Beneath the Forest

Beneath the Forest

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Beneath the Forest
Series Title:
Beneath the Forest
Kovarik, Johanna L.
U.S. Department of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture (Forest Service)
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Subjects / Keywords:
Resource Management ( local )
Cave Ecology ( local )
serial ( sobekcm )
United States


General Note:
Contents: Editor's notes -- Silver Glen Springs mapping project / Jeff Fillion and Rhonda Kimbrough -- Omega Cave: The longest mapped cave on NFS lands / Benjamin Schwartz, PhD -- Western Bat Working Group: White-nose Syndrome cave sign project final report / Ella Rowan -- Orientation to cave rescue training, Lincoln National Forest / Jason Walz -- Passport in time project in Northumberland Cave on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest / Deanna Stever -- 40th anniversary of Blanchard Springs Caverns celebration. "Beneath the Forest" is the Forest Service newsletter about cave and karst resources that is published biannually. Articles are submitted from Forest Service cave and karst resource managers, other field personnel, and volunteers as well as stakeholders from National Speleological Society Grottos, the Cave Research Foundation, and university research groups." -- USDA Forest Service (
Open Access - Permission by Publisher
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Vol. 6, no. 1 (2013)
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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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K26-00489 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.489 ( USFLDC Handle )
11853 ( karstportal - original NodeID )

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Beneath the Forest 1 Beneath the Forest" is a biannual newsletter published by th e Forest Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Edited by Johanna L. Kovarik, Minerals and Ge ology Management Centralized National Operations Volume 6, Issue 1 Spring 2013 Inside this Issueand more Page Mapping Project at Silver Glen Springs, National Forests in Florida 3 Omega Cave: The Longest Mapped Cave on National Forest System Lands 8 40th Anniversary Celebration at Blanchard Springs Caverns 18 Western Bat Working Group: White-nose Syndrome Cave Sign Project Final Report 12 Passport in Time Project, Northumberland Cave, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest 16


Beneath the Forest 2 CAVE AND KARST CALENDAR OF EVENTS ------------------------------------------------------------------------------Blanchard Springs Caverns 40th Anniversary Events *see page 19 of this newsletter for a detailed listing! May, June, and July 2013 National Cave Rescue Operations and Management Seminar July 6 2013 Schoharie, New York International Congres s of Speleology July 21-28, 2013 Brno, Czech Republic National Speleological Society Convention Shippensburg, Pennsylvania August 6 9, 2013 Geological Society of America 125th Anniversary Convention Denver, Colorado October 27 30, 2013 National Cave and Karst Management Symposium Carlsbad, New Mexico November 4 8, 2013 Editors Notes: Welcome to the 10th issue of Beneath the Forest! The original issue was published internally in May of 2013. Our next issue will be the spring issue in November of 2013. Articles for the Fall 2013 issue are due a on October 1, 2013, in order for the issue to be out in November 2013. Please encourage resource managers, cavers, karst scientists, and other speleological enthusiasts who do work on your forest to submit articles for the next exciting issue. -Johanna Cover art: Philip Schuchardt inspects an area of especially colorful flowstone at the base of Butterscotch Dome. This dome is found in the upstream portion of the cave, in an upper level, and is currently inactive. Much of the active flowstone in Omega Cave is pure or nearly white calcite. Image: Benjamin Schwartz Contributors and entities represented in this issue: Jeffrey Fillion National Forests in Florida Rhonda Kimbrough National Forests in Florida Ella Rowan Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Benjamin Schwartz, PhD Texas State University, San Marcos Deanna Stever Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forests Jason Walz Lincoln National Forest


Beneath the Forest 3 Silver Glen Springs Mapping Project Originally published as, Pu lling It All Together, Professional Surveyor Magazine, January 2013. Jeff Fillion Land Surveyor and Boundary Manager National Forests in Florida Rhonda Kimbrough Archeologist National Forests in Florida In the past three years since Ive worked for the National Forests in Florida, many mapping exercises have involved duplication of effort because results were not often shared or combined with other disciplines. This flagship project in Silv er Glen Springs is different. In 1959, the U.S. Forest Servi ce initiated the Land Line Location Program to meet the land survey and property boundary line needs of the National Forest System. Since its creation in 1905, the Forest Service has provided guidance and direction regarding the management of the Nations forests, including the responsibility to protect th e National Forests. The Forest Service is the second largest federal land management agency and is responsible for the protection and management of 193 million acres of forest and grasslands, compar ed to the Bureau of Land Management at 256 million acres. The mission of the Forest Service Land Surveying and Boundary Management Program is to provide visible and legally defensible property lines th rough accurate and reliable land surveys supporting public ownership of the federally managed estate. (Silver Glen Springs continues on page 4) The site plan for Silver Glen Springs (pictured, above) needed to reconcile public recreational land use with Forest Service efforts to limit environmenta l impacts. Image: Susan Blake, USFS


