Robert A. Holt PO Box 625, Cobleskill, NY 12043 E xecutive Director Phone: 573 836 2256 E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.cavern.com July 2013 Message From The President Hope you are ready for another exciting edition of Cave Talk which keeps on going and growing with each month. Do you have a story to tell? Send it to Bob next month! The hectic busy summer season (treadmill?) is here. So take a deep breath, pause, and take a moment to reflect upon the big picture. Why do we do what we do? (boy that was deep!) In the end, perhaps it has something to do with providing a quality experience for each and every guest (our staff too) and hopefully making a living doing so too. There are many factors that contribute to a successful cave operation. While reading this edition, see if the articles spark an idea worth following up on. It could range from forming contacts with the NSS, to adding new exciting attractions (yes, zip lines), to finally saying yes to attending the IGES gift show, to tips on taking care of your cave, guests and staff, to looking good in a mustache (check out the picture of Bob Holt at the end!). Enjoy. Is weather playing a role in your attendance? Is the hot dry or hot wet weather getting you down? Some members are good ab out advertising their cave as a way to escape the ravages of weather variation by offering a consistently good time at a constant temperature and humidity. Others are good at making lemon aid out of lemons when tragedy strikes, such as flooding. Here is a link to a picture of a bridge at our attraction that we almost lost 2 days ago to flooding. It survived and the post on Facebook quickly spread. Did you fill out the Economic Impact Survey? Please take the time to do so, it helps highlight the importance and impact of the show cave industry. Here is a link to the survey. Finally I am getting excited about the look of our new website. Coming soon! Keep moving forward, The Cave State President Doug Campbell and the entire twenty two members of the Missouri Caves Association extend an invitation to visit all of our caves as a pre or post convention activity during the National Caves Association Convention this October 13 18 in Missouri. No matter which direction you come from, you are sure to pass one of our members. Plan to stop in and say hello. We hope to see you all!!!!! A packet of information will soon be heading your way with all the details for the Lake of the Ozarks Convention. OFFICERS President : Greg Beckler N atural Stone Bridge & Cave s NY Ph: 518 494 2283 email@example.com Vice President : Steve Rawlings Mercer Caverns, CA Ph: 209 728 2101 firstname.lastname@example.org Secretary Treasurer : Bob Holt Mercer Caverns, CA Ph: 573 836 2256 email@example.com Past President : Eric Evans Ohio Caverns, OH Ph: 937 465 4017 firstname.lastname@example.org REGIONAL DIRECTORS Region One : (CT, DE, ME, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT) Rob Arey Polar Caves Park NH email@example.com Ph: 603 536 1888 Region Two : (MD, VA, WV, KY) Rho Lansden Lost River Cave & Valley, KY firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: 270 393 0077 Region Three : (IL, IN, MI, OH) Claudia Yundt Squire Boone Caverns, IN email@example.com Ph: 812 732 4382 Region Four : (AR, IA, KS, MO, NE) Steve Thompson Bridal Cave, MO firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: 573 346 2676 Region Five : (MN, MT, ND, SD, WI) Joe Klimczak Cave of the Mounds, WI email@example.com Ph: 608 437 3038 Region Six : (CA, ID, NV, OR, WA, AK, HI, Barbados, Ber muda) Matt Doyle Lake Shasta Caverns, CA firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: 800 795 CAVE Region Seven : (AZ, CO, NM, UT, WY) Steve Runkle Cave of the Winds, CO email@example.com Ph: 719 685 5444 Region Eight : (LA, OK, TX) Ed Mayfield Caverns of Sonora, TX firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: 325 387 3105 Region Nine : (AL, FL, GA, MS, NC, SC, TN,) Patty Perlaky Raccoon Mt. Caverns, TN email@example.com Ph: 423 821 9403
Is this Walter Mercer the Famed Discoverer of Mercer Caverns? You Probably Know Him! own Bernard Ingram, Manager of Mercer Caverns in Murphys, California. Bernard is featured on the front cove r of the April 2013 edition of the NSS News. Bernard peers over the top of the Organ Loft, flanked by the Angel Wings His lantern emulates the li ghting used in 1885 when the cave was discovered and first shown to tourists. Sadly, one of this pair of drape ries was broken by a careless visitor. The remaining drapery is now protected by a plexi glass shield on the side where visitors can closely approach it, but was removed for the photo. The photo was the 1 st runner up in the 2012 NSS Photo Salon and was tak en by David Bunnell for use by the Caverns. Visit www.mercercaverns.com for more photos, cave maps, history, and geology. If you have your very own copy of this special edition, Bernard said he would be obliged to autograph it for you! New Brochure Heading Your Way! Be On The Look out! The 2013 NCA brochure is on its way to you. Thanks to Gary Berdeaux and Graphix Berdeaux, another outstanding piece has been compiled. Those c aves who have a featured photograph will get an extra supply. We hope you enjoy!
