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 )
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United States


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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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(September 2007)
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k26.864 ( USFLDC Handle )
19380 ( karstportal - original NodeID )

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1 National Caves Association Susan Berdeaux, Coordinating Director P.O. Box 280, Park City, KY 42160 270-749-2228 fax 270-749-2428 MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT Another summer season is behind us now and I hope it proved to be a good one for each of your businesses. Here in Texas our summer tourism was slow with fewer people traveling due to considerable amounts of rain which carried through July. Fortunately the sun shined upon us in August. Travel picked up, and we were blessed with several more weeks of strong visitation in Texas due to our state’s later school start date. The result for Natural Bridge Caverns was a 39% increase in August which far exceeded our expectations! This increase made up for the decrease in visitation we were carrying through July so we pulled ahead with a 3% gain over last season! Other tourism businesses across the state have reported similar results thanks to a later school start date. As my term as President of the NCA nears its end, and I pause to reflect upon the past, I think of my grandparents who were among the NCA’s founders. And I think of the others who were there in the early days of the NCA who helped establish and grow the association. We are blessed that some are still with us though many are not. We honor them all for the legacy they have passed forward, a forum by which we can come together to share our problems, solutions, ideas and opportunities, to speak as one unified voice and enjoy the company of our fellow cave men and women. We honor them by our loyalty and by exercising the leadership required of us to keep the NCA strong on our watch and to position it to remain the unified voice for our industry into the future. Much has been accomplished in the recent past which translates into greater benefits to members. Our Board of Directors and Committees are engaged with the membership at an even higher level. Thanks to the implementation of new technology we have better communications with members and provide more timely information through Cave Talk and the NCA websites. In addition to improved communications, our website takes the marketi ng of our show caves to a whole new level. Our conventions are continually getting better with more learning opportunities, networking and entertainment due to the hard work of our Convention Committee and each year’s hosts. The Insurance Committee has put a great deal of effort into growing and improving our group insurance program. The Retail Products Committee has become the “go to guys & gals” for what’s hot and what’s not in retail sales, buying and merchandising. 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 Retired, NY 518-376-3096 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------REGIONAL DIRECTORS Region One : (CT, DE, ME, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT) Greg Beckler Natural Stone Bridge & Caves 518-494-2283 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Region Two : (MD, VA, WV, KY) Gary Berdeaux Diamond Caverns, KY 270-749-2233 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Region Three : (IL,IN, MI, OH) Claudia Yundt Squire Boone Caverns, IN 812-732-4382 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Region Four : (IA, KS, MO, NE) David Thompson Bridal Cave, MO 573-346-2676 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Region Five : (MN, MT, ND, SD, WI) Joe Klimczak Cave of the Mounds, WI 608-437-3038 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Region Six : (CA, ID, NV, OR, WA) Steve Fairchild – Moaning Cavern, CA 209-736-0330 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Region Seven : (AZ, CO, NM, UT, WY) Steve Runkle Cave of the Winds, CO 719-685-5444 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Region Eight : (AR, LA, OK, TX) Michelle Devaney Longhorn Caverns, TX 830-598-CAVE ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Region Nine : (AL, FL, GA, MS, NC, SC, TN,) Allen Mathis DeSoto Caverns, AL 256-378-7252 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Region Ten : (AK, HI, Bermuda, International) Jeanne Gurnee – Goodlettsville, TN 615-264-0019 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


