Cave Talk

Cave Talk

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Cave Talk
Series Title:
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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(April 2015)
General Note:
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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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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K26-00999 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.999 ( USFLDC Handle )
21091 ( karstportal - original NodeID )

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Karst Information Portal

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Robert A. Holt PO Box 625, Cobleskill, NY 12043 E xecutive Director Phone: 518 231 5420 E mail: 1965 Celebrating Our 50th Year 2015 April 2015 Message From The President Greetings from out West, I hope that all of you who have been suffering through another very cold winter are finally starting to thaw out, at least a little bit. For those of you who have been fortunate enough to avoid all of that freezing cold that the Northeast and Midwest ha ve been going through it looks like it's getting to be time to start gearing up for spring break and the upcoming summer season. Good luck! Your Board of Directors met in St. Louis on March 3 & 4 for their annual mid winter meeting. I think it's safe to say that if the weather had been a bit more cooperative we would have had a full on time turnout for the meeting but the weather being what it is we weren't that lucky. After a myriad of flight delays and cancellations due to Mother Nature wreaking hav oc on the eastern half of the nation, the board was able to meet and get to work. The board did get a visit from Frank Hurley of Jacob's Cave, who decided to sit in on the proceedings to see if the board actually does work at these meetings. Thanks for t he visit Frank and thanks for your input during the meeting. The insurance committee met on Tuesday morning to kick things off. Your insurance committee led by chairman Brad Wuest and working with Keith Dobrolinsky and Pat O'Sullivan is hard at work tryi ng to gather up the necessary information to determine if the NCA can put a self insurance program together. Many of you have provided information to move this project forward and we're hoping that anyone who hasn't provided insurance information to the c ommittee will do so as the first step in getting this project moving. For more information on this project please feel free to contact Brad, Keith or Pat. After the insurance committee meeting the board met Tuesday afternoon and most of the day on Wednes day addressing a variety of issues. These issues ranged from a review of the association's finances to regional reports to committee reports, to the appointment of a nominating committee as this is an election year, awards, advertising, social media, etc. etc. Needless to say, there were plenty of topics discussed during the two day meeting. OFFICERS President : Steve Rawlings Mercer Caverns, CA Ph: 209 728 2101 Vice President : Patty Perlaky Raccoon Mt. Caverns, TN Ph: 423 821 9403 Secretary Treasurer : Bob Holt Mercer Caverns, CA Ph: 518 231 5420 Past President : Greg Beckler N atural Stone Bridge & Caves, NY Ph: 518 494 2283 et REGIONAL DIRECTORS Region One : (CT, DE, ME, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT) Rob Arey Polar Caves Park NH Ph: 603 536 1888 Region Two : (MD, VA, WV, KY) John Graves Luray Caverns, VA john.graves@luraycaverns. com Ph: 540 743 6551 Region Three : (IL, IN, MI, OH) Claudia Yundt Squire Boone Caverns, IN Ph: 812 732 4382 Region Four : (AR, IA, KS, MO, NE) Dennis Boyer War Eagle Cavern, AR Ph: 479 789 2909 Region Five : (MN, MT, ND, SD, WI) Tom Hagen Rushmore Cave, SD Ph: 60 5 255 4467 Region Six : (CA, ID, NV, OR, WA, AK, HI, Barbados, Bermuda) Matt Doyle Lake Shasta Caverns, CA Ph: 800 795 CAVE Region Seven : (AZ, CO, NM, UT, WY) Steve Beckley Glenwood Caverns, CO Ph: 970 945 4CAV Region Eight : (LA, OK, TX) Ed Mayfield Caverns of Sonora, TX Ph: 325 387 3105 Region Nine : (AL, FL, GA, MS, NC, SC, TN ) Tim Lacy DeSoto Caverns Park AL Ph: 256 378 7252 Director s at Large Steve Runkle Cave of the Winds, CO Ph: 719 685 5444 Aaron Ginn Sierra Nevada Recreation, CA a sginn Ph: 209 736 2708