Beneath the Forest 4 These surveys are made in compliance with federal and state land surveying statues, guidelines, and professional land surveying standards. The program includes the full spectrum of surveying activities and geospatial disciplines, such as GIS, control/geodetic surveys, GPS surveys, corner recovery, retracement surveys, topographic surv eys, boundary surveys, and land description preparation/review. Silver Glen Springs Located within the boundari es of the Ocala National Forest, Silver Glen Springs is one of the most significant recreational site s managed by the National Forests in Florida, drawi ng 35,000 visitors per year. Acquired in 1990, it became the responsibility of the Forest Service to protect its natural and cultural resources. The National Environmental Policy Act requires a comprehensive a pproach to developing management plans for significant sites such as Silver Glen. The first step in developing a plan of action to protect the area was to create a baseline map. The focus of the mapping project was to locate buildings, septic tanks, parking lots, and any safety hazards. The removal of safety hazards had to avoid damaging any sensitive natural or cultural resources, and mapping was a vital tool in achievi ng that goal. Only a small amount of mapping was completed by Forest Service employees because decisions about future development had not been made. In the early 1990s, a partnership between the Forest Service and Florida State Un iversity gathered initial information about cultural resources, while, as a separate project, a nonprof it organization mapped the underwater spring cave syst em. A few years later, Forest Service biologists a nd hydrologists worked with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to study the effects of historic dredging in a channel and the effects of modern boat access. (Silver Glen Springs continued from page 3) By the end of the 1990s, there was some topography, cultural data, cave mappi ng, and bathymetry completed, but thats about where it stopped. Modern Dilemmas Fast forward to the late 2000s. The public demand to use the site for recreationa l swimming and boating had significantly increased, and Fo rest Service efforts to limit recreational impacts such as erosion, compaction, and water pollution came to a head. It was time to reevaluate the situation a nd develop a plan that provided reasonable recreatio nal opportunities without compromising the qualities that make Silver Glen Springs a special place. The Forest Service explored alternatives that included de signs to provide access to boaters from the land to the water and limit erosion damage in the swim area. We also needed improved parking and restroom facilities to accommodate visitors. Ideally, management plans would lessen the impact to cultural resources at the site while accommodating recreation. We also needed to be aware of subterranean voids su ch as caves in relation to features on the surface such as parking lots and buildings, said Steve Schnetzler, Forest Service engineer. To carry out this plan, a thorough topographic survey was needed. Forest Service engineers determined the scope of the survey that was eventually contracted for the site. At the same time, the University of Florida was conducting an archeological study on private land across from Silver Glen Springs run. Forest Service archeologist Rhonda Kimbrough was familiar with this study and learned that I was working with our engineering depa rtment to contract a topographic survey. Being familiar with past mapping projects from the 1990s, Kimbrough was curious as to whether all of the old data and new data could be tied together to create a comprehensive map for management planning. (Silver Glen Springs continues on page 5)


Beneath the Forest 5 From that point, I took on the task of researching and acquiring orthophotography, lidar data, bathymetry data, and cave maps. Once the data was acquired, it was processed and compiled into a GIS map. If we know a certain point might ha ve intact concentrations of material from a late archaic site, which is the case near the existing parking area, it can be overlaid with a proposed parking area both vertically as well as horizontally. This three-di mensional view includes buried as well as surficia l data, said Kimbrough. Compiling the Data Orthophotography: The first step in compiling the Silver Glen Springs exhibit map was acquiring the orthophotography from the Land Boundary Information System website. (Silver Glen Springs continued from page 4) Retrieving orthophotography is as simple as performing a map search and doing a Geographic Zoom of Section Township and Range. In this case, Section 25, Township 14 South, Range 26 East and Section 30, Township 14 South, Range 27 East Tallahassee Meridian. Imagery in State Pl ane East Zone was chosen with the majority of the site being acquired in 2011. Bathymetry: The next step was collecting the bathymetry data shapefil e from the Florida Department of Environmen tal Protections Carrying Capacity Study of Silver Glen Spring and Run, also in State Plane East. Some of the key tasks in the study included conducting a baseline vegetation and re creation impact survey, developing carrying capacity and management recommendations that in cluded a mooring buoy plan, and conducting recreation surveys. (Silver Glen Springs continues on page 6) The LiDAR image for Silver Glen Spri ngs. Image: Jeff Fillion, USFS


