Cave Talk

Cave Talk

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Cave Talk
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Cave Talk
George Veni ( suggested by )
National Cave Association
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Resource Management ( local )
serial ( sobekcm )
United States


General Note:
Cave Talk is a publication of the National Caves Association, a non-profit trade association founded in 1965 by a small group of private show cave owners. These initial members sought to bring together show cave owners and operators from across the United States to promote the show cave industry to the public, to share information and ideas, and to lobby for legislation favorable to the show cave industry.
Open Access - Permission by Publisher
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(December 2005)
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See Extended description for more information.

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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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K26-00856 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.856 ( USFLDC Handle )
19372 ( karstportal - original NodeID )

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National Caves Association Susan Berdeaux, Coordinating Director P.O. Box 280, Park City, KY 42160 866-552-2837 (toll free) 270-749-2428 (fax) DECEMBER 2005 MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT I hope everyone is enjoying the Holliday Season! It’s hard to believe Christmas is almost here, it seams like just several weeks ago when we were back in Kentucky at the National Caves Convention sipping bourbon at Diamond Caverns! And wasn’t that a great convention. Hats off to all our gracious hosts! Thanks to our past President, John Sagendorf and his predecessor, Dick Bell for their years of service as officers of the NCA. I am following in the footsteps of some great leaders and mentors who have all made their contribution towards what the NCA has accomplished and become. I am proud to say my grandmother Clara Wuest Heidemann was one of those. Welcome to our new officers: Vice President Steve Thompson of Fantastic Caverns, and Secretary / Treasurer Eric Evans of Ohio Caverns. Welcome to our newest member of the board, Region 4 Director David Thompson of Bridal Cave. Thanks as well to all the other board members for accepting nominations to serve another term. I think we have a great team in place! Our organization has grown so much over the past 40 years. It is important to embrace that history but let’s take a look at what the NCA has grown into. We are a professional association which provides services for members such as: a voice for our show cave industry, leadership & business development with conventions that keep getting better and better, networking opportunities, marketing opportunities such as the NCA brochure & web (just wait and see what happens with the web!) and benefits such as the group insurance program (which I hope more of you will take advantage of) and the Alpha Radiation project (which has been a very wise investment). And we can and will do so much more. With growth in terms of membership, services & benefits provided, and greater expectations, have come more tasks and greater responsibility. And along with that comes a need for more continuity and depth within our leadership structure. The action taken by our membership at the last business meeting resulted in Susan Berdeaux continuing as our Coordinator and Eric Evans as our new Secretary / Treasurer. At a subsequent meeting the Executive Committee affirmed the Coordinator position on the board and changed the name to “Coordinating Director”. This new title more appropriately reflects the role and authority of the position. Susan’s job description remains very much the same with the exception that minutes and financial reports are now prepared by the Secretary / Treasurer. The expansion of our Executive Team is already paying dividends so to speak with the additional experience and leadership. You will be seeing some great things come out of our committees, thanks to our committee chairs and members. And thanks to those of you who are about to co ntact committee chairs to let them know you want to help out! You will see a few new names and new committees such as “Past Presidents” (my mentors) and OFFICERS: President : Brad Wuest Natural Bridge Caverns, TX 210-651-6101 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Vice President : Steve Thompson Fantastic Caverns, MO 417-833-2010 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Secretary Treasurer : Eric Evans Ohio Caverns, OH 937-465-4017 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Coordinating Director : Susan Berdeaux Diamond Caverns, KY 866-552-2837 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Past President : John Sagendorf Howe Caverns, NY 518-296-8900 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------REGIONAL DIRECTORS Region One : (CT, DE, ME, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA,RI,VT) Ann Dunlavy Lincoln Caverns, PA 814-643-0268 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Region Two : (MD, VA, WV, KY) Gary Berdeaux Diamond Caverns, KY 270-749-2233 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Region Three : (IN, MI, OH) Claudia Yundt Squire Boone Caverns, IN 812-732-4382 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Region Four : (AR, IL, IA, MO, MS, LA) David Thompson Bridal Cave, MO 573-346-2676 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Region Five : (MT, WY, NE, MN, WI) Joe Klimczak Cave of the Mounds, WI 608-437-3038 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Region Six : (WA, ID, OR, NV, CA, HI, AK) Steve Fairchild – Moaning Cavern 209-736-0330 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Region Seven : (UT, CO, AZ, NM, SD, ND) Steve Beckley Glenwood Caverns, CO 800-530-1635 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Region Eight : (TX, OK, KS) Michelle Devaney Longhorn Caverns, TX 830-598-CAVE ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Region Nine : (AL, FL, GA, NC, SC, TN, PR) Jack Steiner Jr. Ruby Falls, TN 423-821-2544 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------International : Jeanne Gurnee TN 615-264-0019 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