Sequoyah Caverns Owner Cites Declining Tourism, Desiring Retirement for Closing Cave A decline in tourists was among the reasons the Jones family decided to close the privately owned Sequoyah Caverns and Ellis Homestead in September. year old patriarch of the family run business that he p ersonally has overseen the past 10 years after decades of leasing the caves to tourism businesses. The tourism industry has changed dramatically since the sharp increase in gas prices in 2007, he said, and people are less inclined to travel off the beaten path to get to the cave. Sequoyah Caverns visitors specifically come for said. The attraction slowly rebounded after the initial nose dive of visitors in 2007, but seems to have peaked at about 12,000 visitors annually, he said. Additionally, Jones said the family closed caverns because he wanted to relax more in his retirement years and his childr en and grandchildren are more interested in other business ventures, including farming the family land. The caves and surrounding property have been in the Jones family since 1842 when James Ellis and his family moved there. The family opened the caverns a family took over operations in June 2003. Unlike other caves, Sequoyah Caverns is full of pools, which reflect the thousands of intricate rock fo rmations and underground creations. Along with the reflection pools, the caverns also feature towering stalagmites, waterfalls and wall writings datin g back to the early 1800s. Park visitors also can mine for gems and watch white fallow deer, goats and she ep graze in the pasture. The property also serves as working farm. It began raising strawberries three years ago and has since added cattle herds and a peach orchard. Because the property has been in the family for such a long time, Jones, the great great grandson of James Ellis, said leasing or selling the caverns to a tourism operator or to the state to establish a permanent park is unlikely. ly, he said. in a way that interferes with their lives. his children or grandchildren re opening for tourists in the future. Since Monday afternoon when news broke of the closing Jones has taken a lot of phone calls from past visitors saddened b y the news. He said he regularly meets visitors who came as children and are bringing their own children now. w would want to come Located off Interstate 59, north of Valley Head Sequoyah Caverns and Ellis Homestead is open Monday Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Sunday. Admission is $15.95 for adults, $8.95 for children and free for children 3 and younger. Thanks to our friend Gary Soule who brought this story to our attention in early June Sequoyah Caverns has been a member of the NCA in the past for a good many years. Hopefully someone out there will take this beautiful cave under their wing and provide many more years of enjoyment for the traveling public. CONGRATULATIONS & BEST WISHES! Our Friends at Indiana Caverns celebrated their Grand Opening Saturday June 15, 2013. We hope to have a full report for you in the August edition of Cave Talk.
Ge t Hooked on C N ewest A dventure at Ruby Falls The Tower ZIP Ride and Climbing Tower are two new features now open at Ruby Falls ZIPstream Aerial Adventure, all in the natural setting of the treetops with something for everyone! This adventur e course offers a great view of Chattanooga 1200 feet above sea level and is open daily through August 9 th from 9 am to 6 pm, with the Tower ZIP Ride open until 8 pm. In addition to the Orange, Green and Blue Diamond Courses already at ZIPstream, the To wer ZIP Ride offers guests a zip line experience without the ropes course elements. sided, 40 foot Climbing Tower is also new onsite, with five routes of varying difficulty. directed course s for children, youth and adults allow participants to move through a series of fun, exciting and increasingly challenging tree to tree activities. The current courses are made up of suspended obstacles built in trees that include ladders, nets, walkways, bridges, tunnels and zip lines! Ruby Falls ZIPstream is operated by The Adventure Guild ( www.theadventureguild.com ). In maintaining the Ruby Falls mission of environmental responsibility, no electricity is used on the course except lights. Ruby Falls is proud to feature LED lighting throughout the castle and waterfall. Ruby Falls is a Chattanooga, TN attraction that i s home to the tallest and deepest underground waterfall accessible to the public in the United States. It is the first US attraction to have received the dual Green Globe/Green Certification by Green Globe International, Inc. Go to www.rubyfalls.com for more or www.rubyfallsZIP.com for info on Ruby Falls ZIPstream Aerial Adventure! Hugh Morrow Ruby Falls Join Us November 5 9, 2013 REGISTER EARLY & WIN!! FREE LODGING GIVEAWAY IGES/SSS is again holding a monthly lodging drawing & YOU could be a winner simply by registering to attend the show! Monthly winners are drawn from the group of pre registered buyers on the last Friday of every month. The final drawing will be o n the first Friday of October. The earlier you register, the greater your chances are of winning 3 nights at the beautiful Wilderness hotel, conveniently lo cated at the Sevierville Convention Center! To see a listing of our 2013 winners to date, visit our website www.iges.us CONGRATULATIONS! Here is our lucky April 2013 winner! Lettie Stickley Grand Caverns Grottoes, Virginia See You In Tennessee Lettie!
