Beneath the Forest 1 Volume 3, Issue 1 Spring 2010
Beneath the Forest 2 White Nose Syndrome Update Cynthia Sandeno Ecologist, Monongahela National Forest White-nose Syndrome (WNS), a condition associated with the deaths of more than 1 million bats in the eastern U.S, is continuing to spread towards the west. A characteristic of WNS is the presence of a white fungus on the noses, and often the wing membranes and ears of some bats. Affected bats also show behavioral changes, such as foraging during the day in winter and roosting near cave entrances. A fungus, recently identified as Geomyces destructans, is considered the primary causal agent associated with the mass mortalities of bats. In addition to the presence of the fungus, fat reserves of afflicted bats are prematurely depleted by mid-winter, as opposed to persisting until spring. This depletion of fat reserves results in starvation and typically subsequent death. WNS afflicted bats that do survive the winter often present unusually hi gh levels of wing damage resulting from the fungal invasion. Mortality rates at affected hibernacula are typically 80 to 100 percent. WNS was first discovered in two counties in NY the winter of 2006-2007. By winter 2007-2008, WNS had spread to 15 counties in four states; NY, VT, MA, and CT. INSIDE THIS ISSUE 2 White Nose Syndrome Update 3 Investigating Caves in the Mt. Washington Area 7 Arkansas Cave Protection and Archaeology 11 Forest Service Cave Cartography In the last month, new sites have been confirmed from the Outaouais region of Quebec, White Oak Blowhole Cave in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and most recently from Pike County Missouri. White Oak Blowhole Cave contains the largest known Indiana bat hibernacula in Tennessee. The Indiana bat is a federally listed endangered species which has already seen declines in the Northeastern U.S. due to WNS. There is now a very high risk of WNS spreading to extremely important U.S. bat populations in AL, IN, IL, KY, MO, and AR. WNS is spread from bat to bat during winter months. The fungus also has been found on bats during early summer and fall. Lab tests have shown Geomyces destructans grows at or below 68o F. It is suspected WNS also is spread from humans to bats by people inadvertently transporting fungal spores from cave to cave, as fungal spores have been found on gear that was exposed to infected caves. Last year, the Forest Service closed its caves and mines in the Eastern Region for one year in an attempt to slow the spread of WNS until researchers were able to get more answers on WNS and how to treat it. (WNS continued on page 4) Cover Image: Cavers investigate Resource Advisor Cave in the Mt. Washington Wilderness, Deschutes National Forest. L R: Rachel Kareus, Kara Mi ckaelson, Gina Wendelin, Geoff McNaughton. Image: B. MacGregor An updated map of areas infected with White Nose Syndrome. WNS is also in Oklahoma (not pictured). Image provided by : C. Sandeno
Beneath the Forest 3 The older flow is probably 3000-5000 years old (Quaternary Holocene) as compared to the 1500 year old flow visible from the road over McKenzie Pass. This flow had trees and vegetation on it a nd is very visible on google earth as a vegetated lava flow. It is about 2.5 3 square miles in size approximately 3 miles long and 1 mile wide. It is approximately 2.25 miles northeast of Belknap Crater. As the group left HTF Cave after the second trip some ridge walking was conducted, but no new caves were found. I thought the area would be interesting to look at again, but the access was difficult. The Lake George Fire and Return to the HTF Lava Flow In the summer of 2006 lightning started the Lake George Fire which eventually burned 5,253 acres, including the entire lava with HTF Cave. I worked on the fire as a resource advisor, and during the early portion of the fire spoke with one of the Fire Operation Managers that I knew to have folks keeping their eyes open for lava tubes. Sure enough, two days later, the Fire Ops Manager reported that a few fallers had found a lava tube and went in and came out at one of the brew pubs in Bend! He is a humorous fellow, but in truth a small lava tube was found near one of the fire lines in the wilderness. I went out on the ground to check it out. (Mt. Washington Caves continued on page 4) More Caves in the Hard to Find Cave Area of the Mt. Washington Wilderness Jeff Simms Deschutes National Forest Background and History of Hard to Find Cave When Hard to Find Cave was first discovered is unknown. There is mention about a lava tube on the east side of Mt Washington between George Lake and Dugout in a 1964 letter of possible caves to Steve Knutson from Bob Ashworth (source: Charlie Larson). In 1991 smokejumpers removing hose and flagging from the George Lake fire found the cave and documented it in a email to Paul Engstrom, Forest Service wilderness manager from Bill Bickers, smokejumper (source: Charlie