Beneath the Forest 6 Cave system map: The third step in the mapping data set was the cave system map produced by Karst Environmental Services, Inc., and Eric Hutcheson. Hutcheson and his dive crew are the only individu als allowed to dive the spring. He and his crew have mapped roughly 2,000 linear feet of unde rground river, with veins more than a dozen feet high and 25 feet wide and a cavern 110 feet tall. Hutchesons cave map was inserted into CAD as a tiff image and digitized. (Silver Glen Springs continued from page 5) Once digitized, it was scaled, rotated, and georeferenced to a best fit by picking points on orthophotography that was also imported into CAD. Once georeferenced, the cave system was exported as a shapefile. Having an understanding of both CAD and GIS greatly enhanced the process. In so me cases, things were easier to accomplish in one software versus another. For example, I find it much easier to digitize in CAD. Typically, data acquired by the National Forests in Florida is in an assumed coordinate system both vertically and horizontally and funded by independently operated program areas. The problem with this approach, however, is that the data is often not comprehensive, cohesive, or mutually integrated among various program areas such as engineering, recreation, and archaeology. Silver Glen was no different; some of the data existed, but not in one easily accessible location. For this project, the surv eying contractors were instructed to perform the topographic survey using the same systems as the existing data, vertically by the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD 88) and horizontally by the Florid a State Plane Coordinate System, East Zone. Layers: Once the surveyors completed the survey in a hardcopy and CAD format, the fourth step was to export the CAD file as a Shapefile and overlay it with the existing data. Once University of Florida processed the archaeological survey results and delivered the shapefiles to the Forest Service that data was then imported into the Silver Glen GIS map as additional layers. Lidar: The last step was ac quiring the lidar data from the University of Florida and processing it with Fusion Software. (Silver Glen Springs continues on page 11) A Manatee roams around Silver Glen Springs. Image: Susan Blake, USFS


Beneath the Forest 7 This cave map, produced from Hutchesons original exploration project, shows the significance of the discovery of very large voids under the surface and their rel ation to future development.


Beneath the Forest 8 Omega Cave: The longest mapped cave on NFS lands Benjamin Schwartz, PhD Texas State University, San Marcos Prior to 1996, approximately 100 meters of passage was known to exist at the bottom of a 35-meter entrance shaft that drops vertically down into what was formerly known as Blowing Cave. The shaft, or pit, entrance is situated on a ridge near the base of Powell Mountain in Wise County, Virginia, USA. Survey and exploration of new passages began in 1996 with the discovery of a narrow descending stream canyon that led off the bottom of this shaft and eventually intersected a large base-level stream passage. Upstream exploration of this streamway proceeded at a rapid pace in the first few years after its discovery, during which time a previously undocumented cave was also discovered higher on Powell Mountain. This new cave was named Lori Cori Canyon Cave (LCCC) and is situated w ithin the Jefferson National Forest (Clinch Ranger District). LCCC was subsequently connected to the main streamway in Blowing Cave via a sec ond narrow and steeply descending canyon passage. (Omega continued on page 9) (Image, left) The current campsite in the upstream portion of the cave is situated in Majo r, MAJOR! Boreh ole! Here, an ancient receding dome complex has created a cathedral-like passage 25-30 meters high, 10 meters wide, and 200 meters long. A dry sandy floor and easy access to a nearby water source make this campsite very pleasant. Image: Benjamin Schwartz