2 NCA show caves recently banded together in Texas to get legislation passed to further protect caves from vandalism, and the NCA is ready to support similar initia tives in other states. We’ve made great progress in helping protect show caves, show cave businesses and employees with new Cave Radiation Standards and Management Plans. Both past and present leadership has worked hard to establish and improve benefits to members. At present we are faced with the challenge to operate and sustain these much needed member benefits in light of the continually rising cost of doing business. The proposed new dues structure, which will be voted on at the Annual General Meeting, will enable the NCA to sustain operations, maintain current benefits and be in position to develop new programs. The NCA also has a need to strengthen its foundation and provide greater protection for the association, its leaders and membership. This need can be accomplished through the proposed Incorporation of the NCA and the proposed amendm ents to our Bylaws that will be considered and discussed at the Annual General Meeting. Clearly your attendance at both parts of the Annual General Meeting, which take place during Convention ’07, is very important. This year’s convention should prove to be one of the best yet in terms of fun, networking and learning opportunities. Be there, be a sponge and absorb all you can. I guarantee you can learn ways to immediately improve your bottom line and many times ov er pay for your trip to Texas! And what does the future hold for the NCA? There are capable leaders who want to make a difference for you and the Association. The future can be greater opportunity and benefits for show caves through the NCA. I envision that we can achieve these goals and still hold onto the characteristics that 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! I look forward to seeing each of you in San Antonio Tex as this October at Convention ’07. If you still haven’t registered and booked your room please do it now, it’s not too late! If there is anything I can do to help you or if you have any suggestions on what we can do to make the NCA even better please let me know. God Bless, President National Caves Association NCA CONVENTION ‘07 Country music artist Charlie Pride once sang, “Is anybody goin’ to San Antone?” Well, we hope YOU are going to San Antonio for NCA Convention ’07, October 20-25. The Texas Hill Country should be starting to put on its autumn finery, and the weather should be splendid. Moreover, this Convention offers you many of the experiences you have requested on convent ion exit surveys, and it offers y ou options that will allow you to customize the experience to suit yourself. There will be speakers or presentations on topics relating to resource science as well as business operations and management. There will be multiple opportunities for you to network with other attendees, exchange ideas, problems and solutions to problems. There will be a Retail Vendor Display area that remains set up for the entire C onvention so you can browse at your leisure samples of merchandise offered by them and take home contact and ordering information. There will be a one-day Trade Show that brings you into personal contact with providers of services as well as products that we consume as an industry. You will have the option to visit all of the NCA-Member Texas show caves and the Bracken Bat Cave and to go behind-the-scenes at Natural Bridge Caverns to see how one member cave does


3 much of what it does. We promise to feed you like fam ily and keep you entertained like the VIPs you are. You will be lodged within short walking distance of the famous San Antonio Riverwalk dining, shopping and entertainment district, and you will ev en have some free time in the schedule to enjoy it. NCA Convention ’07 is truly an event you do not want to miss. Speaking of lodging, if you have not yet made your room reservations at the San Antonio Sheraton-Gunter Hotel, you had better get right on it. The hotel has extended the original September 20th deadline because they were experiencing problems with their web link rese rvation system. If you tri ed unsuccessfully to reserve a room before Sept 20th, please try again. After September 28, 2007, the hotel will no longer hold back our requested block of rooms, but they will sell the unreser ved rooms from our block of rooms to any guest who calls and wants a room. If you hesitate, t here is a good chance that after September 28th, you will not be able to get a room at the host hotel. By comparing our list of registered attendees to the list of reserved rooms, it is apparent that some of you have registered for the Convention but have not reserved y our room. We also note that some have made room reservations but have not sent in their convention registra tion. Please check your preparations to make sure you have done both the room reservation and convention r egistration. You can access both processes from the NCA Convention website at You can complete your room reservation entirely on line through a link on this website. To register for the Convention, print the registration form off the website, complete it and mail it and your fee payment with it as directed on the form. If you are receiving Cave Talk via regular mail and need to make room reservations and/or register for the Convention, here are your directions. Call the S heraton Gunter Hotel, 1-888-999-2089, to make your reservation. Be sure to ask for the National Caves Association group rate. You should have recently received a second mailing of NCA Convention ‘07 information, including a Registration Form for the Convention. Complete that form, enclose your check made out to NCA for the appropriate fees and mail it to Natural Bridge Caverns as directed on the form. The latest Convention ’07 Newsletter is waiting for everyone online at All three of the optional trips offered in conjunction with the Convention have more than enough participants signed up, so all optional trips will be taking place as planned. If you want to check out what is happening on the optional field trips, go to the NCA Convention website, click on A genda, and follow the directions in the very first line at the top of the page. While you are on the website, be sure to check out the latest version of the Convention Agenda and the Agendas for the two parts of the NCA Annual Meeting. We would like to recognize and thank those businesses that are sponsoring different events and segments of NCA Convention ’07. Our current list of sponsors includes Click n Print (internet ticket sales services), Activant Solutions, Inc. (point of sale systems), Sandy Creek Mining Company, Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services, Markel Insurance Company, Certified Folder (brochure creative, printing & distribution), Natural Bridge Caverns and Sonora Caverns. Regional Directors and Committee Chairmen please remember that your written annual report needs to be sent to Susan via e-mail by October 1, 2007. All written reports will be included in the Convention ’07 notebook given to each attendee. For those of you who are already planning what to wear during Convention ’07 activities, we have a few words of advice: when in doubt, wear jeans. As a general rule the dress code for Convention ’07 is business casual. Weather in San Antonio during mid to late October is usually mild & sunny (68 f-85 f) with cool mornings and evenings (60 f-70 f). It is wise to dress in layers so you can add and subtract layers according to the time of day. There may be days you can wear shorts if you ar e outside, and there may be days you need a sweater or light coat, especially in the morning and evening. Bring a light-weight rain jacket. Most of the Texas show caves are around 70 f and are very humid, if not wet. For all the optional field trips and for the day at Natural Bridge Caverns, dress casual and wear comfortable walking shoes that provide good traction on steep, wet surfaces. You can come in “cowboy” attire for the Welcome Reception on Sunday, and then Monday evening will be a good time to dress up just a little if you like. Note: Monday evening event is outside, weather permitting.