Larson). Bill sent a sketch to Charlie Larson of the Oregon Grotto. The sketch included the entrances and rough passage trends for Hard to Find Cave #1 and #2, and another lava tube to the north east. Later in 1992, Charlie Larson and members of the Oregon Grotto visited the area and named the cave Hard to Find Cave (HTF) and published a map of it in the Oregon Grotto Speleograph Volume 28, Number 7. In 1995 and 1996 the Oregon High Desert (OHD) Grotto led a couple of trips to the area with the intent of mapping the caves. At that time grotto members Ric Carlson, Jeff Sims, Michele Sims, Geoff McNaughton, Bryan McNaughton, and Danny ORyan with the help of John Smyre visiting from Tennessee mapped 973 feet in two trips to HTF #1 and #2. (Map, page 11). The area had potential for more caves due to the size of the lava flow. The flow that Hard to Find Cave is located in is an older lava flow from Belknap Crater northwest of McKenzie Pass. Cavers investigate lava tubes in the Mt. Washington Wilderness. Left to Right: Jeff Sims, Jeremy Wendelin, Matt Skeels, Neil and Aspen Marchington, and Kara Mickaelson. Image: B. McGregor
Beneath the Forest 4 On the way in I encountered the Division Supervisor, a 6 tall Australian (another story for another time) who directed me to the small tube. Sure enough, it was a lava tube with a three foot round entrance. I took a GPS location and looked quickly inside to see that it went around a corner. It was a hands and knees crawl, but looked promising. I named it Fallers Cave. A few days later when the fire moved out of the area, I got together with another resource advisor, Monty Gregg and suggested to him that we should walk the mile and a half long distance between Fallers Cave and HTF Cave to see if there were any other lava tubes. Monty is the wildlife biologist for the Sisters Ranger District so he is aware of lava tubes especially as bat habitat. (Mt. Washington Caves continued from page 3) (Mt. Washington Caves continued on page 5) The Eastern and Southern Regions intend to continue to prohibit access to caves and mines. The Southern Region will be extending its regional closure order issued by Regional Forester Liz Agpaoa last May. The Eastern Region has delegated this decision down to Forest Supervisors. In the Eastern Region, closure orders will be issued for the Allegheny, Monongahela, Wayne, Hoosier, Shawnee, Mark Twain, and Ottawa National Forests. These are the only forests that have caves or mines that are not gated. Much monitoring and research is being done on WNS by numerous state and federal agencies and organizations, including the Forest Service. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has formed a federal-state-tribal agency team to put together a national WNS response plan which is currently undergoing a preliminary technical review to be followed by a formal public and peer review. This WNS planning effort is being modeled after plans drafted to address chronic wasting disease; an early draft of the WNS plan is available here: http://www.fws.gov/nort heast/whitenose/PDF DRAFT_OUTLINE_WNS_National_Plan_090908.pdf (WNS continued from page 2) Ted Hasse at the entrance of Hard to Find Cave #2. Image: J. Simms Editors Notes: Id like to thank all the contributors for this issue as well as Courtney Cloyd for assistance, support, and editing. Please feel free to submit your questions or comments to the editor or to the individual authors. Our next issue will be the fall issue a great time to showcase projects and work conducted during your summer field season! Articles for the Fall 2010 Issue are due October 8, 2010 the Fall Issue will be out in November. This version of the issue was reproduced for external publication. There are slight modifications from the original layout throughout the issue. Contributors and Entities represented in this issue: David H. Jurney Ozark St. Francis National Forests Cynthia M. Sandeno Monongahela National Forest Jeff Sims Deschutes National Forest
Beneath the Forest 5 We needed to check George La ke and the spike camps, so we hiked in through that area first, then on the way out hiked between Hard to Find Cave a nd Fallers Cave. The Lake George Fire (named differently than the George Lake Fire so as not to be confusing) had burne d very hot in the lava flow area, leaving nothing but black sticks for trees and no ground cover. Since the area had initially burned a few days earlier, it was still smoky with lots of hot logs and smoldering stump holes. After the hike into George Lake we headed to HTF Cave. I found it with the GPS coordinates and then from there headed straight to Fallers Cave. After about 30 minutes we found a small hole. I took a GPS waypoint and moved on. Then we came to a much larger hole. This one looked very promising. I took another waypoint and we called the cave Resource Advisor Cave. Monty went in one entrance and came out the other. We didnt have time to explore