Beneath the Forest 9 Vertically, the cave system spans nearly the entire thickness of the Mississippian age Greenbrier Limestone (approximately 130 meters), though much of the explored passage is w ithin the lower half of the carbonate unit. The depth of the system is obtained as passages follow dominant join t sets that trend slightly off angle from the strike. This allowed the strike oriented main stream passage to down-cut in a slightly down-dip direction. Entrances lead to steeply descending stream passages composed of active shaft series interrupted by short segments of relatively horizontal canyon developmen t perched on slightly resistant beds. Many of the passages in the lower portions of the limestone are characterized by dry, clean bedrock walls that are profusely decorate d with gypsum formations resulting from oxidation of pyrite grains and masses in the limestone. Gypsum is generally absent in the higher levels of the cave. (Omega continued on page 10) The joined caves form what is now known as the Omega Cave System (Omega) and exploration has continued at a steady pace since their connection in 1998. As of 2013, Omega contains 47.1 kilometers of surveyed passages. This makes it the longest cave in Virginia, and likely the longest cave, at this time, with an entrance on U.S. Forest Service property (One entrance and approximately 50 percent of the known passage lies beneath U.S. Fo rest Service property). Exploration and mapping continues, with potential for well over 50 kilometers of passage to be discovered. Omega is the deepest cave in the eastern United States with 385 meters of vertical extent, and potential for up to 110 meters of additional depth exists, though it is unlikely that this maximum will be reached. Omega is also the 16th longest and 10th deepest cave in the USA. The cave is accessed via the two entrances previously described. The lower entrance (formerly Blowing Cave) is now part of the privately owned Powell Mountain Karst Preserve; owned by the non-profit Cave Conservancy of the Vi rginias (CCV). Access to the upper entrance (LCCC) is jointly managed by the CCV and the U.S. Forest Service. Omega is a very linear system, oriented almost exactly along a NE-SW trend, and generally follows the strike of the regional geologic st ructure (Image, pg. 9). The longest continuously traversable stream passage in the state (9.5 kilometers and still being extended upstream) runs from one end of Omega to the other, and drops more than 290 meters over its course. Four tributary streams constitute the only known hydrologically active side passages of any significance. Much of the passage length in the system is found in complex stacked paleo-levels formed by sequential down-cutting and abandonment of both tributar ies and the main stream passage. (Omega continued from page 8) Lineplot of passages in the Omega Cave System, as well as nearby associated caves. Dashed lines define dye-traces that have been completed to delineate drainage basins for associated springs. Map: Mike Futrell


Beneath the Forest 10 In contrast with the elus ive connections between nearby passages, there are se veral large shafts in the system which intersect and connect multiple levels of passage development. One of these is the second deepest shaft in Virginia, at 87 meters deep. Several other pits in the cave are between 40 and 75 meters in depth and potentially deeper/t aller shafts exist in places where the top of a shaft ha s not yet been reached. A significant amount of the e xploration in the central and upstream portions of the cave has been accomplished during week-long underground camps. In fact, more than 20 kilometers of passage have been surveyed on these trips. Because these portions of the cave are 7 to 10 hours of one-way travel from the nearest entrance, camp trips have been the most productiv e way to explore and map these passages. These underground camps have been very efficient and have never had more than eight participants, with most having only four or five cavers taking part in the camp. From resource management and scientific research perspectives, the joint mana gement between the U.S. Forest Service and CCV has been an effective and productive way in which to manage a large and complex cave system in a U.S. Forest Service district that has few resources available for such activities. A variety of scientific res earch projects have been performed in the Omega System, with some studies continuing and new studies being initiated. There are various examples of research. A comprehensive biological inventory of the cave-adapted invertebrate fauna, paleomagnetic and other studies that aim to determine how old the cave is and how various passages have formed has occurred. (Omega continued on page 11) Throughout the cave, the dominant passage morphology is vadose canyon of various sizes with some sections of moderate sized trunk passage developed either as a result of localized paleo-phreatic conditions or receding do mes and/or waterfall complexes. An especially unusual aspect of the cave is development of extremely large and complex 3-D meander mazes associated with areas where the local strike orientation is nearly the same as the dominant joint set. These are perfect places to observe the 3-D morphology of a meandering stream systems down-cutting motion through tim e. These areas are also notorious for confusing cav ers, even those who are very familiar with the system. Most passages are develope d along two prominent joint trends. Frequently, these passages cross over and under each other, lacking a connection by only a few meters. This phenomenon results in long travel times to reach many portions of the cave as there are no direct routes and long zigzag paths must be traversed instead. (Omega continued from page 9) Philip Schuchardt admires abundant gypsum flowers that are typical of many of the dry abandoned upper level passages. These flowers generally form at spots where a small pyrite nodule has oxidized in the wall. Image: Benjamin Schwartz