“Business Innovation” (to tell us about cool new ideas). You’ll find more info on committees in a separate article in this Cave Talk. The NCA was founded over 40 years ago to provide a united voice in opposition to legislation to ban billboards. No, I was not around then and I have plenty of you who like to remind me! But just in the relatively short while I have been active in our NCA family I have seen the le vel of cooperation grow and the willingness to help our fellow cave men and women blossom, and I tell you it’s a beautiful thing! We are bonded together by friendship, a love for our cavern resources and that entrepreneurial spirit! Each of these characteristics combined make the NCA such a unique and special organization. Remember the past, focus on the present and look forward to what the future holds. I think it’s an exciting one for the National Caves Association! If there is anything I can do to help you or if you have any suggestions on what we can do to make our association even better please let me know. I wish each of you a Merry Christmas and a happy & prosperous New Year! God Bless, President National Caves Association 2005 NCA CONVENTION The 2005 NCA Convention, held in the heart of the beautiful cave and karst region around Bowling Green, Kentucky on October 17th –20th, was everything a convention should be! Attendees were given a full line-up of interesting speakers and enjoyable social activities as well as the time to conduct NCA business visit with old friends, make new ones, share ideas with one another and visit lots of caves. Don Wallace, VP of Forever Resorts, conducted a phenomenal workshop on “Merc handising the Gift Shop” that included show-and-tell visits to the two gift shops at Mammoth Cave. Mammoth Cave Park interpretive and education specialists made presentations that gave partici pants excellent resources for developi ng or improving such programs of their own. Tom Aley reported on the progress of the NCA Radon Study Project, and a new slate of officers and directors were nominated and elected. Chuck Thorne took first place in the unofficial contest to see who had the scariest adventure during the past year (Check with him for details). Business contacts and ideas for “Improving the Bottom Line” were swapped in abundance at each break and Cracker Barrel. We were treated to Bourbon, Barbeque and Bluegrass at Diamond Caverns, and a memorable evening of dining and dancing to the sounds of Doc Livingston’s orchestra at Lost River Cave. Michelle Devaney, Dave Candelaria, Steve Rawlings and Delores Beraldo demonstrated that cave people can swing dance! Kudos to hosts Mammoth Cave National Park, Diamond Caverns and Lost River Cave & Valley for their hard work in planning and conducting the convention, and special thanks to Americ an Cave Museum, Kentucky Down Under, Kentucky Caverns, Crystal Onyx Cave and Hidden River Cave for their pre and post-convention hospitality. If you missed this past Convention, you have one opportuni ty to redeem yourself. Join us October 17-20, 2006, in beautiful Bermuda for what David Summers and the rest of The Crystal Caves of Bermuda delegation assures us will be the most phenomenal NCA Convention ever! There will be plenty of time to reconnect and network in paradise as well as attend beneficial business and resource management sessions. They also promise a “wickedly” exciting social schedule that assures everyone will be memorably entertained. As if this is all is not enough, there still is another bonus. In 2006 we have the unique opportunity to extend our stay in Bermuda to participate in the 2006 International Show Caves Association Congress that begins immediately after the NCA Convention ends. Be there! If you have not received your invitation to the 2006 Convention in Bermuda, please call 210-651-6101 or e-mail me ( ). Joye Wuest, Chairman NCA Convention Committee


