 pm

Uncle Sam is our friend. NUTS!!!! All this enviro stuff is way out of control and I don't give a hoot who doesn't like what I have to say about it.
Frankly, many of the companies that used to be in America have left this country because of things like this. But farmers can't leave. The land
IS their business and their life.
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Re: Not welcome at this cave, anymore

Postby wyandottecaver » Mar 1, 2013 5:06 pm

from a news report I heard (we know how accurate they are) it seems that several folks blame the cavers for bringing the fish's existence to light (pun intended) and thus causing them their problem.
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Re: Not welcome at this cave, anymore

Postby Chads93GT » Mar 1, 2013 5:07 pm

Wyandotte, that is correct. They blame cavers. If cavers wouldnt have been around, it would be unknown,.............and still found eventually. Other landowners who are more informed dont think its a big deal but still think its BS.
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Re: Not welcome at this cave, anymore

Postby tncaver » Mar 1, 2013 5:59 pm

wyandottecaver wrote:from a news report I heard (we know how accurate they are) it seems that several folks blame the cavers for bringing the fish's existence to light (pun intended) and thus causing them their problem.


Unfortunately, some cavers are also biologists and environmental extremists who want to close every cave they can. There are caver/biologists who believe that any entry by man is bad. When they find any kind of creature that is rare they will attempt to have a cave closed one way or another. Even if it is a microscopic critter and even if it is harmful to the landowner and even if it involves governmental involvement and even if it is a cave that has been visited for decades with no problems. No wonder landowners are closing their caves. What a HUGE SHAME this is. Or perhaps I should say, what a HUGE SHAM this is.
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Re: Not welcome at this cave, anymore

Postby Teresa » Mar 2, 2013 1:22 am

Chad is doing a great job (seriously yes) in dealing with the Perry Co. situation. The difficulty here is: there simply isn't the data to make an informed decision on the fish. Are they being threatened? Are they being endangered? Or are they just one weird local permutation of a common species? There just isn't the data to know. I've since heard reports that in a couple of cave where they were quite scarce during last summer's drought, they are now being seen in reasonable numbers. What is the truth? We don't know. But USFWS is being pushed into a premature decision, not guided by science This is angering everyone involved.
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Re: Not welcome at this cave, anymore

Postby tncaver » Mar 2, 2013 7:36 am

The land owner is PO'd and rightfully so. But there are some glaring questions and the answers are mostly simple common sense. 1.If the cave
and land has been in the owner's family for decades, yet the sculpins are still in the cave unharmed, why does anyone think they are going to be harmed now? 2.Water flows down stream. If the sclupins are up stream in the cave, where are the sinkholes in relation to the sculpins? If the
sinkholes are downstream from the sculpins, then there is no way harmful chemicals will ever reach the sculpins. The answer requires a map
of the cave with a surface survey of the sinkholes in relation to the cave. 3.If cavers have been going into the cave for decades and no harm has occurred to the sculpins or bats, why is it necessary to fence off the sinkholes and block entry to the cave? Obviously no harm is being done 4. Why doesn't the USFWS have the guts to counter sue the enviro group? This kind of crap will never end if a line isn't drawn. There are thousands of caves and each one can become a opportunity for any enviro group to sue unless a stand is taken to stop this kind of crap. 5.A bill was supposed to be presented to Congress last year that would have put a stop to enviro groups suing Federal agencies for money. What ever happened to that bill? I wrote my legislators urging them to pass the bill if it came up for a vote. Never heard another word about it. Did YOU contact your legislators in favor of that bill? 6.Are there any caver/lawyers who are willing to provide pro bono legal assistance to this landowner? Are there any cavers who give a dang about landowner rights? Seems to me this man is being harassed by both an enviro group and a government agency. This man's livelihood is being threatened. 7.If all those sinks are fenced off and the cave permanently closed against the will of the land owner, what kind of message is this going to send to ALL other cave owners around the entire country? It is way past time for something to be done to stop enviro groups from suing the government and/or individuals over private property situations.

Here is a link to the congressional bill I mentioned above.
http://www.hatch.senate.gov/public/inde ... 571d292082

Here is a link that should anger every tax payer in America. The actions mentioned in this link can impact cavers, caving and landowners
exactly like the situation mentioned in this thread.
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/11 ... -lawsuits/

The following link explains what happened to the bill to limit enviro groups from suing government agencies. Basically the bill died before
it was hatched (yes that is a play on words).
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr1996
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Re: Not welcome at this cave, anymore

Postby Chads93GT » Mar 2, 2013 8:08 pm

tncaver wrote:The land owner is PO'd and rightfully so. But there are some glaring questions and the answers are mostly simple common sense. 1.If the cave
and land has been in the owner's family for decades, yet the sculpins are still in the cave unharmed, why does anyone think they are going to be harmed now? 2.Water flows down stream. If the sclupins are up stream in the cave, where are the sinkholes in relation to the sculpins? If the
sinkholes are downstream from the sculpins, then there is no way harmful chemicals will ever reach the sculpins. The answer requires a map
of the cave with a surface survey of the sinkholes in relation to the cave. 3.If cavers have been going into the cave for decades and no harm has occurred to the sculpins or bats, why is it necessary to fence off the sinkholes and block entry to the cave? Obviously no harm is being done 4. Why doesn't the USFWS have the guts to counter sue the enviro group? This kind of crap will never end if a line isn't drawn. There are thousands of caves and each one can become a opportunity for any enviro group to sue unless a stand is taken to stop this kind of crap. 5.A bill was supposed to be presented to Congress last year that would have put a stop to enviro groups suing Federal agencies for money. What ever happened to that bill? I wrote my legislators urging them to pass the bill if it came up for a vote. Never heard another word about it. Did YOU contact your legislators in favor of that bill? 6.Are there any caver/lawyers who are willing to provide pro bono legal assistance to this landowner? Are there any cavers who give a dang about landowner rights? Seems to me this man is being harassed by both an enviro group and a government agency. This man's livelihood is being threatened. 7.If all those sinks are fenced off and the cave permanently closed against the will of the land owner, what kind of message is this going to send to ALL other cave owners around the entire country? It is way past time for something to be done to stop enviro groups from suing the government and/or individuals over private property situations.


as I said earlier, this cave is the downstream portion to the longest cave in the state of Missouri. Damn near half the county's sinkholes drain into this cave and its all upstream from this cave. There have also been two documented fish kills in perry county, so yes they actually are threatened.

None of the sinks are actually being fenced off, the county officials and the MDC simply want farmers to comply with the laws that regulate how close you can farm up to a sinkhole that has had a stand pipe put in it, which is what they are talking about. There is supposed to be a 50 or 100' buffer zone around the pipes they install but the farmers are tilling right up to the pipes with no buffer zone for chemical runoff. Like I said this article is very misleading and the guy is misinformed. Take it with a grain of salt.
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Re: Not welcome at this cave, anymore

Postby tncaver » Mar 2, 2013 8:31 pm

Okay. Take it with a grain of salt. The article did not say what you are saying. I'll leave it at that. However, he did state that he has X number
of acres and that they wanted to fence the sinks on his land. He is only worried about his land not any sinkholes miles from his land. Again.
the question is, where are the sculpins in relation to HIS land and the sinkholes on HIS land. If the sculpins are beyond his land upstream
then there is no reason to fence his sinkholes. Obviously he has been plowing to the edge of the sinks for decades and nothing has happened
to the sculpins in the past. So why should it now? Is USFWS being overzealous? Something isn't jiving.
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