One of the topics that was recently approved by the general membership was the new complimentary cave membership for federal and state caves. The board has already approved complimentary memberships for Wind Cave, Jewel Cave, Kartchner Caverns, Rickwood Caverns and Blanchard Springs Caverns. Your regional directors are working on getting some more federal and state caves as complimentary members so stay tuned for up dates. A big THANKS goes to Tom Hagen for his tireless efforts in bringing several of these cave s back into the NCA and he's hoping to add Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park shortly. Great work Tom! Another THANKS goes to Dennis Boyer for helping to bring Blancard Springs Caverns back into the fold. If you haven't already heard the NCA brochure will be getting a facelift with the upcoming printing There will be more spots available for pictures so if you've wanted your picture in the brochure but have been on the waiting list now is the perfect opportunity to get into the brochure and also on the website's photo gallery. If you're interested in getting your cave's photo into the new brochure or would just like some additional information, please contact Bob Holt right away as we expect these additional spots to fill up quickly With respect to media and advertising, we're hoping to have a presen tation at the annual convention on how to use social media to drive people to your website, your Facebook page, your Google+ page, etc. We believe that these are still underused FREE media/advertising sources that can directly benefit the members. With th e help and patience of our electronic media committee, Matt Doyle and Ed Mayfield, we hope to have a workshop that starts with the basics of how to use social media on your computer, tablet, cell phone and moves on toward more advanced ways to use social m edia to achieve your goals so start thinking about the questions you want to ask. The planning for the annual convention is moving right along. We hope that we get a big turnout in Wisconsin for the NCA's 50th Anniversary. After Wisconsin, the 2016 convention will be in French Lick, Indiana, the 2017 convention is in the planning stages and looking towards Hannibal, Missouri, and Tennessee will be a convention site in 2018 The board voted to do another economic survey, hopefully with the help of T exas A&M again. The last survey proved to be very helpful in raising awareness among vendors at the amount of business the show cave industry does on an annual basis. For those of you who are aware of the recent traffic generator sign issue that occurred in Missouri in December, the information in the economic survey was provided to state legislators to show the importance of the show cave industry on local and state economies and we believe it helped in getting a favorable result for our Missouri cave me mbers. We believe that the industry information generated by the economic survey is invaluable to show the economic significance of the show cave industry when we have to deal with issues such as WNS, cave closures, sign legislation, or when we have to show the media the importance of the show cave industry, not only on local and state economies but on the national economy as well. All in all the meeting went well and we believe we accomplished a lot. Your board worked hard for those two days and for some three days in St. Louis and this is only a summary of what took place. I want to thank everyone who attended the meetings. I know that you all dedicate your personal time and finances for the good of the association and I want you all to know that y our dedication is very much appreciated. On a final note, our past president Greg Beckler was taken ill during the meeting and ended up going to a local hospital. Fortunately, although Greg had to stay a few additional days in St. Louis, he did recover en ough to fly home after the rest of the board had left. Greg, we all hope you're doing much better. A special THANKS to Brad Wuest for helping Greg out while he was ill and for keeping the board informed on his condition. Never a dull moment at these me etings.... That's it for now. Thanks for patiently reading along. Steve Rawlings President


Mammoth Cave National Park Increases Admission Fee The modest fee increase that was Mammoth Cave National Park last year was scheduled to take effect on March 14th. Park staff have announced that cave tours increase d by $1 to $2, except the Wild Cave tour, which increase d by $5, and camping fees increase d by $3 to $5. Fees for to reserve picnic shelters increase d by $25. Some of these have not changed in seven or more years. The rates have been adjusted to match comparable services in the local area as per NPS requirements. We asked for modest increases because we want to ensure that visiting Mammoth Cave will remain affordable. However, the cost of operating the pa rk continues to increase along with the need to complete improvement projects on aging park infrastructure. In total, we expect the fee increase to bring an additional $350,000 to the park this year" said Sarah Craighead, Mammoth Cave National Park Superin tendent This year, income from park fees will fund renovations at the Mammoth Cave Hotel. At Mammoth Cave, 80 percent of the money collected is used in the park to provide facilities and services that have direct benefit to park visitors. The remaining 20 percent helps support projects in the 270 national park units that do not charge entrance fees, such as nearby Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park in Hodgenville, Kentucky. Mammoth Cave Adapts To Living With White Nose Syndrome With as much as 80 percent decline in some bat species compared to 2013 numbers, white nose syndrome is taking its Mammoth Cave National Park In response, Mammoth Cave S uperintendent Sarah Craighead Outbreak Investigation Team, who traveled to the park in December 2014. Made up of wildlife veterinarians, epidemiologists, and public health officials, the team review ed park operations and discussed options with the park managers. One issue the team examined was the increased potential for contact between bats and humans, both inside and outside the cave. In addition to waking the bats, WNS also causes them to behave erratically, thereby increasing the potential for contact with humans. In 2014 there were eleven reports of such contact in the park. Bats that have WNS lose their ability to maneuver quickly around objects, like people. Bats can carry diseases, such as rabies, and though transmission rates are very low, there is a risk that cannot be totally dismissed. However, we consider the risk of a person contracting rabies from a bat at Mammoth Cave to be small," said Rick Toomey Mammoth Cave International Center for Science and Learning Director. White nose syndrome, a cold hibernation, when their body temperatures and immune systems are reduced. It causes bats to awake from h ibernation and fly from the cave, exposing them to the elements and wasting energy and fluids vital to their survival. Dead bats are found to be underweight and dehydrated. This is a wildlife crisis, unprecedented in our time. There is no known cure for white nose syndrome. With the help of wildlife veterinarians and public health officials, however, we have developed plans to minimize its spread by visitors traveling from the park. We are also communicating with our visitors and partners, and are respond ing to ch anging situations as they occur," said Sarah Craighead, Mammoth Cave Superintendent