NCA COMMITTEES & LIAISONS You will see that we have 2 new committees, a new liaison, and several old committees with new names and several new committee chairs. Thanks again to all our committee chairs and everyone serving on the committees! Go to to see a complete list of Committees & Liaisons with information on each including phone & e-mail for Chairs. This is still a draft so input is welcome and by all means if you are interested in serving on a committee please contact that committee chair! Just a few high points. The Insurance Committee is looking for some NCA members who are interested in saving money on insurance and getting better coverage than they currently have. Are there any members not interested in saving $$ and better coverage??? And of course making the NCAÂ’s group insurance program even better than it is. Kudos to the Convention Committee, David Summers and his team for all the work that has been going into Convention Â’06 in Bermuda which is going to be awesome and work is already underway for Convention Â’07 in Glenwood Springs! Thanks to the History committee (Judy Smith) for the great photo albums at convention and catching all of us in candid shots! Electronic Media / Technology is about to kick off our major web site overhaul project. Kudos to Retail Products for a great report! Be looking for some great ideas out of the new Business Innovation Committee! We have a new liaison. ItÂ’s Steve Fairchild for the International Show Caves Association (ISCA). He has been un-officially reporting on ISCA to us over t he years so now its official! And I hope everyone is planning to stay in Bermuda after the NCA Convention for the immediately following ISCA convention. Again if you are interested in serving on a committee please let the committee chair know! BYLAWS COMMITTEE Steve Rawlings is heading up the Bylaws Committee which has been tasked to review and present the board with recommended amendments to the current Revised Constitution and Bylaws, for a copy click on If you have any suggestions please direct your input to Susan (preferably via e-mail to She will be compiling input for Steve and his committee. Thanks in advance for your suggestions! In accordance with the current Revised Constitution & Bylaws, the NCA will be requiring that members provide verification of General Liability insurance. For participants in the NCAÂ’s group insurance program verification is already confirmed. TIA CONFERENCES IN SEATTLE Below is a little info on the TIA conferences Brad attended immediately after our National Caves Convention. NCAP is put on by TIAÂ’s National Council of Attractions, the other NCA!. Immediately following NCAP was TIAÂ’s Marketing Outlook Forum. Below is a link to pres entations so you can get an idea of what you missed! Both were great conferences. NCAP 2005 CREATED THE POWER TO ATTRACT The sixth annual National Conference for Attraction Pr ofessionals (NCAP) brought together a diversity of attraction professionals from across the country and Canada for two information-packed days of educational seminars and networking opportunities designed specifically for attractions. Following are what some of this year's delegates had to say about their attendance at NCAP 2005: Topics were very pertinent and speakers were well prepared and willing to share. The whole conference was very well executed and worth the fee and my time. I met some lovely people who were gracious and openly generous in sharing ideas. This was the best NCA conference I have attended Be sure to put NCAP on your calendar for October 2006! For more information, please contact Kathleen Riley at or 202-408-8422.


The speaker presentations that were provided to TIA fr om Marketing Outlook Forum are now available online by clicking NCA ALPHA RADIATION PROJECT Tom Aley of Ozark Underground Laboratory (OUL) gave a superb presentation at the 2005 NCA Convention on the progress of the NCA Alpha Radiation Project. This four-year project (now completing the 3rd year) will ensure that each private NCA member cave (and some public caves) will be monitored to determine cave specific alpha radiation levels. To date, 71 member caves in 19 states have been monitored, with the rest to be completed during the calendar year 2006. The project, to benefit NCA member caves is being conducted under an Alliance Agreement between OUL and OSHA, for the benefit of the NCA. During the 2005 NCA Annual Meeting the membership “Approved in principal… with the intent to ratify at the 2006 Annual Meeting of the NCA”, two very important actions: 1. the “Strategy for the development and implementation of best management practices (BMP) at show caves to ensure that alpha radiation exposures are as low as reasonably attainable (ALARA) consistent with the protection of cave resources and cave businesses.” 2. the “Guidance for the preparation of cave radiation management plans.” The “Strategy for Development…..” is a 15 page document which outlines the basis and background for the studies and then requires each NCA private member ca ve to implement a variety of Best Management Practices, designed to reduce employee exposures to alpha radiation while protecting both the cave and the commercial business. The “Guidance for the Preparation of Cave Management Plans” is a six-page outline for the development of cave specific management plans to accomplish the strategy. Implementation of these actions are of the highest im portance to NCA members. Under the OUL / OSHA / NCA Alliance Agreement, all private NCA member cave s will be required to implement the Strategies and develop a Cave Management Plan in order to continue NCA membership. Both documents are available from the NCA Headquarters office by contacting Susan Berdeaux at ( ). 17th NATIONAL CAVE AND KARS T MANAGEMENT SYMPOSIUM The 17th National Cave and Karst Management Symposium, hosted by the Northeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc. (NCC) in Albany, New York, October 31 through Nove mber 4, was a success by every measure. It was 30 years ago this year that the very first Symposium was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The interests of the NCC were well served by participation in this nati onal event. Many NCC and NCA members were able to attend sessions and otherwise participate. Over 100 par ticipants were able to share regional experiences through interaction with NCC members in attend ance. NCC properties and management methods were showcased on a Wednesday field trip where Symposiu m participants visited several NSS and NCC managed caves and culminated with a marvelous tour and reception at the region’s premier show cave – Howe Caverns. Comments from Cheryl Jones, NSS Director and chair of the permanent steering committee which is responsible for the NCKMS reinforced feelings about the success of the 2005 NCKMS: "By hosting and cosponsoring the Symposium, the Northeastern Cave Cons ervancy was able to make us realize how vital the conservancy has been over the last four decades in conserving and managing important caves in the region, and preserving access to them for cavers." "The field trip showed everyone attending the Symposium how committed the NCC and each of its members are to m anaging the Conservancy's caves and karst responsibly, as well as the caves on the NSS preserves." "I believe the future of cave conservation, management, and access lies with cave conservancies, so it is important that they be involved in the NCKMS, and sought out by agencies and other groups when cave and karst management issues arise. The NCC made this pretty clear to the attendees during Wednesday's field trip, and no doubt increased the credibility of the work being done by cave conservancies in general." "Thanks to the efforts of the NCC, we had participants from more cave conservancies at this Symposium than ever before. I hope that this is will start a trend, for conservancies must be involved in any overall cave and karst management picture." The symposium worked so well only because