NCA Buyers Group Talk Three Rules That Impact Gift Shop Sales Early in our employment at Talking Rocks Cavern, our boss, Bruce Herschend, shared with us three rules: Take care of our natu ral resource, take care of each other, and take care of our guests. Chris and I work in management at Talking Rocks, and our job wa s to implement these rules. What we want to share with you is how these three rules impacted many aspects of the business, includi ng increasing gift shop sales! tural resource. The goal is to keep the cave in its most natural condition possible. This is done by insuring that the cavern is well maintained: burned out lights are pr omptly replaced, algae is addressed, electric wires are concealed, and trash is picked up. When the guest feels good about their cave tour experience, the likely response is to purchase a souvenir. Caring for the natural resource increases merchandise sales. Taking care of each other is the second rule, and the focus here is on developing a healthy team. Conscientious leadership is essential for this goal to be achieved. Some key elements are to encourage your staff members by clearing stating expectations and then by expressing appreciation. Support your staff b y taking an interest in them and by offering a listening ear. Set an example by not talking behind their back or gossiping. When you see weaknesses in a staff member, address the issue in a positive manner, rather than ignoring or white washing over it. How do you view your staff? Are they viewed as a liability due to the high cost of payroll, as well as the time and energy that it takes to oversee them? Another perspective is to view your staff as an investment. When owners and management invest through words of encouragement, by showing them respect and offering support, this produces motivated, loyal staff members w ho try harder to do their job well (even when their superior is not around!). Long term cave guides who are valued have the fortitude they need to continue to 500 th cave tour, and a sincere, helpful gift shop staff member trumps an over zealous sales pitch any day. A quality staff is essential in order to take care of the guests, which is the final rule. Our goal is to provide an excellent guest experience. The first step we take is to make each guest feel welcome and appreciated. This is accomplished by greeting them with a sincere hello. communication! Make eye contact and smile as you greet them. We encourage our staff to be informative by stating cave tour times, as well as sharing with them what else there is to do on the property. Finally, show initiative by anticipating the guests need before they ask. Guests who feel at home are much more motivated to patronage the gift shop, as well as write reviews can be seen for years to come by potential guests! After almost two decades of working at Talking Rocks Cavern, we have seen the fruit which is produced when these three rules are consistently applied. Staff members who are treated with respect and appreciation show a vested interest in the com pany. They handle the cave with great care and work guests spend more time and money in the gift shop, sharing their experience with others. These thr ee rules make dollars and sense! The folks in this 2009 photo continue working at Talking Rocks Cavern in 2013. They represent more than half of the total team members. An employee birthday party lunch is one way we show our staff they are valued. The company purchases their birthday cake and ice cream, a birthday lunch for them as well The staff and everyone signs their birthday card, which includes a gift certificate to use in the gift shop. It's wonderful, and especially appreciated by those staff members who may not have family to celebrate with them.