4 Call us (210) 651-6101 if you have questions. See y’all soon! Joye, Brad & Travis Wuest Natural Bridge Caverns, Inc. Hosts, NCA Convention ‘07 CONVENTION COMMITTEE It is that time of year when thoughts turn to NCA Convention and reconnecting with your NCA friends and family! We hope everyone has made their plans to a ttend Convention ’07 in San Antonio, Texas. If you somehow missed all the communications and promotions, go right now to and check it out. There is an awesome combination of experiences planned to inform, educate and entertain you. Plus, there are several important items of business on the agenda for the Annual Meeting of the NCA that is always held during the Convention. You still have time to register and attend! The Heart of Texas is a great place to visit in October. The Convention Committee will meet at 8:30 AM on Sunday October 21, 2007, at the Sheraton-Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, Texas. All committee members are urged to attend. Also, please contact me if you would like to put anything on the agenda for this upcoming meeting. If anyone is interested in serving the NCA as a member of the Convention Committee, please contact me via e-mail, or call me at 210.651.6101. Or you can contact Susan at the NCA office and let her know of your interest. Even while we are anticipating Texas and this year’s meeting and Convention, plans are already underway for future meetings and Conventions. NCA Convention ’08 will be held at a brand new facility, Lake Raystown Resort and Conference Center in Pennsylvania. Dates for Convention ’08 are October 6-10, but there will likely be pre-convention options on October 5 and post-convention options on October 11. Ann and Marian Dunlavy of Lincoln Caverns head up an energetic group of Pennsylvania hosts for Convention ’08, so expect to hear more from this group in the very near future. For NCA Convention ’09 we will be heading back to the west coast and, like the Beverly Hillbillies, it will be “California, here we come!” Linda Larsen and Steve Fairchild are experienced convention hosts, so expect great things for Convention ’09 in California! We need Convention hosts for 2010 and beyond. If you or a group of members in your area are interested in hosting an NCA Convention in the future, please contact me or any member of the Convention Committee to talk about it. You will find a list of members of the Convention Committee and their contact information on the NCA website,, under the members secti on. Convention ’07 in San Antonio might be a good opportunity for you to get together with other members in your region to talk about hosting a future Convention. There will be many former Convention hosts in attendanc e to answer your questions and advise you. See y’all in San Antonio! Joye Wuest Chairman NCA Convention Committee 09/20/07 ANSWERING QUESTIONS ABOUT RADON Tom Aley, President, Ozark Underground Laboratory, Inc. The NSS (National Speleological Society) has a publication called the Journal of Cave and Karst Studies (JCKS) that comes out two or three times a year. The most recent issue, dated April 2007 but which arrived in mid-September, has an article on cave radiation. This journal is mailed to all members of the NSS and a number of cave guides are members of this organization. As a result, it is likely that the article will lead to some questions directed to owners and managers of NCA -member caves by employees or perhaps from