many members of the NCC worked very hard in advanc e and during the week. I feel privileged to have been the coordinator of such a skilled and dedicated group of volunteers. Thank you all, and congratulations on a job well done. Papers, abstracts and presentations were made on over 55 topics of specific and general interest during the 5 day period. Literally, there was something for everyone who attended. The next Symposium will be held in 2007, October 8 – 12, in St. Louis, MO, the home state of NCA Vice President Steve Thompson (who currently also serves as the President of the Missouri Cave Association). William (Bill) Elliott, Cave Biologist for the Missouri Department of Conservation, Resource Science Division is the primary organizer for the 2005 Symposium. Gary Berdeaux of Diamond Caverns is the official NCA representative on the NCKMS Steering Committee. GIFT SHOP GOODIES This year’s convention was so informational and it has inspired the New Products Committee to do an article four times a year in Cave Talk. Our goal is to give the NCA members information and resources to new and old items that are sold in the cave gift shops around the United States and Bermuda. We ask for everyone's help. If you have a great selling item in your gift s hop please contact one of the committee members with the product contact information and we’ll try and put it in the next article. Everyone knows how important the Gift Shop is to the cave business. The sales in our gift shops can make or break the year. The old staples such as t-shirts and postcards will always be a must but those “cool” and “unique” items can really make a huge difference in your year end totals. How do you find those new items? There are many ways to find new products but going to a gift show tends to be one of the best ways. It is very difficult for many of us to get to gift shows and seek out new items. So, the New Products Committee has decided to give everyone updates on the shows that our members attend. If you attend a gift show and find an exciting new product, please let us know! The Smokey Mountain Gift Show in Gatlinburg, TN was held the second week in November. Several of the NCA members attend this show because it has so many it ems to offer tourist attractions. As many of you know when attending a gift show, go prepared. When planning the trip make sure you take along several business cards, credit sheets, currant product inventory and your budget. Several of the more organized buyers also take along self-adhesive address labels with your shipping and billing addresses on them. The main thing to take to a gift show with you is an open mind. Don’t look for things that you like but for things that your customers will like. Yes, that’s difficult to do but with a little practice you’ll get it. A few items that were found at the Smokey Mountain Gift Show that you might want to check into are listed below. We are not saying they will sell in all gift shops. These are items that look interesting and we thought the NCA members would want to consider them. Caves & Caverns Afghans Mill Street Design Contact: Kevin Kornfeld 800-659-9725 Kids T-shirts Little Spelunker Contact: Kevin Kornfeld 800-659-9725 Cedar Boxes with Your post card picture Blair Cedar 800-325-3943 Kids & adult T-shirts, sweatshirts, etc. with various cave designs Prairie Mountain Contact: Sheeney’s Shirts 800-942-6644 Childs & Adults orange t-shirt with bats Mug wrapped with caving scene and can be imprinted Atlas Screen Printing 800-456-5222 Child’s Sweatshirt with felt bat applique Kid U NOT 800-448-7353 Bat Socks For Bare Feet 800-669-0674


