Robert A. Holt PO Box 625, Cobleskill, NY 12043 E xecutive Director Phone: 518 231 5420 E mail: email@example.com www.cavern.com February 2016 President Dear Friends, I hope everyone is well and wish everyone a successful 2016. The NCA has a busy year planned with work for all our member caves, too! First, the Regional Directors recently sent the Cave Association Member Update Form this is all general information contact names, phone numbers, email addresses. It can be finished in 5 minutes please make sure you get these back to your Dir ector soon. Also coming up, look for an email from Jim Petrick at Texas A&M, who will be conducting our econometric study. This will take a little longer, maybe a half hour. It is very easy if you have your year end financials beside you. Let's aim for 100% response! These studies are very important we used the last study at a Senate hearing for WNS and they were also helpful with the Missouri signage situation. Speaking of WNS, the USFWS issued its final regulations for the Northern Long Eared Bat. The NCA did write a letter requesting an exemption for show caves, which the USFWS addressed, saying the provisions of the rules will apply. They also state show cave activities can occur inside the WNS zone, as long as the bats are not being disrupted by avoiding those areas, limiting lights, etc. This is very important to all show caves, because as WNS moves west, more bat species may be added to the list. As more species are added, it is likely they will use this same template to write rules for oth er bat species. Those of us who have bats take wonderful care of them to make sure they are not disturbed. Some of us have even seen bats hibernating near a light for several months. One of the things the Board will be discussing at the midwinter meeting will be the possibility of a study on bats getting used to human activity. If anyone knows or has done a study like this, please let us know! Thank you! Patty Perlaky President OFFICERS President : Patty Perlaky Raccoon Mt. Caverns, TN Ph: 423 821 9403 firstname.lastname@example.org Vice President : John Graves Luray Caverns, VA Ph: 540 743 6551 john.graves@luraycaverns. com Secretary Treasurer : Bob Holt Mercer Caverns, CA Ph: 518 231 5420 email@example.com Past President : Steve Rawlings Mercer Caverns, CA Ph: 209 728 2101 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) Denise Bell Seneca Caverns, OH firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: 419 483 6711 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) Dennis Boyer War Eagle Cavern, AR firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: 479 789 2909 Region Five : (MN, MT, ND, SD, WI) Tom Hagen Rushmore Cave, SD email@example.com Ph: 60 5 255 4467 Region Six : (CA, ID, NV, OR, WA, AK, HI, Barbados, Bermuda) Matt Doyle Lake Shasta Caverns, CA firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: 800 795 CAVE Region Seven : (AZ, CO, NM, UT, WY) Steve Beckley Glenwood Caverns, CO email@example.com Ph: 970 945 4CAV 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 ) Tim Lacy DeSoto Caverns Park AL email@example.com Ph: 256 378 7252 D IRECTOR EMERITUS Steve Runkle Cave of the Winds, CO firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: 719 685 5444
NCA Buyers Group: Ways To Increase Sales In Your Gift Shop At Natural Bridge Caverns, in addition to adding to our visitors overall experience, we expect our gift shops to increase sales and sh ow bigger profits. Like all of you, we strive for these goals each successive year. The question is "How do we do this consistently From my 20 years in retail management, let me share with you ways to reach these goals and grow the business. There are some tried and true ways to increase sales: smart buying of themed items that relate to the guest's experiences (caves, rocks, bats nature, et c.) with large profit margins; cross merchandise these themes (with b ooks, plush, apparel, jewelry, rocks etc.); and, very importantly, re arrange the shop (because what looks good today will look NEW tomorrow when placed in a different locati on). If you have multiple sh ops, it's always profitable to have your best sellers in each store and have a good assortment of your themed items to choose from (colors, styles, price points, etc.). Another idea to increase sales is to re purpose or re p rice some "old" items. One example we had success with is a double shot glass featuring our iconic dinosaur, Grendel, on it. We lowered the price of the item and renamed it a "kids juice glass It started jumpin g OFF the shelves! (Remember, sometimes