Beneath the Forest 11 The orthophotography was imported for orientation, and the lidar .las files we re imported to evaluate contours and bare-earth mode l to look for patterns of undulation. (Fusion is a powerful lidar viewing and analysis suite developed by the Siviculture and Forest Models Team of the Pacific Northwest Research Station. The software is read ily installed and will run on corporate workstations without the need to obtain administrator privileges, and it s provided free from the Forest Service Remote Sensing Applications Center website. The site also prov ides free tuto rials.) Through this project we were able to merge various mapping efforts into a comprehensive, multi-faceted GIS product, which resulted in improved coordination for a multi-disciplinary approach to planning. Basically, the right hand and left hand were now moving in sync. Silver Glen Springs is a flagship project that exemplifies the benefits of using the full spectrum of surveying and geospatial disciplines, says Carl Petrick, ecosystems staff officer. My coworkers and I worked as a team to create a map that will continue to function as a template for other sites and as a framework for our organization. (Silver Glen continued from page 6) Additionally, researchers in itiated a hydrologic, geochemical, and atmospheric/environmental instrumentation network that aims to understand how water, air, and dissolved a nd particulate mineral loads are moved through the cave passages over multi-year timescales. The CCV and all cavers involved with the Omega Project look forward to c ontinuing the productive relationship with the Clinch Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service, as the expl oration and scientific study of the Omega Cave System continues into the foreseeable future. (Omega continued from page 10) Philip Schuchardt stands in a me andering canyon portion of the main stream passage in the upstream portion of the cave. The walls here show the purple color of the bedrock where this passage has formed in one of the several clay-rich redbeds that are found in the upper portion of the limestone Image: Benjamin Schwartz Forest Service Statement of Nondiscrimination : The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individuals income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDAs TARGET Center at (202) 7202600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W.. Washington, D.C. 202509410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


Beneath the Forest 12 Western Bat Working Group: White-nose Syndrome Cave Sign Project Final Report Ella Rowan Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Western Bat Working Group Washington Bat Working Group Background White-nose Syndrome (WNS) is a disease that affects numerous species of bats in North America. The disease is relatively new to science, having been first discovered and causing mortalit y in bats in New York in 2007. The disease or causative fungus have spread to 19 states in the United Stat es and 4 provinces in Canada as of October 2012. Extensive research is taking place to elucidate th e details surrounding this disease and its impacts; however, we now know a number of important fact s about the disease and causative fungus: 1. WNS is caused by a newly described fungus, Geomyces destructans which is a psychrophilic (coldloving) fungus that can be found in soils and cave sediments. Limited evidence suggests the fungus was brought to North America from Europe in the past decade. This is based on the knowledge that this fungus exists in European countries where it does not appear to cause extensive mortali ties in their bat populations, and the fungus was first found in a heavily visited tourist cave in New York. The extensive mortalities witnessed in North American bat species are indicative of a non-native pathogen cau sing infection in a nave population. 2. The fungus invades and destroys bat skin tissue (primarily the wing and tail membranes and muzzle) while they are hibernating in cold environments such as caves and mines. Damage caused by the fungus may interfere with important physiological mechanisms performed by wing tissue, including carbon dioxide transfer, blood pressure regulation, thermoregulation and the ability to remain hydrated. Wing damage may also be extensive enough to interfere with their ability to fly adequately to fora ge and evade predators. 3. Bats with WNS exhibit a variety of symptoms and behavioral changes along spectrums. Variation exists between species, locations and potentially sex and age groups. Typical symptoms and secondary effects include: damage to skin tissue leading to impaired physiological mechanisms, reduced ability to fly for foraging and predation evasi on; increased arousal bouts during hibernation leading to starvation, perhaps reduced reproductive fitness, overall reduced fitness; changes in roosting ecology, such as becoming more solitary or seeking different microclimates; increased incidence of bats being f ound dead outside of their hibernacula, with limited anecdotal descriptions of their being found on the ground attempting to eat snow. 4. Bat colonies with WNS are experiencing high and prolonged mortality rates that may lead to unsustainable populations. Mortality rates vary by species, and perhaps by sex and age groups. The lowest mortality rate for certain species colonies is estimated at approximately 12 percent, while a couple of species are as high as 100 percent mortality in colonies. 5. The fungus and disease has spread rapidly across the eastern US and Canada and doe s not appear to have any geographic obstacles, such as climate, elevation or habitat thresholds. (Bats continued on page 14)


Beneath the Forest 13 Orientation to Cave Rescue Training, Lincoln National Forest Jason Walz Lincoln National Forest In February of 2013, the Orientation to Cave Rescue training class on the Lincoln National Forest was a great success. The class consisted of 23 participants and 7 instructors. Eight people from the Lincoln attended along with folks from the National Park Service, members of local Rescue Squads and cavers from the National Speleological Society. The first day of class consisted of PowerPoints and hands-on training; the second day started with the group learning about a Lost Caver and the whole class participating in a Mock Rescue. We rescued 2 mock-patients using everyones past experience coupled with the training we received in the class! Top image: Tom Bemis instructs students at the Orientation to Cave Rescue Training. Image right, top: Students practice an SRT maneuver. Image right, bottom: Students practice a pick off. Images: Jason Walz