it further. All of the caves were located on the northern edge of the lava flow. I knew we would need to revisit the caves with some cavers from the OHD Grotto. Grotto Trip to the New Caves In 2007, I had volunteered to lead a grotto trip to the area when another lightning caused fire in the Mt. Washington Wilderness, the GW Fire. Not only did I end up working on the fire team assigned to the fire, but the roads and vicinity including access to the HTF Cave lava flow were closed to the public. We rescheduled the trip for early summer 2008. (Mt. Washington Caves continued from page 4) Finally, in June of 2008, the OHD Grotto assembled at the Dry Creek Trail Head of the Mt. Washington Wilderness to check out the caves. A large group was present with about 12 cavers including Matt Skeels, Geoff McNaughton, Rachel Kareus, Jeremy and Gina Wendelin, Neil, Aspen and Nicole Marchington, Brent McGregor, Kara Mickaelson, and Jeff and Michele Sims. The group went first to Fallers Cave. Geoff, Brent and I mapped it for three survey shots for a total of 47 feet to a tight crawl (Map, page 11). Next we went to Resource Advisors Cave. It was soon found, and we explored the collapse and found a tube leading off one end of it. It was entered by sliding down a snow pile in to a nice tube. The cave was mapped by Matt, Neal and I for a total of 110 feet with some additional feet 20+ sketched in at the collap se entrance (Map, page 12). At this point, several decided that hiking across the fire denuded lava flow was not their idea of a fun hike. About half of the group headed back to camp (the smarter half). The rest of the group consisting of Neal, Aspen, Jeremy, Matt, Brent, Kara and I decided to go on to find HTF Cave. Along the way to HTF Cave we found a few more tubes. One was about 80 feet long and called Burnt Forest Cave. Another was 100 feet long and called Lizard Tongue Cave. The longest was Jeremys Lava Bridge Cave at more than 200 feet long. We finally arrived at HTF Cave and the group explored it while Brent took some pictures. (Mt. Washington Caves continued on page 6) Rod Morehead at the entrance of Hard to Find Cave. Image: J. Simms Ted Hasse crawls out of the entrance of Teds Molehole. Image: J. Simms
Beneath the Forest 6 The day had turned hot for late June and folks were starting to run out of water. The lava flow with no trees was hot, dry, and relentless. The group decided to stagger back to camp. We headed down from HTF head ing northeast toward the Dry Creek Trail. Suddenly we found ourselves surrounded by interesting lava channels and features. Then we stumbled upon the best discovery of the day a cold clear spring bubbling up from under the lava. Water bottles were refilled and spirits refreshed! The group pushed on for another mile to camp. Return to the Lava Flow and Springs Before the winter snows fell, I wanted to get back into the area and check out the lava channel area and springs. The thought of water surging through a lava tube was intriguing, although highly unlikely. On October 18, 2008, I met Jeremy, Matt, Ted Hasse, Jon McKim, and Rod Morehead at the Depot Deli in Sisters. We departed from there for the Dry Creek Trailhead. It was opening day for rifle elk hunt in the Cascades, which was evident from all the hunters we encountered on the roads leading into the trailhead. Once we left the vehicles and hiked into the Mt. Washington Wilderness the hunters vanished. About .5 mile up the trail, we were stopped by the noise of something big coming through the woods in front of us. It was a herd of elk, about 30-40 total with at least three large bulls about 100 feet in front of us. They moved quickly through and out into the lava flow. We smugly smiled at each other cavers see more elk than the elk hunters! (Mt. Washington Caves continued from page 5) We navigated on to the spring to find it dry. There was no borehole passage or even passage at all. Ted found a small dig near the stream bed it looked promising at first but didnt go. We then went ove r to the lava channels. Nothing was found, no cracks, holes, or any entrances. We next went up to Jeremys Lava Bridge. Matt and I mapped it at 190 feet. (Map, page 12). We then wandered over to HTF Cave. While Ted and Jon explored it, Jeremy, Matt, Rod, and I walked about .8 mile to the southwest to look at some features I had seen on google earth. Sure enough there were some gigantic pressure cracks and breaks but no lava tubes. One of the cracks we looked at can be seen clearly from google earth. We turned around and headed back. Somehow, Ted had stumbled upon another cave, which we named Teds Molehole. Everyone disappeared into it one by one, and sure enough it went for over 150 feet, even had some walking passage only to end in a lava plug. It was located between HTF Cave and Jeremys Lava Bridge. At first it looked like it might connect with the crawl in the back of Jeremys Lava Bridge, but the lava plug was the end. Finally the group decided to head down the hill to the trail head. We ran into two hunters along the way, who seemed to know what they were doing and one mentioned he had tracked the previously mentioned elk herd all the way across the lava flow to Dugout Lake. (Mt. Washington Caves continued on page 10) Ted Hasse at a misleading hole in the ground, not a cave. Image: J. Sims Matt Skeels surveys in Resource Advisor Cave. Image: B. McGregor