it is necessary to "purge" or donate old merchandise to make room for new items that will sell! Talk to your accountant about how to take credit for the value of donated items on the business tax return ). Always talk to your vendors about ways to get th eir best pricing. Nothing works better than a larger margin to increase profits, whether through bulk pricing, or saving on freight. Just watch that you don't order more than you can sell in one to three years. After that third year you'll be tired of se lling/stocking that item, and you'll want to purchase something new and different. When in doubt, place your first order with a small quantity and increase your next order if it works! Don't forget about training. One of the most important things we do as store managers, is consistently train our staff to engage our visitors. It sounds like an obvious thing to do, but often gets overlooked or not repeated with new staff. When you sell a product that needs special training to effectively sell, call in y our sales rep to give some information about the product and selling techniques to staff. Get the sales clerks interested in certain items so they will be excited about those items and suggest to the customer to take at look a something different. Most o f all, basic sales training never hurt anyone, and you might find some hidden talents among your staff that result in larger sales transactions! Updating a store plays a big part in increasing sales. Here at Natural Bridge Caverns we realized this in early 2015 when it was decided that it was TIME to remodel our Visitors' Center Gift Shop. The former store was what I would call a "galley store long and narrow, with little room to navigate to the back side visitors when the store was busy. The iconic store had dark paneled walls, dated light fixtures, and a menagerie of displays. The merchandise located in the back of the store lite rally could not be seen from the front, especially when we had multiple school groups or busy times like spring break or summer. We saw visitors look inside the store and walk away, apparently deciding it was too crowded to even try to enter!
The origi nal dining room on left (photo 2007) was removed and transformed into a new gift shop on right in 2015 To maximize our return on investment, we hired professional help with designing the space. I called in a retail consultant we had used previously, and he drew up some plans with color choices, types of lighting fixtures, and suggested a new system of di splays. We replaced wall lighting fixtures, added track lighting, painted walls, and invested in OPTO displays that transformed the old, tired gift shop into an updated, beautiful and functional store! The square footage of the new space is actually 48 sq But, it's open on three sides so visitors have more access to enter the store, more room to walk or wheel around displays, easier to find tee shirts, toys, giftware, etc. Retail Staff also have better lines of sight throughout the store which has improved security and customer service. We have a separate area that we call the Rock Cove with our selection of tumbled stones, fossils, gemstone jewelry, amethyst specimens, etc. And with our "new look we have added a group of interactive rock bins which get everyone's attention on their way to and from their c avern tours. We receive comments from repeat visitors who love the new store and are having a more relaxed shopping experience. Recently a gentleman entered the Visitor Center and automatically walked where the old store had been. He told me he had a slight panic attack when he saw the dining room tables and chairs, but then looked around and saw the gift shop across the lobby. He found what he came in for (I w as glad we had it in stock) and he left a happy customer. Happy customers result in the most productive form of advertising for the business...word of mouth. Overall, the remodel has been a wonderful success for our visitors, staff, and the bottom line! Travel Industry research tells us that one of the top experiences that our visitors seek is unique and fun shopping. If we provide these experiences, our shops and the whole business will succeed. Regardless of how much experience and training we have as travel industry store buyers and managers, we must continue to find new ideas and ways to keep improving sales and helping grow the business. Whether it is through buying smarter, merchandising smarter, pricing smarter, training smarter and or refreshing or remodeling smarter, we ca n successfully reach our goals. May 2016 be your most successful year yet of providing these unique and fun shopping experiences for your visitors. Mary Jo Mastrangelo Retail Manager/Buyer