Beneath the Forest 14 While the fungus invades bats during hibernation in cold microclimates (caves and mines), it is still unknown whether the fungus can persist and be transferrable if brought into warmer locations. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), numerous state and federal agencies, non-government organizations, and local citizens in Washington have expressed concern about this disease of bats, and an interest in taking measures at preventing its introduction into our bat populations. As a result, numerous individuals and agencies agreed to undertake an educational project entailing posting signs at caves to inform the public about the problem. Fortuitously, the Western Bat Working Group had developed an educational sign that could be posted at cave sites as a means to educate cave visitors about bats, the disease, and ways to decontaminate their gear and help prevent the spread of the fungus to new locations. (Bats continued from page 12) Prevention is the greatest tool wildlife managers have to protect wildlife from diseases, since it is virtually impossible to eradicate pathogens and diseases once present, as well as to treat wildlife once they have the disease. The Western Bat Working Group applied for an Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account (ALEA) grant in 2010 to assist with the costs of creating and mounting the educational signs, however funding was denied. As a result, members of the Washington Bat Working Group and Cascade Grotto contrived a means to complete the project through utilizing volunteer labor, donations and agency assistance. For additional information about White-nose Syndrome and the research that has taken place thus far, please visit the following website: Materials and Methods Signs were constructed fro m vinyl with a di-bond backing and UV laminate cover. They were approximately 11 inch by 14 inch in size, and were made to be inconspicuous to people passing by. Our intent was to inform people that were entering the cave about White-nose Syndrome and decontamination procedures without bringing at tention to the fact that a cave was present to people just walking in the area. We had 25 signs made, and the colors used were kept in brown and black tones to re duce visibility from a distance. Signs were mounted at vari ous locations on site. We attempted to mount them at kiosks, trail heads on 4 inch by 4 inch posts or at campgrounds locally; however, certain caves required si gns to be mounted directly on the cave walls just inside the entrance. These sites were generally at remote caves with no obvious trailhead, or at sites where we did not want to draw attention to the cave. Signs were mounted on cave walls as a last resort, due to all parties desire to retain the cave in as natural a state as possible and to refrain from drawing attention to the site. (Bats continued on page 15) Cave sign posted at sites in Washington. USFS


Beneath the Forest 15 A hammer drill was used to create two 3/8-inch diameter holes in the cave wall, approximately 2 inches deep. Two natural cedar dowel plugs were hammered into the holes with a mallet, and two galvanized steel deck screws were used to m ount the sign into the cedar dowels. The cedar dowels allow for expansion with climate changes and will allow for easy removal of the signs in the future. Signs we re generally placed just beyond the caves drip line; however, a couple of occasions required different locations (on a large boulder on the ground or across from a cave entrance). The list of caves to receive a sign was developed through discussions with members of the Cascade and Oregon Grottos of the National Speleological Society (NSS) and representatives and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) staff. They were aske d to create a list of the most popular caves in Wash ington, as well as to suggest a site that would be best to place the sign (kiosk versus trail head). Photos were taken after installation for documentati on purposes, and a trip report was sent to WDFW by the project Field Lead. Final Results Cave signs were installed at 22 locations in Washington as a means to educate the public and cavers about White-nose syndrome and decontamination procedures. Nineteen signs were located within the Gifford-Pinchot National Fo rest, which is a very popular region for caving. One sign was placed at a tourist cave in northeast Washington and two signs were placed in a popular cav ing region of northwest Washington. One sign was stolen within a year of installation, one sign is missing from the supply and one sign is being held in reserve. Twelve signs were mounted within caves, seven were mounted on kiosks and three were mounted on posts. (Bats continued from page 14) In a related project, the USFS designed and installed a different larger sign for their tourist cave in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Signs were mounted in a ma nner that will allow for easy removal at any point in the future, if it is deemed necessary. WDFW is greatly appreciative of all the donations and hard work the many entities have contributed to this project. It is all of our hopes that this disease does not find its wa y into our Washington bat populations; however, it is th rough education initiatives such as this that we can make our best effort at reducing the likelihood humans will be a contributing factor in the spread of the fungus that causes the disease. Funding This project received dona tions in the form of equipment, labor and travel costs from many different entities. Members of the Cascade Grotto and WDFW assisted with editing the WBWG sign. Members of the Washington Bat Working Group and Bats Northwest donated funds to help cover the costs of equipment purchases, travel and creating the signs; Signs Now of Spokane Valley provided a large discount on the signs they manufactured; WDFW purchased and lent equipment for mounting the signs and assisted with some travel costs; Ron Zuber made and donated the natural cedar dowels; Jim Nieland recommended the sign materials and posting technique; Ron Zuber, Edd Keudell, Mitch Wainwright and Garry Petrie lent their expertise in suggesting caves and sites to post the signs; the USFS donated 4 inch by 4 inch posts and staff time to help install signs, th e Boy Scouts of America installed one post during Public Lands Day; and many more people volunteered their time, labor and travel costs to help install the signs. (Bats continued on page 17)