Beneath the Forest 7 Cave Protection and Archaeology in Arkansas David H. Jurney Heritage Program Manager, Ozark-St. Francis National Forests The Ozark-St. Francis National Forests fall primarily in the Ozark Plateau of north-central Arkansas, with outliers in the Mississippi Embayment and Gulf Coastal Plain, the Arkansas River Valley, and the northern uplift of the Ouachita Mountains (Magazine Mountain). The Arkansas Valley consists of Pennsylvanian clastic sediments arranged into broad synclines (troughs) with relatively narrow intervening anticlines (arches). The synclines are most conspicuous and formed from more rapid erosion of underlying shale, once capping sandstones were breached. The Ozark Plateau is made of generally level Paleozoic age strata divided into the Salem Plateau, the Springfield Plateau, and the Boston Mountains. All these plateaus are deeply dissected by numerous streams, and are characterized by many erosion processes including mass-wasting. The Springfield and Salem Plateaus are primarily limestones, dolomites, and shales while the Boston Mountains are sandstones overlying deeply buried limestones and shales. Karst topography with caves, large sinkholes, and large springs characterize the Salem and Springfield plateaus. Humans, many species of bats a nd fish, and other rare fauna have used the caverns, and their sites and habitats are considered of primary importa nce in our land management activities. These areas are smoke sensitive targets where active combustion and smoldering are controlled during prescribed fires, and spelunking is strictly controlled. One cave, Gustafson/Wingard, located on the Sylamore Ranger District of the Forests is protected by constant monitoring and the emplacement of a gate to protect a series of rock art panels as well as bat species. 3ST70. 08100102519 Gustafson/Wingard Cave This is a prehistoric cave site, with a natural opening with ready access in the form of historic steps. The site is located underground at 760 ft amsl, drained by subsurface flow into Sugarloaf Creek. It has been gated to protect endangered bat habitat. The site was recorded by Earl Neller, US Forest Service, in 1979. It was revisited by Robert Ray (Arkansas Archeological Survey AAS) in 1979, the Cave Research Foundation in 1980, and Gayle Fritz (AAS) in 1980. The AAS nominated the site to the National Register in 1982, under the Rock Art Thematic historic context for Arkansas. Gary Knudsen conducted limited test exca vations in 1991, during installation of the bat gate. It was revisited by Jean Allan (US Forest Service, Alabama, George McCluskey (AR SHPO Office), and other members of the National Speleological Society in 2000. Fritz, Knudsen, and Allan have documented the rock art. It is the only known example of dark zone rock art in Arkansas. It is within a light damage area from the January 2009 Ice Storm. Informants report that the Gustafson family used the cave for food storage in the 1920s. They apparently constructed the rough steps into the cave. Bottle glass and wooden storage boxes are present in the cave. (Cave Protection continued on page 9) Panel One from Gustafson Cave. Image: D. Jurney
Beneath the Forest 8 Top Image: Panel Two from Gustafson Cave. Drawn by Terry McClung Bottom Image: Panel Three from Gustafson Cave. Image: D. Jurney
Beneath the Forest 9 McCluskey observed shell tempered (Mississippian, A.D. 950-1300) pottery sherds under the art panels in 1989. Knudsen recovered an Archaic (8000-500 B.C.) dart point near the cave entrance. A total of seven art panels have been documented. Allans work meets the standards set by the International Federation of Ro ck Art Organizations. As defined by Allan, Panel 1 consists of a 40 x 70 cm red geometric painting. Panel 2 c overs a 170 x 65 cm area with over 13 anthropomorphic images ranging from 10-60 cm high. Some of the images have male and female genitalia. All are black paintings, except for a fine line incised anthropomorph (the only petroglyph in the cave). Panel 3 covers a 80 x 180 cm area with six and possibly a seventh black painted images of bison ranging in size from 30 x 52 cm to 12 x 22 cm. Three bison have arrows with fletching and nock elements. A black painted anthropomorph and a red painted anthropomorph are below the bison images. Panel 4 is located in a small rock niche. The images include black drawings of a turtle, arthropods (centipedes), unidentifiable zoomorphs, and geometric designs. Centipedes are common in Great basin