Colton James Key It is always difficult to receive word on the death of a friend or family member. When we report in Cave Talk that a member of the NCA family has passed, usually that person is aged and has lived a wonderful long life. Unfortunately it is not the case this time. It has been very difficult for this editor of Cave Talk to report to you the passing of a sweet, innocent, adorable nine month old child. Colton had difficulties from the day he was born, yet in his short span of life he was deeply loved by his pare nts, grandparents, family members and friends. Colton was born March 6, 2015 in Indianapolis to Jordan C. & Katy A. (Richards) Key. Colton was a happy baby. He loved being read to, playing with his toys and his jumper. He loved his dog, Molly. Colton passed away at 12:37 AM on January 1, 2016. Many of us have been fortunate to follow the Key family on Facebook and watched as Colton began his first yea r of life. We also looked forward to the day Colton would attend an NCA convention with his proud grandparents Jim & Sheryl Richards of Bluespring Caverns. Memorial services were held at 3:00 pm on Saturday, January 9th in the Elmwood Chapel of the Day & Carter Mortuary with Jordan Morris officiating. The family asks that friends consider memorial contributions be made to the Key family, c/o Day & Carter Mortuary, P.O. Box 905, Bedford, IN 47421 for distribution to various charities. parents Jordan & Katy and their entire family, especially grandparents Jim & Sheryl. Bo b Meramec Caverns Flood Les Turilli reported that the flood waters of the Meramec River once again inundated the gift shop and cave for several days during the terrible recent flooding in Missouri. Les said this is the third flood on his watch and th is recent one was equal to that of 2008 w hen water levels reached 5 feet in the building. Les also said once they arrived on site, they knew what they were faced with in clean up Les Jr., and Lester III pitched in with guides and other staff to ready the place for re opening. Colton James Key Parents Jordan & Katy Key Grandma Sheryl (left) & Grandpa Jim (center)
WNS Report Final Regulations on NLEB The USFWS issued its final regulations for the Northern Long Eared Bat, prompting the Center for Biological Diversity to expand their court challenge from the interim rules to include the new rules, which they contend that that Forest Service has 'bowed to the wishes of the oil and gas industry." Specific to caves, a few pages of the rule are devoted to bat hibernacula, the summary is (from the Federal Register, page 1905): Based on the importance of hibernacula to northern long eared bats, take is prohibited in and around the hibernacula within the WNS zone, including activities that may alter the hibernacula at any time of the year. Further, we have determined that when the conservation measures for the northern long eared bat includ ed in this final 4(d) rule are applied to areas within 0.25 mile (0.4 km) of the hibernacula, the potential for negative impacts to individuals is significantly reduced. And specifically commercial caves (page 1916): 32. Comment: Commenter(s)requested an exemption for show caves and cave tours. Our Response: Hibernating bats are very sensitive to disturbance as discussed in greater detail under the Hibernacula section of this document. This final rule prohibits the incidental take of northern long eared bats in hibernacula inside the WNS zone as well as the purposeful take (e.g., purposefully harassing or killing) of northern long eared bats in hibernacula both inside and outside of the WNS zone. When this species occupies caves or mines used by people r egardless of the purpose, the provisions of this 4(d) rule apply. Show cave or mine activities inside the WNS zone that do not result in the incidental take of northern longeared bats are not prohibited. In other words, if northern long eared bats are not being disrupted from their normal hibernation behaviors (e.g., by avoiding areas with hibernating bats, limiting Research: In a study in the Czech Repbulic, wing mites (ectoparasites) on hibernating bats were examined for the presence of P. Destructans to see if wing mites could be another transmission route for the fungus. Wing mites from 33 bats which had Pd were tested. A ll samples of wing mites were positive for the DNA of Pd. From the article by "Mechanical transport of adhesive P. destructans spores and mycelium fragments on the body of