5 members of the media. I hope the following comments will help address concerns that may be raised by the article. The article is by Malcolm Field and is entitled: “Risks to cavers and cave workers from exposures to low-level ionizing alpha radiation from Radon 222 decay in caves.” That title certainly gets your attention. Dr. Field is a long-time EPA employee in their Washington, D.C. Office of Research and Development. He is also the editor of JCKS. While the JCKS is (at least supposedly) a “peer-reviewed” journal, gross fundamental errors in the Field article indicate that this article either rece ived no peer review or else the review was conducted by persons lacking the expertise to conduct a professional-grade peer review. Let me give an example of a fundamental error in Dr. Field’s article. One of the sentences in the abstract of the paper is as follows: “Comprehensive reviews of the published literature and an understanding of exposure time suggests that commercial cave workers (e.g., tour guides) and commercial uranium mine workers are both exposed for the same number of hours per month (about 170 h), but cave workers are exposed to much lower radon concentrations than are mine workers.” Show-cave guides, except in unusual conditions, are not in caves for about 170 hours per month as Dr. Field states. The Ozark Underground Laboratory (OUL) conducted a study for the NCA in 1976-77 and found that the mean annual number of hours spent working in show caves was 372 hours per person and that 98% of show cave workers spend less than 800 hours per year working in caves. Similar patterns exist today. In simple terms, Dr. Field cannot credibly assess cave employee health risks if hi s calculated exposures are many times greater than actual. In the quoted sentence Dr. Field also states that cave workers are exposed to much lower radon concentrations than are mine workers. This statement is often incorrect. Mines (and not just uranium mines) are artificially ventilated for a number of purposes including maintenance of low alpha radiation concentrations. Because of standards enforced by Mining Safety Health Administration (MSHA) alpha radiation concentrations in mines will almost always be at or below 0.30 Working Levels (WL). Working Levels are the units used in alpha radiation monitoring in the show-cave and mining industries in the United States. It has been decades since miners routinely encountered alpha radiation concentrations in ventilated mine air greater than 0.30 WL, and this concentration is a relatively low value. In contrast, some caves have alpha radiation concentrations greater than those typically encountered in mines, and some have lower concentrations. The general presumption for possible health risks associated with alpha radiation is that the risk is directly dependent upon the total amount accumulated by a person. This means concentration multiplied by time. The assumed increase risk associated with an exposure for one hour to an alpha radiation concentration of 0.5 WL is the same as half an hour exposure to a concentration of 1.0 WL. Dr. Field mentions the NCA Cave Radiation Strategy, but his information is inaccurate and is two years behind our current status. He incorrectly states that individual Cave Radiation Management Plans will be developed following guidelines developed by OSHA. The guidelines were developed by the OUL and NCA under an Alliance Agreement with OSHA; OSHA provided input, but did not develop the guidelines. About a third of the NCA caves have completed their Plans and they have been certified as being in compliance with the NCA cave radiation management strategy. Now to return to the issue of dealing with questions about cave radiation resulting from Field’s paper. First, if an author doesn’t get the fundamental and simple things right (such as the fact that cave guides don’t work full time underground, and that mines are ventilated so that alpha radiation concentrations are greatly reduced) then the credibility of his evaluation of more complex issues is at best suspect. Second, EPA (Dr. Field’s employer) has a long history of inflating the potential se verity of radon and alpha radiation as a health risk; see the book “Element of risk; the politics of radon” publis hed by Oxford University Pr ess. Many of you have purchased copies of this book; if you have not, you s hould. Dr. Field acknowledges support and risk guidance provided by two employees in the EPA Office of Radi ation and Indoor Air. This group and its predecessors have a history of radon risk inflation and questionable science. Unfortunately, Dr. Field has relied on their input.