T hought to Ponder : Consider referring to those who visit your cavern and gift shop as your guest, rather than a stomer implies relationship, while a customer equates to a transaction. Chris & Jody Gertson Talking Rocks Cavern, Branson West, MO he 2013 Convention Vendor Show Stonecraft, Brushart, Driftwood Pueblo, Calico Cottage, A.T. Storrs, Prairie Mountain, Grandma's Soap, Safari Ltd,. IGES, OPI, Squire Boone Village, Pikes Peak, Village Originals, Web Printing, Hogeye, Fun Pictures Online, Lipco, Rocky Hop, Accelerando, Paykock, LW Bristol, Lamar Advertising, TAP Packaging, Lake Printing, Western Woods, Taste of the Rockies, Joy Enterprises, Oceanic Linkways, Wish Pets, Ouray. Pin Trading Time at Convention and t he last time we exchanged cave pins was at the Branson Convention in 2009. do it again! So when you pack your bags save some room for pins from your cave to exch ange with your NCA family! As customary, we will have an offi cial 2013 NCA Convention pin for you. WNS Committee Report Both Wisconsin and Michigan announced that their surveys did not find any WNS. The focus now in many states is education and some states are looking for volunteers to count bats. NSS News distribution of Geomyces destructans, the fungus that causes white nose syn at do not cause harm to bats. G. destructans was only found in soils in h ibernacula which had bats with WNS. Patty Perlaky WNS Committee Chair Ch arlie Steichen & Chuck Oller both work at Talking Rocks C avern for over 10 years now Chuck is seen in his caving gear as periodically staff will go on wild caving trips together
People Turn Out to Oppose Subdivision Near Bracken Bat Cave The San Antonio City Council spent three hours Wednesday night May 29 th listening to people opposed to the planned Crescent Hills subdivision next to the Bracken Bat Cave in southern Comal County. More than 200 people packed the council chambers and frequently rose to their feet in support of the 34 speakers who criticiz ed the 1,545 acre development south of the cave. The homes built there would be directly under the main flyway of the 10 million to 20 million Mexican free tailed bats that call the cave home from spring to fall. No one spoke for the development. Andy Walker executive director of Bat Conservation Inter national, which owns the cave. The council cannot stop Galo Properties from moving forward with the subdivision, but Walker said BCI was there to see if there was a way to work together to find a solution. Environmental attorney James Cannizzo we should all be looking at ways to add this tract into the chain of golden the land or pay Galo to lower the density of the development drew wide support from the crowd. The devel oper is open to the idea, according to Gene Dawson of Pape Dawson Engineers, who is working with Galo on the development. a The most frequent request to the council was to ask the San Antonio Water System board to reverse its decision to provide water service for 3,800 hom es and sewer service for 3,500. ecologically and economically poor decision to run Steve Hixon a board member of the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance The concern of those who care about the bats is that the construction of the development or the risk of the bats spreading rabies to residents could lead to the bats being driven away or the cave being sealed. Urban biologist Jessica Alderson with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department reminded the council that bats provide insect control to farmers in Central Texas, at an estimated annual v alue of $740,000. The cave is home to the largest bat colony in the world, according to BCI, which also owns a 697 acre preserve that surrounds it. The development is over the recharge zone of the Edwards Aquifer and will require SAWS to expanded its netw ork of water and sewer pipes more than 5 miles beyond its current service area. The development also is seen as a threat to the integrity of the nei ghboring $7 million endangered golden cheeked warbler preserve set up by Bexar County and the Army. Mayor Julin Castro said it's too early in the process to comment on the issues surrounding the propo sed development and th at city staff is examining them. Susan Hughes director of the Green Spaces Alliance and vice chairwoman of the Edwards Aquifer Authority board, asked the council to protect the aquifer and the bat cave, warning that the subdivision, if built, is irreversible. She then asked the council how many of them had been to the Bracken Bat Cave. None of them had. BCI offers public viewings of the bats departing the cave from sprin g until fall. Colin McDonald Staff Writer, My SA The NCA 2007 Convention was held in San Antonio where we witnessed the evening bat flight at Bracken Bat Cave.