spinturnicid mites is highly feasible. The specialised lifestyle of mi tes, i.e., living on bat wing membranes, the sites most typically affected by fungal growth, enables pathogen transport. Moreover, P. destructans metabolic traits suggest an ability to grow and sporulate on a range of organic substrates, including insects, which supports the possibility of growth on bat ectoparasites, at least in periods when bats roost in cold environments and enter torpor. In addition to transport of fungal propagules, mites may facilitate entry of fungal hyphae into the epidermis through injuries caused by biting". Other News: In October, scientists from the Missouri Bat Census surveyed the bats in Cameron Cave, on the grounds of the Mark Twain Cave complex. WNS was found; some of the bats were treated in a lab, others in the cave wit h Rhodococcus and are being monitored. Also, the Hannibal City Council approved acquiring land to create the second largest park in the city. This property houses a large population of endangered Indiana bats that hibernate there. It is estimated that Missouri is home to about 35.5% of the species' total population. Maryland is proposing to add 6 species of bats to its endangered species list. Pd was found on a cave myotis in Oklahoma. These bats roost with Mexican Free tails. While the free tail s may not be susceptible to WNS (they do not hibernate), they migrate and may carry WNS to other areas. Texas A&M received a grant to identify hibernacula, species comparison and abundance, and to determine susceptibility to WNS. They are asking show cav es for cooperation in the study. ALSO Many of us in the East have experienced the dreaded "ALL CAVES CLOSED" headlines in the newspaper when our state caves become closed. Does anyone have a press release when WNS came to your state and the media repor ted that all caves were closed? If anyone has a copy of a press release or draft, please forward it to Brad Wuest at email@example.com They have the advantage of having time to prepare f or it! Patty Perlaky WNS Chair
Missouri The Cave State We love our caves so much in these parts, there is even a "Cave State" license plate that Missouri residents can purchase. Funds collected from the sale of these plates are used to promote Missouri as "The Cave State," enhance educational programs, and support cave conservation programs. If thi s sounds like a great idea to you, visit the Missouri "The Cave State" license plate page to get your own. Steve Thompson of Bridal Cave shows us 2016 National Caves Association Convention Sept. 19 22, 2016 French Lick Resort in French Lick, Indiana Information You Need To K now This will be a driving convention so if you are not driving in you will need to rent a car. Flying in? You will probably need to fly into the Louisville International Airport (1hr. 20min.) or the Indianapolis International Airport (2hr.). Dates to c onsider: There will be pre and post convention activities on the 19 th and the 23 rd You might want to consider coming in on the 18 th and departing late on the 23 rd What to wear: This is a casual/comfortable convention. The only exception is our fin Please dress Hotel information and other specifics will be released in the spring. We are so excited to have everyone visiting Indiana! Claudia Yundt, Squire Boone Caverns
Beckler Family First Grandchild Greg & Dee Beckler of Natural Stone Bridge & Caves Park NY are caught taking a snooze while waiting the birth of their first grandchild. Levi James Hill arrived at 2:43 PM on December 30, 2015 and weighed in at 9 pounds 1 ounce and 19.1 inches long Ben & Jesika ( Beckler ) Hill. Great Grandparents are Ed & Janet Beckler. Congratulations to the entire family! Cave of the Winds Welcomes New Generation Congratulations to Daniel and April Carey of Cave of the Winds in Manitou Springs, Colorado on the arrival of their son Blake Daniel Carey who was born on January 20, 2016 at 3:13 AM. Blake weighed in at 6 pounds 2 ounces and a length of 19 inc hes. Congratulations also go to Grandparents Grant and Annette Carey! Looks like Blake is the newest fan rooting for the Broncos in the Super Bowl this year! Gurnee Guide to American Show Caves Is the Gurnee Guide on your shelves? order! Orders for the all color book, "Gurnee Guid e to American Show Caves" by Jeanne Gurnee, can be purchased for $10 each from R. H. Gurnee, Publisher, 720 Flat Ridge Road, Goodlettsville, Tennessee 37072. (E mail: JGurneeNSS@aol.com ; phone: (615) 581 0646) How Is Your Supply Of NCA Brochures ? 700 packed to a box and shipped USPS Let Bob know if you need an order!