6 On the positive side of things NCA (through the OUL and our Alliance Agreement with OSHA) has been working intensively on the issue of cave radiation for the last four years. Except for a few government-owned caves, all NCA member caves have been monitored for alpha radiation by the OUL during 2003-2007 and mean monthly alpha radiation values have been devel oped for each cave. All NCA member caves have copies of the following publication: Aley, Tom; Kim Castillon, and John Sagendorf. 2006. Strategy for managing alpha radiation in show caves to protect caves, cave employees, and cave businesses. IN: Proceedings of the 2005 National Cave and Karst Management Symposium, Greyhound Press, pp. 62-71. This is a good reference on what has been accomplished. Furthermore, while scientists like to study issues and write technical papers, NCA has taken major actions to actually protect caves, cave employees, and cave businesses. The Cave Radiation Management Plans that all NCA member caves are to have completed by this fall are an illustration of that. When fully implemented these plans, and their included Best Management Practices, are estimated to cut employee exposure to alpha radiation in the show-cave industry by 50%. One bit of good news in all of this is that EPA does not regulate alpha radiation in caves and any impacts that it might have on cave employees. OSHA, a more scientif ically grounded agency, is responsible for employee health and safety and that is why NCA and the OUL have been working with them on this issue for four years. If you are questioned about the issue, I suggest you s how people your Cave Radiation Management Plan. Part of its design is to handle issues such as those raised by Dr. FieldÂ’s paper. If you havenÂ’t finished your plan yet this would be a wonderful time. If there are questions that I can help you answer please feel free to give me a call. If you have questions from the media I would like to help handle those. Tom Aley 1572 Aley Lane Protem, Missouri 65733 Phone: 417-785-4289 FAX: 417-785-4290 NCA INSURANCE PROGRAM We would like to thank everyone for submitting their r enewal documents in a timely manner. Also, thanks to all of the Insurance Committee Members for their assistance in the completion of a very successful renewal. We will continue to work with Markel to provide t he most competitive and comprehensive insurance program available to our membership. The Gallagher NCA Team has been working very diligently to create more user-friendly insurance applications. Our goal was to create an NCA Insurance Program application to replace the archaic Acord applications that seem to make all NCA Insurance Program participants cringe. The NCA Insurance Program application will simplify the renewal process for everyone involved. It is designed to be very user friendly, and it is NCA and Markel specific. Look for the NCA Insurance Program application to be revealed during the General Session: Insurance Program Presentation is Tuesday, October 23 from 9:00-9:45AM at the NCA Convention in San Antonio, TX. We look forward to seeing you at the Convention. Michael J. Woytowicz Public Entity & Scholastic Division Arthur J. Gallagher RMS, Inc.


7 ISCA PRESIDENT STARTS TO CLOCK UP THE MILES One thing that ISCA President David Summers is finding out is that, while our perceptions may be that the world is growing smaller, it is still a very large plac e. Since the ISCA Board Meeting in Genga, Italy on 31st May 2007, ISCA President David accepted two invitations to attend cave related meetings in August. The first of these was to attend, and take part in, the 2007 Bureau Meeting of the UIS (International Union of Speleology) in Puerto Rico on the 5th and 6th August. UIS uses the French words for its name, hence the abbreviation UIS and not IUS. The UIS is the world caving body of speleology and the difference between it and ISCA can be equated somewhat to the difference between NCA and NSS within the US. The invitation was unusual in that the UIS usually holds closed Bureau Meetings. David felt somewhat akin to Daniel entering the Lion’s Den as a result of this invitation. However, this apprehension was short lived. ISCA and UIS have a Memorandum of Understanding bet ween them wherein both bodies have assumed duties concerning the preservation of caves. Within the Memorandum of Understanding, which is dated 22nd October 2002, the International Show Caves Association and the Union International De Splologi both uphold similar views on cave protection from their respective autonomies. ISCA has undertaken to work for show caves open to the public to be managed in a sustainable and environmentally sound way. UIS will support ISCA in this. UIS and ISCA have a permanent and open exchange and dialogue, based on common trust, on matters of caves preservation. A very useful exchange of ideas occurred during the meeting with UIS. Although several notions, including the concept that UIS should regulate the show caves of the wo rld, were vigorously dispensed with. At this time a good working liaison has been established between UIS and ISCA. What was very apparent from the August 2007 meeting in Puerto Rico is that the show caves of the world, including national bodies, must be vigilant to ensure that they are recognized as the competent body, for not only the operation of show caves, but also the preservation and conservation of their caves. Over 13th to 15th August 2007, President David had the privilege of attending the Baltic Speleological Congress in Visby in Gotland, Sweden. This Congress was well supported with attendees from seventeen different countries. Lummelundagrottan is the only show cave in Gotland and one of the great benefits of attending this Congress was the opportunity to visit this cave, which is a member of ISCA. Lummelundagrottan is ISCA’s most northern member and it was not only interesting to visit this cave and see how the geophysics of the area affects this cave, but also how the show cave and the local speleologists cooperate together. As excellent relationships exists between them based, fundamentally, on mutual respect. On this visit David was able to do what members of NCA are now starting to do when they visit caves overseas, and that is to visit and enjoy the countries that the visited caves are in. Stockholm proved to be an exceptionally fantastic city to visit and we ll worth being placed on your “must see list”. Plans are advancing for the ISCA Conference late in 2008 in the South of France with the theme “Prehistoric Art in Caves”. There will be more information about this provided at the coming Convention. Planning for the 6th Congress in Slovakia in 2010 is also progressing well and there will be more news at the coming Convention about this also.