and California rock art, but not the Eastern Woodlands. Panel 5 contains black drawings of geometric figures and faint lines; with cane stoke marks nearby. Panel 6 is a single drawing of a bison. Panel 7 has black drawings that include a shield and arrow design, with other geometric figures. In Jean Allans opinion, Panels 6 and 7 have a hastily drawn quality not exhibited by the other panels, and may have been made by recent graffitti artists in imitation of the more deliberately executed pictographs in Panels 1-5, inclusive. The rock art is undergoing active wall exfoliation as well as mineral precipitation. It is imperative that the rock art documentation be completed to st andard before it is lost. Dr. George Sabo, University of Arkansas and Dr. Jan Simek, University of Tennessee, are planning a complete documentation of the rock art beyond that already achieved. (Cave Protection continued from page 7) The bison images suggest the use of bois darc bows capable of shooting arrows completely through their bodies as illustrated. Both bison and bois darc bow wood were important products traded by Caddos and other groups in the prehistoric southeast (Schambach 2000:26-27, 2002). This is the first written record of bison in Arkansas. The centipedes and human genitalia suggest connections with Western cultural groups, perhaps indicating long distance trade or interaction. Similar rock art has been dated in Missouri ca. A.D. 985-1165 (Diaz-Granados 2001). The site has potential to contribute information relative to the prehistoric Historic Contexts for Arkansas, particularly the Late Holocene Sedentary Adaptation Type 1500-300 YBP. It is the only known Native American art work in cave dark zones in Arkansas. (Cave Protection continued on page 10) Panel One from Gustafson Cave. Image: D. Jurney
Beneath the Forest 10 It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing element of the Arkansas Rock Art Thematic nomination. It is managed by the Forest Service as a bat hibernacula cave, and is protected. References Diaz-Granados, C. 2001 AMS Radiocarbon dates for charcoal from three Missouri Pictographs and their associated iconography. American Antiquity 66(3):481-492. Schambach, F.F. 2000 Spiroan Traders, the Sanders Site, and the Plains InteractionSphere: A Reply to Bruseth, Wilson, and Perttula. Plains Anthropologist 45(171):7-33. 2001a Osage Orange Bows, Indian Horses, and the Blackland Prairie of Northeast Texas. In Blackland Prairies of the Gulf Coastal Plain: Nature, Culture, and Sustainability, E. Peacock and T. Shauwecker (eds.). University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa. 2001b Fourche Maline and Its Neighbors: Observations on an Important Woodland Culture of the Trans-Mississippi South. Arkansas Archeologist 40:21-50. (Cave Protection continued from page 9) So far in the area between Hard to Find Cave and Fallers Cave the following caves have been located: Hard to Find Cave #1 188 feet surveyed Hard to Find Cave #2 785 feet surveyed Teds Mole Hole 200 feet estimated Jeremys Lava Bridge Cave 190 feet surveyed Teds Dig 0 feet (keep digging) Burnt Forest Cave 80 feet estimated Lizard Tongue Cave 100 feet estimated Resource Advisors Cave 150 feet surveyed Fallers Cave 47 feet surveyed Three other caves were located during the fire located to the east and south of Fallers Cave: Lava Bridge Cave 20 feet estimated Lava Shed Cave 10 feet estimated Tube Not named or explored Conclusion Out of the three square miles of the older vegetated lava flow weve probably covered only a quarter mile of it. However, the caves arent getting much bigger than Hard to Find Cave, but tend to be smaller tubes of 50 to 200 feet in length. The area is in the wilderness and access is difficult because there are no roads, and no trails in the lava flow. It is just cross country travel. A GPS is very useful in finding the caves and not rediscovering them. From the Dry Creek trail head it is two miles to Hard to Find Cave, the furthest cave in. From the same trail head it is almost six miles (of lava) to Belknap Crater, the source of the lava. The area warrants a few more trips, to finish mapping the caves on the north end of the flow, and to look at the lava closer to Belknap Crater. For the most part all of the trees were killed in the forest fire in 2006, but in a few more years the trees will fall over and make travel more difficult. Now is the time to take advantage of the opened up te rrain and look for more lava tubes. (Mt. Washington Caves continued from page 6) 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) 720-2600 (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.
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Contents: White Nose Syndrome Update --
Investigating Caves in the Mt. Washington Area --
Arkansas Cave Protection and Archaeology --
Forest Service Cave Cartography.
"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
USDA Forest Service