Caves Up For Sale Both Were NCA Members Years Ago Skyline Caverns This article is from a sales pitch by the realtor Sotheby s Skyline Caverns Front Royal, Virginia is strategically located in one of the wealthiest and fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country, including Loudoun and Fairfax counties. As the name implies it is adjacent to Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park at the crest of the pictur esque Blue Ridge Mountains. Skyline Caverns is an ideal example of the ability of man to adapt the environment so that the general public can actively participate in an experience that nature took 60 million years to create. Dramatic lighting techniques a fford the visitor a truly exceptional view of some of the most intricate and unique cave formations in the country. One of the more unique features of the caverns is the presence of five active streams. The total area of the cavern open to the general publ ic descends 260 feet below the surface and maintains a constant temperature of 54 degrees, making it the perfect day trip no matter what the weather! This awe inspiring and historical cavern system is more than a treasured natural attraction, it is educat ional, exciting and only an hour's drive from Washington D.C. Kickapoo Indian Caverns Own one of Wisconsin's largest caves. Kickapoo Indian Caverns in Wauzeka is situated in the bluffs of Crawford County on 83.2 acres of Pristine Wisconsin timber ground that boasts untouched wildlife and uncut old growth forests. Caverns has not been open in recent years but was once a tourist destination for many tourists from around the w orld. Business opportunity at its finest, come take a look today. Listing Broker to attend all showings. All buyers must be pre qualified. Seller requesting letter of intent of use on property to accompany all offers. Thanks to our friend Gary Soule in W isconsin for alerting us on this sale. Gary says This cave has tremendous potential, and could be connected up to another underground cave only 30 feet away! This cave has commercial possibilities, but I have only seen the entrance and map of the cave. For more about Kickapoo check out the story which Gary is referred to in this recent edition of Wisconsin State Journal
Affiliate of the Month As a relatively new affiliate member of the National Caves Association, we would like to take this opportunity to introduce our company to those of you that are not already familiar with us and say how excited we are to be affiliated with the NCA. L. W. Bristol Classics is a thirty year old family owned business located in Northeast Tennessee. We are in fact located less than 5 miles from the entrance to Bristol Caverns and less than 15 miles from the entrance to Appalachian Caverns. We offer an array of products including lapel pins, hiking medallions, key chains, magnets, patches, zipper pulls and Christmas ornaments and take pride in the quality of our products and the customer service we provide. Custom designs for sites like yours are our specialty but we do also offer some stock designs that may be a fit for your store as well. You can find our products already at NCA member caves and caverns such a s Squire Boone Caverns, Ohio Caverns, Rushmore Cave, Seneca Caverns, Cumberland Caverns, Shenandoah Caverns and Natural Bridge Caverns among others. We also work with National Park Service cave and cavern sites such as Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument and Wind Cave National Park. We value the relationships we have built with our existing NCA member customers over the years and look forward to getting to know more of you better in the future. With Spring and Summer fast approachi ng, we would love to work with any of you that have a need for new souvenir items like ours or would like some fresh ideas for designs custom to your site. With our pins, hiking medallions and patches, we also offer the option to customize the card with wh ich those items are packaged. On those cards, you can include pictures from your site, your logo and text that tells a little something about what is important about your cave or cavern. We offer 100 piece minimums on all custom items and provide artwork f ree of charge with no obligation to buy. For those of you that know us well and need to place reorders, contact Barry, Lynlee or Christi any time to let us know what you need and we can get shipment of those orders scheduled to arrive when you anticipate needing the new inventory. For some of you it may be time to look at adding new designs to your product line so that returning visitors will have something new to purchase. We also often find that new visitors take home one