Bat Kites (small & large) New Tech Kites 800-325-4768 Cute girls shirts (Caviar Girl) Cave Design Mug (Traub) United Souvenir & Apparel 1-800-933-2220 Just in case you would like to attend a gift show here are some rough dates for gift shows around the U.S.. 2006 Winter Gift Shows Boston Gift Show March 25 & 26 Regional VA Show (New Market) January or Feb. Dallas Gift Show January Denver Gift Show Late February Eureka Springs March Minneapolis Gift Show March Atlanta Gift Show at the Mart January 13-16 Columbus Gift Show January New York International Jan 29 Feb. 2 New York Toy Fair Feb. 12-15 Las Vegas Gift Show March 5-9 New Product Committee Members: Judy Turilli, Meramec Caverns, MO 573-HOT-CAVE Denise Bell, Seneca Caverns, OH 419-483-6711 Judy Smith, Marengo Cave, IN 812-365-2705 Claudia Yundt, Squire Boone Caverns, IN 812-732-4388 Susan Berdeaux, Diamond Caverns 270-749-2233 The New Products Committee wishes everyone a safe and happy Holiday Season. IAAPA IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Places and Attractions) was at the Atlanta World Congress center this last November 14th 18th. There are always a lot to see with over 1200 exhibitors. This year we bought a Footsie Wootsie for $3700.00 (looks like a whiskey barrel made into a chair that you sit on and when you insert a quarter into it your feet get a vibrating massage for 30 seconds. So far if one kid does it every kid lines up to do it. To see it go to: ". After talking to Grant at Cave of the Winds, I decided to get a new popcorn popper and cotton candy machine at the Gold Medal booth at IAAPA. We hope they will be good money-makers this summer. We also bought an electronic scale (about $900) to put in the ladies room you put a quarter in and it tells you your weight and usually gives you your horoscope and lottery number but it is programmable so you can have it give you a scripture verse instead. See a picture of it at ." Then we also purchased a Vortex Coin Wishing Well (about $1,900) that you put coins in and they go around and around faster and faster and then they drop out of site and eventually end up in our cash register. You can see this at ". As you can see I like items that make money with out labor or liability involved. I will tell you what else we saw in next monthsÂ’ addition of cave talk. Merry Christmas, Al Allen W. Mathis III, Owner/President DeSoto Caverns Park NCA WEB SITE The Electronic Media/Technology committee is beginning work on an exciting new web site for the NCA. The new site will have two sides, a tourist side and a NCA memb er side. The tourist side will still feature a national member directory with contact info for all NCA member s. Additionally we will provide pages with information on geology, biology, history and educational resources. The site will also feature a NCA member side to service our needs. Access to the membership side of the site will have password-required security to access informat ion intended for our eyes only. Here you will find the now familiar CaveTalk online archive along with many postings from all our association committees and programs. The Electronic Media/Technology Committee we lcomes your suggestions for our new web site. Feel free to send your comments and suggestions to Gary Berdeaux, Committee Chair 270-749-2233


HONORARY MEMBER RECONFIRMED During the annual meeting, the Executive Committee re ceived a request from Jim and Linda Coleberd, asking that we honor Joan Bogard with Honorary Member status. While taking this action, NCA Past President Max Evans notified the committee that he thought Joan had already received Honorary status. Older records indicate that Max is correct and for some reason, Joan was not listed as such in the database. This has been corrected. Therefore, the Executive Committee reconfirms the Honorary Member status of Joan Bogard. Many NCA members will remember Joan and her late husband, Bob, as very active members of our organization during the many years they were involved with Mark Twain Caverns. SAD NEWS FROM ANN DUNLAVY I wanted to let you all know that my dad (Mike Dunlavy) passed away at 4:30 PM yesterday (Dec. 14, 2005) in the Oaks nursing home at Westminster Woods, where he had been a resident off and on for the last year. Although there was no visible change in his physical condition, he had indicated several times over the last week or so that he was ready. Last Sunday we were fortunate to have brunch together as a family. We had hoped to have one more Christmas together, but it just was not meant to be. I'm sure he is at peace now. My mother is doing fine, but her daily routine will be drastically changed. (She visited him 3 times a day!) Please remember her in your prayers. She would appr eciate hearing from you. You may contact her at: Marion Dunlavy 125 Woods Lane Huntingdon, PA 16652 814.643.1577 Thanks to all who contributed articles for this edition of CaveTalk: Allen Mathis Brad Wuest John Sagendorf Joye Wuest Claudia Yundt Gary Berdeaux FIANL THOUGHTS Our final thought for the year is Merry Christmas to all, with wishes for a blessed, peaceful, prosperous New Year.

Cave Talk is a
publication of the National Caves Association, a non-profit
trade association founded in 1965 by a small group of private
show cave owners. These initial members sought to bring
together show cave owners and operators from across the United
States to promote the show cave industry to the public, to
share information and ideas, and to lobby for legislation
favorable to the show cave industry.


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