Currently, the park is continuing with scheduled cave tours, adapting times and routes in response to bat activity. Bat research and bat monitoring are also contin uing. The Park urges visitors who come in physical contact with bats to consult with a trusted healthcare provider. There is an inherent risk in entering a wild place. Park employees make sure visitors are aware of what they may encounter. The visitors then decide if it is an acceptable personal risk. Newest Member Of Our Cave Family Colton James Key was born March 6, 2015. He came out screaming and was 6 lb 1 oz and 19 inches long. Colton is the son of Jordan and Katy (Richards) Key. Proud first time grandparents are Jim & Sheryl Richards of Bluespring Caverns, Indiana. Little Colton was born with a heart defect and has undergone surgery and remains in the hospital at the time of this writing. The family appreciates y our thoughts, prayers and kind words of support. Let's keep them coming! Gurnee Guide to American Show Caves Is the Gurnee Guide on your shelves? order! Orders for the all color book, "Gurnee Guide to American Show Caves" by Jeanne Gurnee, can be purchased for $10 each from R. H. Gurnee, Publisher, 720 Flat Ridge Road, Go o dlettsville, Tennessee 37072. E mail: ; Phone: (615) 581 0646 Penny Books We have lots of "Caves of America" Penny Books available at the NCA office If you are in need of a supply please let Bob know at We will get them shipped to you ASAP. Place them in your Gift Shop or right near your Penny Machine. The cost is $1.80 each plus postage We sell them by the dozen. ORDER NOW!


Western Kentucky University Summer Karst Field Stud ies Program Western Kentucky University Department of Geography and Geology and in cooperation with the Mammoth Cave International Center for Science and Learning are pleased to announce the launch of th e Summer 2015 Karst Field Studies Program. Courses this summer will include: Cave Archaeology, June 1 6, Dr. George Crothers Karst Hydrogeology of the Ozarks, May 31 June 7, Dr. Robert Lerch and Ben Miller, MsC Research Methods for Cave and Karst Sc ience June 17 21, Dr. Jason Polk Courses may be taken for graduate, undergraduate, or continuing education credit. Courses may also be taken just for fun as non credit workshops. Registration officially ends May 8, but be sure sign up early for discounted registration. For more information about the program, courses, how to register, and instructors, please visit If you have any questions please contact the Karst Field Studies Director, Dr. Leslie North, at "Like" us on Facebook at Karst Field Studies (WKU/Mammoth Cave). Hope to see you this summer! Dr. Leslie A. North Assistant Professor Department of Geography and Geology National Cave and Karst Research Institute DeepKarst 2016 Call for Papers Are you interested in deep groundwater flow in karst ? How it affects cave and aquifer development? Mineral deposition? Distribution of cave species? Land management? If so, mark 11 14 April 2016 on your calendars and come to Carlsbad, New Mexico, USA, for DeepKarst 2016: Origins, Resources, and Management o f Hypogene Karst We are now accepting for papers that focus on hypogenic karst, which is formed by rising groundwater and is a growing field of interest with much to learn and refine. The conference is being organized by the National Cave and Karst Resea rch Institute of the USA in cooperation with Karst Hydrogeology and Speleogenesis Commission of the International Union of Speleology. For more details, visit for major topical themes and all of the in advance of papers for this conference so simply send your papers by 1 August 2015. If you have any questions, please contact me (all of my contact information is at the bottom of this message). 2015 Habe Cave and Karst Protection Prize Named for the late esteemed speleologist Dr. France Habe of Slovenia, the Habe Prize is awarded by the Depart ment of Karst and the Cave Protection of the International Union of Speleology (UIS). Its purpose is to promote the protection of karst and caves for generations to come by recognizing a group or individual working to support karst and cave protection. The natural legacy of karst and caves are proven sources of increasingly rich information about the history of our planet and humanity, enabling people to act more thoughtfully, efficiently, and sustainably for the future of our environment. Nominations for the must be received by May 20, 2015. For more information: George Veni, Ph.D. Executive Director National Cave & Karst Research Institute