Business Climate in the Ozarks I'd like to put in a tidbit that Arkansas had its first ever recorded Snowfall in May on the 3rd. It didn't accumulate enough to call off school, but caused a large downturn in business throughout the Ozarks and we haven't recovered since. After talki ng to different businesses in MO and AR its been way down i n attendance since Spring break, which had a good March. It will be a struggle to make up, but they may be waiting for the weather to warm up, since its been a cooler than normal spring. Its pretty bad when Jan/F eb are busier than May. I noticed that scho ol groups have been few and far between for most of us (with the exception of War Eagle Cavern) and we plan to remedy that this fall. For those th Randy Langhover Cosmic Cavern Ex Commercial Show Caves Article Featured in NSS News The May, 2013, issue of the NSS News, put out by the National Speleological Society, should be of tremendous historical interest to all NCA members, and their staffs. A very unusual eight page feature article covers the ex commercial show cave brochures of archivist from Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. A total of 81 different, rare old cave brochures have their front covers reproduced! Over 30 are in full color! (See the two sample pages reproduced nearby.) These are but a sample from the extensive show cave arc hival files Gary has discovered, assembled, and researched over the past half a century. You may have seen previously in the NSS News many colored pages of reproduced show cave patches that he has archived. Know of any other brochures? Gary can be reache d at firstname.lastname@example.org and would like to hear from you. Your Friend, Gary Soule Show Cave Archivist and Wr iter 224 South 7th Avenue Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin 54235 2216 Note: fantastic article in the NSS Ne ws: https://docs.google.com/a/wisconsincaves.org/viewer?a=v&pid=sites& srcid=d2lzY29uc2luY2F2ZXMub3JnfHdzc3xneDoyNjc0N2E2OTYwZGE5MzVk
e 19 84 WE N EED YOUR HELP!! NCA Making History Countdown to Our 50 th Anniversary In 2015 the NCA will celebrate our 50 th Anniversary. Steve Rawlings and Bob Holt are heading up the History Committee. We are looking for photographs from conventions and photographs from your cave that might include some of our former and current members. The plan is to put together both a commemorative booklet and video for our big celebration. If you have such items that you would like to share, please scan them and send them to to do that, please send the originals and we will copy them and return them to you. History Committee Chairmen Steve Rawlings email@example.com Bob Holt firstname.lastname@example.org Mark Your Calendar! International Congress of Speleology 2013, Brna, Czech Republic, July 21 28, 2013 NSS Convention 2013, Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, August 5 9, 2013 NCA Convention 2013, Host: Bridal Cave, Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, October 13 18, 2013 IGES/SSS 2013, Sevierville & Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, November 5 9, 2013 IAAPA 2013, Orlando, Florida, November 18 22, 2013 Tucson Gem and Mineral Shows 2014, Tucson, Arizona, Feb ruary 1 16, 2014 NCA Mid Winter Board of Directors Meeting, Renaissance Airport Hotel, St. Louis, Missouri, March 3 5, 2014 NSS Convention 2014, NSS Headquarters, Huntsville, Alabama, July 14 18, 2014 NCA Convention 2014, Host: Cave of the Winds, Co lorado Springs, Colorado, September 22 26, 2014 International Show Caves Association Congress 2014, Jenolan Caves, New South Wales, Australia, November 2 8, 2014 IGES/SSS 2014, Sevierville & Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, November 4 8, 2014 IAAPA 2014, Orl ando, Florida, November 17 21, 2014 Tucson Gem and Mineral Shows 2015, Tucson, Arizona, January 31 February 15, 2015 NSS Convention 2015, Rolla, Missouri August ? 2015 NCA Convention 2015, (50 th Anniversary) Host: Cave of the Mounds, Blue Mounds, Wisconsin, (Dates to be Determined) IGES/SSS 2015, Sevierville & Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, November 3 7, 2015 IAAPA 2015, Orlando, Florida, November 16 20, 2015 NSS Convention 201 6 Ely, Nevada, July 17 23, 2016 Got News? Please make sure you let Bob Holt know when you have news to share with the membership regarding you and your cave It is the goal of the NCA office to produce more issues of Cave Talk and this can only happen when you help with the sharing of your news. P lease send your articles, photographs to email@example.com August 2013 Cave Talk Deadline Please have all articles to Bob Holt no later than July 15. Thank you! Dave and Reddy Candelaria, owners of Ice Caves & Bandera Volcano in Grants, New Mexico are entertaining Bob Holt at their cave Bob recalls that it was a light snowy day and after visiting the cave and walking up to the volcano with Dave; they headed back down to the house and Reddy h ad a pot o f homemade green chile stew waiting to warm them up! She sure was a terrific cook and we day filled with fun and laughter! according to Bob
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.