8 INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF SPELEOLOGY A 6-minute video about the 15th International Congress of Speleology is now available on-line for viewing and downloading. You can find it on the ICS website at along with the 1st ICS Circular (printed in 4 languages) and other information. You can also find the video at where it was created by Dave Socky of Hodag Video Productions. The file is 50 Mb in size. We do not recommend viewing it with a telephone Internet connection, but downloadi ng it onto your computer so it can play well. It can be viewed on-line with a high-speed Internet connection. If you have any difficulty with the video or other aspect of the website, please let us know so we can fix it as soon as possible. George Veni Chairman, 15th International Congress of Speleology NOMINATING COMMITTEE REPORT In advance of our National Caves Association meeting in October, the nominating committee proposes the following slate of candidates for the National Caves Association Board of Directors and Officers. The following candidates have agreed to serve the National Caves Association for this next two year term and come highly recommended by this committee. We greatly appreciate their dedication to this organization. Still, we encourage anyone interested in being considered for the Board of Directors, especially those who may not have been involved in the past to contact any of the committee members listed below prior to the October convention and annual meeting in San Antonio. Currently all officer terms are two years, and assumi ng that the proposed bylaw changes are accepted by the membership, Regional Director Terms will be increased fr om one year to two year terms. In addition, the proposed change to the bylaws would split the Secretary and Treasurer positions, so this slate assumes the passage of that change by the membership as well. President: Steve Thompson – Fantastic Caverns Vice President: Eric Evans – Ohio Caverns Secretary: Susan Berdeaux – Diamond Caverns Treasurer: Joye Wuest – Natural Bridge Caverns (Note that Joye has agreed to serve as Treasurer, but with the caveat that she does not wish to ascend to the office of VP or President at the conclusion of this two year term) Region 1 Director: Greg Beckler Natural Stone Bridge & Caves Region 2 Director: Gary Berdeaux Diamond Caverns Region 3 Director: Claudia Yundt Squire Boone Caverns Region 4 Director: David Thompson Bridal Cave Region 5 Director: Joe Klimczak Cave of the Mounds National Natural Landmark Region 6 Director: Steve Fairchild – California Caverns Region 7 Director: Steve Runkle – Cave of the Winds Region 8 Director: Michelle Devaney – Longhorn Caverns Region 9 Director: Patty Perlaky Raccoon Mountain Caverns Region 10 Director: Jeanne Gurnee – International Special thanks go to Brad Wuest for his dedicated service as President of this organization for these past two years. For the coming two year term Brad will have a continuing position on the Board of Directors as Past President. Brad thanks so much for all you have done, and will continue to do for this organization. Respectfully Submitted, NCA Nominating Committee


9 Joe Klimczak Cave of the Mounds, Chair Eric Evans – Ohio Caverns Les Turilli – Meramec Caverns Best regards, Joe Klimczak General Manager Cave of the Mounds National Natural Landmark NEW PRODUCTS COMMITTEE REPORT – Selling Books After serious consideration, I decided to share our philosophy at Marengo Cave on book sales for a show cave. For years we sold too few books, mainly the old-fashioned cookbooks and joke books and maybe some kids books on bats or nature. I did some research at other caves and found some did very well with book sales and others didn’t. Why? Those who did well made their book area jump out at the cave guest so they couldn’t walk by without stopping. Here are some techniques we’ve used recently, and book sales have expanded nicely. 1. We bought books, books, and more books. So many books that we thought we’d never sell them all. Overall we are pleased with the sales. Variety is the answer. We have everything from cookbooks, to humorous books, to spiritual books, to nature books, to cave books, to kid’s books, to books by local authors, to educational resource books for teachers. Here are some examples: Cookbooks: “Mama’s in the Kitchen” by Barbara Sawell “Aunt Bee’s Mayberry Cookbook by Beck and Clark. Humor: “Railroadin’ Songs, Jokes, & Stories “How to Humor the Ornery People in Your Life” “Hot Flashes and Cold Cream” by Diann Hunt Spiritual: “I Hope You Dance” by Mark Sanders and Tia Sillers “The Salt Garden” by Cindy Martinusin (These books are from Thomas Nelson Publishing – Nature: National Audubon Society books on trees, birds, butterflies, insects, etc. Fandex Family Guides to Nature Cave Books: History book of your cave or book on local geology. One of the many books available from Speleobooks on caves with good explanations of how caves are formed, cave biology and geology. Contact Kids Books: We have found many resources at the Gatlinburg Gift Show for children’s books. We emphasize books on caves and bats or other nature subjects such as farm animals or rocks and minerals. Beyda Books is one resource and Speleobooks is another great source. Books by Local Authors: In our area the late Fred Conway (Squire Boone Caverns) was an author of such books as: “Life of Squire Boone”, Civil War Stories, and the History of Fire Engines”. All have sold well. At Wyandotte we sell the “History of Wyandotte Cave” by local author Angelo George. I’m sure you have interesting local authors in your areas.