Beneath the Forest 16 Passport in Time Project in Northumberland Cave on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest Deanna Stever Geologist Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest The Heritage and Minerals and Geology programs of the Humboldt-Toiyabe Nationa l Forest joined forces with volunteers to clean trash and graffiti and discover cave resources in a central Nevada cave. Northumberland Cave was discovered during the late 19th century most likely by prospectors. The cave contains signatures left by visitors with dates that coincide with booms and busts of the former mining town of Northumberland. More recent visitors have left etchings, spray paint, candles and glass to mark their visit. (Northumberland con tinued on page 17) Flowstone in Northumberland Cave following restoration work (original image with signatures, left). Image: Gretchen Baker Flowstone in Northumberland Cave with scratched signatures prior to restoration work Image: Gretchen Baker


Beneath the Forest 17 The Just Beneath the Forest volunteer project began with Passport in Time volunteers who were new to caving. Passport in Time (PIT) is a volunteer archaeology and historic preservation pr ogram of the US Forest Service (FS). PIT volunteers wo rk with professional FS archaeologists and historians on national forests throughout the U.S. on such diverse activities as archaeological survey and excavation, rock art restoration, archival research, historic structure restoration, oral history ga thering, and analysis and curation of artifacts. These volunteers learned about cultural resources found in caves, the historic sign atures in Northumberland Cave, relocated rock art, learned to throw an atlatl and cleaned trash from the cave parking area and trail. The project continued with vol unteers from local caving clubs the Southern Nevada Grotto and Northern Nevada Grotto who explored the cave, removed trash and removed and disguised non-historic graffiti. Volunteers also were able to visit Toquima Cave and view the beautiful pictographs in this rock shelter. (Northumberland conti nued from page 16) Forest Service volunteers at the entrance of Northumberland Cave. Image: D. Stever No one person was more valuable than Ron Zuber, however. He single-handedly solicited caver input on the list of caves that would be of greatest priority to receive signs, orchestrated the mounting expeditions by contacting cavers with an interest in helping, dragged gear and signs around the state, installed the signs, took photos for documentation purposes, wrote trip reports, provid ed education on caves and bats to anyone that would listen, and shared his jovial and exZUBERant nature with those lucky enough to be present. Personnel and Donors Involved It has been a great pleasure working with all of the people, NGOs and agencies that helped on this project! It would have been difficult for any one of us to do this alone, and I encourage many more cross-agency/NGO projects to take place. Many thanks to all involved, and I hope to work with all of you again. Ron Zuber: Project Field Lead, Cascade Grotto, NSS, The Explorers Club PNW Chapter Edd Keudell: Cascade Grotto, NSS Mitch Wainwright: USFS Mt. St. Helens District Bats Northwest Garry Petrie: Oregon Grotto Jim Nieland: Nieland Consulting Joan St Hilaire: USFS Naches District Steve Christensen and Crawford State Park staff: Washington State Parks Numerous staff with the USFS John Bassett: Bats No rthwest, Washington Bat Working Group (WA BWG) Laurie Ness: WA BWG Michael MacDonald: WA BWG Jennifer Foote: Western Bat Work ing Group (WBWG), NSS, New Mexico Bat Working Group Signs Now of Spokane Valley Frances Sauter Dr. Frank Sauter Emily Zuber Savanna Bigge Megan Files Cascade Grotto folks that offered cave suggestions Boy Scouts of America Chris Anderson: WDFW, WA BWG, Cascade Grotto Michael OMalley: WDFW Harriet Allen: WDFW (Bats continued from page 15)