Letter From The Chairman Of The Insurance Committee Dear NCA Member: At our recent NCA Insurance Committee meeting, we discussed the progress of the feasibility study to create our own insurance program via an Association Sponsored Captive. Hopefully by now, you have received the many communications on this unique opportunity. To date, we have had much interest but it is clear the collection of the data we requested has been cumbersome a t best. We have a solution. But, first let me remind everyone why we are going down this path. Currently the NCA has a great traditional Group Insurance Program but there is a better option for ALL member caves. For example the current NCA Insurance pro gram collects premiums totaling more than $1M per year. For every dollar collected by the insurance companies only about 20% is paid out in claims because we have such good loss experience. Add in reasonable expenses of about 40% and the insurance compani es are getting about 40% profit! And this does not even include the investment income they earn on the premiums we pay!!!! We think the insurance companies are being paid way too much. If your insurance losses are anything like those experienced by part program with many benefits, you are paying too much for your insurance too. Now profits at reasonable limits are justified for our exposures but our brokers, your NCA Insurance Committee an d NCA Board of Directors feel that those profits, or a percentage of the profit, could and should go back to the NCA Member caves. And, we can do this while improving coverages and services specifically needed by cave owners. So, back to our solution. H elp us complete the first step which is the feasibility study. Please send the following information to: Nadine Moser PRO Insurance Services, Inc. 13159 W. 143rd Street Homer Glen, IL 60491 We will need a complete set of all in force policies. Make sure all pages are copied both front and back. In addition, we will need five years plus the current year of loss experience valued as of March 2015. Your insurance broker can easily provide this to you. Please note that we wi ll keep this information in the strictest of confidence and for the intention of our feasibility study and future risk underwriting. Once the data is received, we will complete that dreaded workbook for you. Please note that if additional materials are nee ded, we will let you know. But, please know that we will do everything possible to respect your precious time. If you have any questions regarding this insurance program or would like to know more about it, please feel free to contact Keith Dobrolinsky ( phone 847 463 7345, mobile 630 417 5918, email ); Pat O'Sullivan (phone 708 675 1535, mobile 708 655 5444, email ); or me Brad Wuest (phone 210 651 6101, email ) at your convenience. Thank you in advance for your participation. Brad Wuest NCA Insurance Committee Chairman


NCA Insurance Column insurance information, news, education and industry hilarity! Cave Risk Management Opportunities Following are vehicle recommendations to support cave risk management and loss control activities. Vehicle Operation Reinforce safe driving practices with all drivers. Areas of particular importance might focus on: Increased awareness at intersections; such as maintaining safe stopping distances and adhering to traffic control systems (i.e. traffic signals and signage) vehicles Safety Administration, and the Occupat ional Safety and Health Administration has produced a very useful document called the Guidelines for Employers to Reduce Motor Vehicle Crashes. NETS recommends a 10 step program to minimize crash risk: 1. Encourage senior management commitment and employee in volvement. Ask senior management to provide leadership, set policies, and allocate resources to create a safety culture. Actively encourage employee participation at all levels of the organization, and include employees in the initial planning phase. 2. Provi de written policies and procedures. Create a clear, comprehensive, and enforceable set of traffic safety policies and communicate them to all employees. Post them throughout the workplace, distribute copies periodically, and discuss the policies at meeting s. Offer incentives for sticking to the rules, and point out the consequences of disregarding them. 3. Require signed driver agreements. Establish a contract with all employees who drive for work purposes, whether they drive assigned company vehicles or their personal vehicles. By signing an agreement, the driver regarding driver performance, vehicle maintenance, and reporting of moving violations. 4. Ch eck motor vehicle records (MVRs). Check the driving records of all employees who drive for work purposes. Screen out drivers who have poor driving records they are most likely to cause problems in the future. Periodically review MVRs to ensure that drivers maintain good driving records. 5. Establish and reinforce a crash reporting and investigation process. Employees must report all crashes, regardless of severity, to their supervisor as soon as possible. (From an insurance company perspective, reporting a cra sh within 48 hours of the event is a good goal to maintain.) Review all crashes to determine their cause and whether they were preventable. Understanding the root causes of crashes, regardless of fault, forms the basis for eliminating them in the future. 6. E stablish vehicle selection, maintenance and inspection procedures. Review the safety features of all vehicles to be considered for use. Implement a routine preventive maintenance schedule for servicing and checking safety related equipment. Conduct regular 7. Implement a disciplinary action system for drivers who develop a pattern of acciden ts. There are a variety of corrective action programs available; most are based on a system that assigns points for moving violations. The system should describe progressive disciplinary actions if a driver develops a pattern of repeated traffic violations or preventable crashes in any predefined period. 8. Develop a reward/incentive program. A driver reward/incentive program can make safe driving an integral part of your business culture. 9. Provide driver training/communication. Even experienced drivers benefit from periodic training and reminders of