of each design. If you placed an order at one of the Fall souvenir and gift shows with us, know that we are working diligently to have your orders ready as they were requested. Feel free to visit our website, www.lwbristol.com, for more examples of our products or contact us any time fo r more information. Let us know what we can do for you! Phone: (800) 654 0777 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Sinkhole Conference proceedings and more on line! Dear Friends, The National Cave and Karst Research Institute (NCKRI) partnered with the Minnesota Ground Water Association last year to host The Sinkhole Conference, the 14 th Multidisciplinary Conference on Sinkholes and the Engineering and Environmental Impacts of Karst, in October in Rochester, Minnesota, USA. It was the biggest Sinkhole Conference to date with 234 people registered from 11 countries and 21 US states. If you were not able to attend, you can now receive the proceedings, program, and field trip guidebooks. They are digitally avai lable at http://nckri.org/about_nckri/nckri_publications.htm When you reach that page, you can easily navigate to Symposium 5, which will connect you to all of this information. While you a re at the NCKRI publication page, you are also knowledge so everyone can benefit. If you discovered the proceedings on line earlier, be aware that a draft version was accidentally posted. We made some corrections and formatting adjustments in that version and apologize for the accidental posting. The currently posted version is the final version. The Sinkhole Conference Organizing Committ ee has begun work on the next conference, which will be held in Spring 2018 in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, USA. If you are getting this message indirectly through a non NCKRI list and want about the next conference, send me a message and http://www.sinkholeconference.com/ find photos from our great time in Roch ester. George Veni NCKRI Executive Director Monthly Historical Photo Do You Have A Historical Photo To Share? Now that our 50 th column to include a photo from our member cave s If you have a picture to share, p lease send me a digital copy that might include people, building, or cave scene with names and a description. Thanks, Bob Harrison Terk Howe Caverns We go back to the 1950 s when T erk returned home from the service and went back to work at the Howe Caverns as a tour guide. In this photograph he is known to have Earned H is Wings as he poses outdoors in his guides uniform on a very windy day Because of the wind his hair above his ears is pointing outward s hence, E arning H is W ings He later went on to become Assistant General Manager and then Ge neral Manager. Terk has always been active in the NCA and served as our President.
Tucson Gem and Mineral Shows 2016, Tucson, Arizona, January 30 February 14, 2015 NCA Mid Winter Board of Directors Meeting, Renaissance Airport Hotel, St. Louis, Missouri, February 2 9 March 2 2016 NCKRI DeepKarst Conference 2016, Carlsbad, New Mexico, April 11 14, 2016 NSS Convention 2016, Ely, Nevada, July 17 23, 2016 NCA Convention 2016, Host: Squire Boone Caverns, French Lick, Indiana, September 19 23, 2016 Smokey Mountain Gift Show 201 6 Sevierville, Tennessee, November 1 4, 2016; Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg, Tennessee, November 2 5, 2016 IAAPA 2016, Orlando, Florida, November 8 11, 2016 Tucson Gem and Mineral Shows 2017, Tucson, Arizona, January 28 February 12, 2017 NCA Mid Winter Board of Directors Meeting, Renaissance Airport Hotel, St. Louis, Missouri, February 2 6 March 1 201 7 NSS Convention 201 7 Rio Rancho, New Mexico (Dates TBD) NCA Convention 2017, Host: Mark Twain Cav e, Hannibal, Missouri (Dates TBD ) Smokey Mountain Gift Show 2017 Sevie rville, Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg, Tennessee, (Dates TBD) IAAPA 2017, Orlando, Florida, November 14 17, 2017 Tucson Gem and Mineral Shows 201 8 Tucson, Arizona, January 27 February 1 1 201 8 NCA Mid Winter Board of Directors Meeting, Renaissance Airport Hotel, St. Louis, Missouri, February 2 6 28 201 8 NSS Convention 201 8, Montana, (Location & Dates TBD) NCA Convention 2018 Host: Racoon Mountain Caverns, Chattanooga, Tennessee, (Dates TBD) Smokey Mountain Gift Show 2018 Gatlinburg, Tennessee, (Dates TBD) IAAPA 201 8 Orlando, Florida, November 11 16, 2018 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 continue producing monthly issues of Cave Talk and this can only happen when you help with the sharing o f your news. Please send your articles, photographs to email@example.com March 2016 Cave Talk Deadline Please have all articles to Bob Holt no later than February 15. Thank you