Beneath the Forest 18 40th Anniversary of Blanchard Springs Caverns Celebration Blanchard Springs Caverns, located on the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest, will celebrate its 40th Anniversary this year. An Anniversary celebration is scheduled for the 15th of June, 2013 in Fifty-Six, Arkansas. A special part of the celebration will be recognition of the employees who have worked at the Caverns during its 40-year span. These employees and families of the deceased employees who can attend the celebration on June 15th are asked to call the Visitor Information Center at Blanchard Springs at (870) 757 2211. Special name badges will be provided to employees who worked during the initial 1973 season. In addition to the celebration on the 15th of June, Blanchard Springs Caverns will host the days of Blanchard, beginning the 29t h of May through the 7th of July, 2013. These 40 days will focus on topics including, Stone County Day; Natural Resources Week; photo and poster contests; walking and running events; and many more. The 40th Anniversary of Blanchard Springs Caverns is a great opportunity to recognize our past achievements and to recogni ze the contributions the caverns have made, not only to the local community, but to Arkansas in general. It is not just a commemoration, but recognition of 40 years of conservation leadership and sustained operation of Blanchard Springs Caverns, said Sylamore District Ranger Jim McCoy. (Wolf continued on page 19) Blanchard Springs Caverns on the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest. Image: USFS


Beneath the Forest 19 Blanchard Springs Caverns, located in Stone County, approximately 2 miles off of highway 14 near Mountain View, Arkansas, offers one of the most spectacular and carefully de veloped caves in the United States. Visitors enter a liv ing cave where glistening stalactites, stalagmites, colu mns, and flowstone are still changing. These crystalline fo rmations are the result of minerals deposited by dripping water. Blanchard Springs Caverns is a three level cave system, two of which are open for guided tours by Forest Service employees. The Dripstone trail is a half-mile trail which offers a shorter, easier way through the caverns. Stairs can be avoided making trails accessible for wheelchairs and strollers with an assistant. The Discovery Trail is the longer, more strenuous of the trails. It tours 1.2 miles with nearly 700 stairs and explores the middle level of the cavern system. The Discovery in the Dark headlamp tours are conducted in the last part of the Discovery Trail tour September through May. Visitors are supplied with headlamps and helmets, and tours are conducted by Forest Service employees with the cave lights off. The Wild Cave Tour offers an introduction to off-trail caving in a structured envir onment. The newest of the caverns tours takes tourists to the undeveloped sections of the middle level. Upcoming events for the 40th Anniversary celebration in June and July in clude (for more information, contact (870) 757-2211): June 24 Blanchard in Pictures Display of historic photos by professional and amateur photographers. Exhibit will also feature photos of the area prior to the development Blanchard as a show cave. (Wolf continued from page 18) June 25 Kids Coloring Contest Sharpen your crayons! Come on out and enter the Kids Coloring Contest. Materials will be provided at the Visitors Information Center and in local newspapers. Entries must be in by close of business on June 24. Judging will take place on June 25. June 26 Collared Lizard Day Come join us and learn about the collared lizards in the forest. We will have a program at the VIC from 10:0011:00 and take a field trip by bus to City Rock Bluff to explore. Registration is limited for this trip. June 27 Forest and Caverns Photography Contest Enter your favorite photo of the caverns or the forest by close of business on June 26 to be eligible for great prizes in the Photo Contest. June 28 Flashlight Tours June 29 /June 30/ July 1 Commemorative Token Giveaway July 2 40 Year old Day July 3 Historic Movies July 4 Patriotic Concert in the Cave July 5 Forest Service Employee Day July 6 Archery and Crossbowettes Day July 7 40th Anniversary of Opening Day Come join us in the exciting placement of the time capsule of our 40 Years in 40 Days of Blanchard. Refreshments will be served throughout the day in celebration of the 40 years of cave interpretation.

Contents: Editor's
notes --
Silver Glen Springs mapping project / Jeff Fillion and
Rhonda Kimbrough --
Omega Cave: The longest mapped cave on NFS lands /
Benjamin Schwartz, PhD --
Western Bat Working Group: White-nose Syndrome cave sign
project final report / Ella Rowan --
Orientation to cave rescue training, Lincoln National
Forest / Jason Walz --
Passport in time project in Northumberland Cave on the
Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest / Deanna Stever --
40th anniversary of Blanchard Springs Caverns
"Beneath the Forest" is the Forest Service newsletter
about cave and karst resources that is published biannually.
Articles are submitted from Forest Service cave and karst
resource managers, other field personnel, and volunteers as
well as stakeholders from National Speleological Society
Grottos, the Cave Research Foundation, and university research
groups." --
USDA Forest Service


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