safe driving practices and skills. 10. Ensure adherence to highway safety regulations. It is important to clearly establish which, if any, local, state, and federal regulations govern your vehicles and drivers. Go to vehicle guide.pdf recommendations. Richard Overton sued Anheuser Busch for false advertising when drinking a six pack of Bud Light failed to produce visions of beautiful women on a balmy beach. He sought damages for $10,000, claiming that this deceptive marketing caused him emotional and psychological distress. In other words, Ov erton was mad that drinking beer didn't equal hot beach babes. The case was dropped, of course. Hopefully Overton learned a lesson or two about the difference between fantasy and reality. In reality, drinking excessive amounts of Bud Light will only give y ou a sizable beer gut and a noticeable repellent towards bikini clad women Contact Us: If you have any comments, questions or suggestions for the NCA Insurance Column Heather Ginn Insurance Committee WNS Report New Locations 4 additional counties in Illinois 3 counties in Arkansas Research Students at University of California at Davis used a 3D printer to make a prototype sampling device. The device would One side of the tissue is immersed in cell medium to keep the tissue alive while the other is exposed to WNS. Georgia State University is experimenting in caves in KY and MO by putting fungi fighting bacteria in the caves. They reason this will slow the growth of WNS allowing bats to survive. Legislation Maine has a bill that was sent to their State Legislature to add the northern long eared bat and the little brown bat to their state endangered species list. Regarding the USFWS proposed endangered/threatened listing of the northern long eared bat, the NCA submitted a comment, the main points being that listing it does nothing to address the root cause of the decline (WN S) and that they An interesting side note is that a survey was done along the proposed route of the Sandpiper Pipeline in Minnesota. This survey showed that the northern long eared bat i s actually more abundant than the little brown bat. Minnesota has asked to study this over the summer. Patty Perlaky WNS Chair


Affiliate of the Month With Spring Break, comes a reminder that the summer rush will be here before we know it. Pikes Peak Rock Shop is working diligently to fill all of your spring orders with those beautiful one of a kind you to our warehouse during the Colorado Springs C onvention where many of you were able to visit our warehouse and see our operation. Since convention we have already received containers of material from Morocco, China, and Brazil with still another Brazilian container and Peru container on their way now. We are stocked and ready for what we are all hoping will be a record breaking travel year. This year be sure to see our NEW prepackaged Rainbow Geodes and our Calcite Glow Stones which are a must have for all of our cave customers. Have a fantastic 2015 Summer Season and we look forward to seeing you all again very soon. Sincerely, The Pikes Peak Rock Shop Tea m


From Deep Down In The Archives... Arkansas Convention 1997 California Convention 1998 23rd International Karstological School & 50th Anniversary International Union of Speleology (UIS), Postojna, Slovenia, June 15 20, 2015 NSS Convention 2015, Waynesville, Missouri July 13 17, 2015 NCA Convention 2015, (50 th Anniversary) Host: Cave of the Mounds, Blue Mounds, Wisconsin, September 21 25, 2015 NCKRI The Sinkhole Conference, Rochester, Minnesota, October 5 9, 2015 ISCA 2015, Germany & Austria, October 17 24, 2015 IGES/SSS 2015, Sevierville, Tennessee, November 3 6, 2015 & Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, November 4 8, 2015 Smokey Mountain Gift Show 2015, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, November 4 7, 2015 IAAPA 2015, Orlando, Florida, November 16 20, 2015 Tucson Gem and Mineral Shows 2016, Tucson, Arizona, January 30 February 14, 2015 NCA Mid Winter Board o f Directors Meeting, Renaissance Airport Hotel, St. Louis, Missouri, February 22 24, 2016 NSS Convention 2016, Ely, Nevada, July 17 23, 2016 NCA Convention 2016, Host: Squire Boone Caverns, French Lick, Indiana, September 19 23, 2016 IAAPA 2016, Orla ndo, Florida, November 8 11, 2016 Tucson Gem and Mineral Shows 2017, Tucson, Arizona, January 28 February 12, 2017 NCA Convention 2017, Host: Mark Twain Cave, Hannibal, Missouri (Dates TBD) IAAPA 2017, Orlando, Florida, November 14 17, 2017 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. Please send your articles, photographs to May 2015 Cave Talk Deadline Please have all articles to Bob Holt no later than April 15. Thank you

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


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