10 Teacher Resource Books: These are great sellers. Examples include books on bats, a woods walk, fossils, weather, rocks and minerals, and of course caves. A resource is: Teacher Created Resources, Inc., Westminister, CA. The following is a list of book resources: Wildlife Education (Zoobooks) 12233 Thatcher Court Poway, CA 92064 800-477-5034 Workman Publishing (Humorous and scientific) 225 Varick Street NY, NY 10014-4381 W.J.Fantasy (Great kid’s books) 955 Connecticut Ave. Bridgeport, CT 06607 800-222-7529 Soundprints (Nature and Animal books) 353 Main Ave. Norwalk, CT 06851 800-228-7839 2. The second thing we did to increase book sales was to find a special wall to devote to nothing but books. We put slat wall up and invested in acrylic book holders to display the big variety of books on the slat wall. At both ends of the wall we placed special book display racks provided by book companies. See attached photos. To our surprise we chose a wall that had been a “dead” sales area for us, but the books converted it to a profitable area. 3. The third thing we did to our book area was to provide plenty of light. Nobody has to squint to browse through a book or move to a brighter area of the shop. Guests can see to read easily. Hopefully these techniques and resources will help all of you become successful book sellers at your cave. See you in San Antonio. Judy Smith Marengo Cave Wyandotte Cave Diamond Caverns MONTHLY SUMMARIES At long last, monthly summaries have returned!! Our webmaster, Brandon Mathis, has created an on-line, real time summary section on our website. He has sent the following directions: To view monthly summaries visit: Changing the year or the region will automatically update the graph. To see which states are in a region, click the link to view the region map. Below the graph, you can view individual caves and their comments. Now you can enter your monthly summary informat ion at any time and others in the NCA caves can immediately benefit from your contribution. To submit monthly summaries for your cave 1. Visit:


11 2. Choose your state 3. Choose your cave 4. Set the Date (note: you can input data back to 2005) 5. Enter your percentage (For down, make it negative like -10%) 6. Add any comments you wish to help explain the change. 7. Click submit Note: if you wish you can update your listings at any ti me by following the steps above. After you click submit, you will be asked if you want to overwrite the old data, choose to overwrite and it will update your data. WELCOME BACK, RIO CAMUY! ItÂ’s official! Rio Camuy has formally rejoined the NCA. NCA President Wuest and ISCA President Summers met with park officials in Puerto Rico last winter and were successful in bringing Rio Camuy back into the fold. We are hopeful that representatives from Rio Camuy can join us in San Antonio next month. Welcome letters have been sent by both our president and Region 10 director, Jeanne Gurnee. MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE On May 25, President Bush signed a spending bill that, among other things, amended the FLSA to increase the federal minimum wage in three steps: to $5.85 per hour effective July 24, 2007; to $6.55 per hour effective July 24, 2008; and to $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. For further information, here is a web link: LATER SCHOOL START DATE Early school start dates are a challenge many of our Show Caves have to deal with which cuts into our business and takes away employees at the end of the summer. and are links to 2 great and recent later school start date articles for you to check out. is a link to the Coalition for a Traditional School Year where our members can get more information on this grass roots effort which is making a huge impact on our industry. NEW ADDITION Steve & Diane Thompson are proud to announce the arrival of Steven Lucas Thompson at 7:30 a.m. on July 30. Stats....7 lbs 12 oz...22 inches long and a head full of red hair. Mom...Baby...and Dad are all doing well. Steve & Diane

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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