Robert A. Holt PO Box 625, Cobleskill, NY 12043 E xecutive Director Phone: 518 231 5420 E mail: email@example.com www.cavern.com January 2017 Message from the Executive Director Dear Friends, New is the year, new are the hopes, new is the resolution, new are the spirits ... things I have heard from our members across the entire Uni ted States, ( including Barbados and Bermuda ) . What a great year most of you have had! I heard some of you even exceeded all time records! This of course is wonderful news. During the first few months of a new year we undertake plans on how and what we will do different in the new year tour experience, gift shop appearance, marketing efforts, new sluice, or business today like we did ten or even five years ago. The same is true for the NCA. We are always looking at ways to operate our association . One of t he best things the fact we are a family we not only like to gather for a family reun ion at convention time; but we share our successes all year long and are not afraid to speak out when we have a problem and need to ask for help. Our NCA Group page is a true testament on how we help each other. If you are not a member of this social media private group , you need to join NOW because you are missing out on important info that is being circulated. This group has become our online Cracker Barrel. Let me know if you need help joining. We will continue with more articles that are written by our members. As always, I ask for your help please share with us when you hav e something new to report at your cave. Everything about the future is uncertain, but on e thing is for sure that God has already planned all our tomorrows . I heartily wish a beautiful tomorrow for you and your family a long with your cave business . Happy N ew Year 2017. Bob Holt OFFICERS President : Patty Perlaky Cave Without A Name, TX Ph: 830 537 4212 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) Eric Helton Diamond Caverns, KY firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: 270 749 2233 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 ) Lisa McClung Lost Sea, TN email@example.com Ph: 423 337 6616 D IRECTOR AT LARGE Denise Bell Seneca Caverns, OH firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: 419 483 6711 D IRECTOR EMERITUS Steve Runkle Cave of the Winds, CO email@example.com Ph: 719 685 5444
Douglas S. Kaufman of Crystal Cave celebrates 90 th birthday birthday is January 13 and this year he will celebrate his 90 th . He and my mother have been married since 1951 and they have t wo daughters, Carolyn and Kathy. He still comes to the cave for the Board Meetings that are held 5 times a year , however, he hasn't been inside the cave for years. He still drives and gets around well but hasn't taken the time to go up the hill to see the cave. I think he would b e surprised at how clean the cave looks after all the power washing that has been done. He has a good memory and remembers historical artifacts about the history of Crystal Cave because he grew up with a father who had purchased the cave in 1923. During his tenure as President (1972 2007) , he made several above ground improvements to the cave property. In 1972 a food building wa s built to serve refreshments. The former exis ting refreshment stand began serving ice cream treats. In 1976 the format of the buildings were changed and a restaurant was moved to a large souvenir store that had been built in 1968. An ice cream parlor took the pla ce of the former restaurant. A new buil ding, called the Trading Post, was built to sell s ouvenirs on a seasonal basis. In 1976 an 18 hole cave oriented miniature golf course beca me an additional attraction. In 1978 he built a theater and wrote a slide presentation to be presented to tourist s that included geological information as well as Crystal Cave related information. In 1983, the Museum at Crystal Cave opened in the side portion of the Trading Post. Numerous advertising and promotional materials including old postcards, brochures, bil lboards and ad cards are exhibited on display. Furnishings from the old hotel are also presented. Most notable is an Opera Bus built in NYC in 1891 that was used to transport tourists from the nearby train stations to Crystal Cave. Panning for gemstones was added in 2003. Underground improvements that were made include rewiring of the cave by Roy Davis in 1974. He introduced Halloween Tours and Candlelight Tours that ran for years ending in 1996 and 1998, respectively. Marketing Crystal Cave was enhanced with the addition of 16 new road signs. He initiated TV advertising which continue s today. I can honestly say that durin g his 35 years as President of Crystal Cave he had the foresight to recognize that having other accommodations for tourists such as refreshments and other attractions on the premises for them . This did enhance the patr on s experience and increased the likelihood of return visits. Back in the day, I know he mentioned that the P ennsylvania Caves Association (PCA) meetings, which were all men at th e time, basically had a party. There w ere lots of mixed dri nks and a lot of exaggerated boa sting about how good a season everyone had . H e often teased Ann Dunla vy about calling the Pennsylvania Caves Association the Pennsylvania Cavemen's Association, as it h ad been called for many years. When Ann started attending the meetings , she questioned why the PCA was called Cavemen's. She requested the name change to Caves Association. For years, my father continued to call it by its former name just to get a reaction from Ann. It must have worked because he never missed a chance to s ay the old name with a smile. My father had a lot of friends in the PCA over the years and a few in the NCA. Unfortunately almost all of them are gone now. Today, the PCA representatives are almost all female and we actually have a meeting without drink ing. Kath ryn Campbell Crystal Cave , PA Dougl as S. Kaufman of Crystal Cave, PA celebrates his 90 th birthday January 13. Douglas S. Kaufman when he was 13 years old holding a Crystal Cave pennant standing beside what was at one time the souvenir stand on the outside of the old hotel.
New at Bridal Cave New Generator Bridal Cave recently had a brand new backup generator installed. Since our cave is a constant 60Â° and safe from outdoor elements, we tend to get extremely busy during storms and bad weather. Visitors can always enjoy a natural adventure without worrying about what the weather is doing outdoors. Before, if the power went out, anyone in the middle of a cave tour was literally left in the dark! A cool experience, but very difficult to get around or enjoy the beauty of the cave. With our brand new backup generator (which has already come in handy thi s year and works perfectly) we are now even more of an all weather attraction than we were before. A special thank you goes out to Catalyst Electric, Laclede Electric, and Gasco Propane Co. for all of the hard work they put in to make this happen. New Mini ng Sluice Next on the list is restocking all of those incredible rocks, minerals, and gemstones that you see in our gift shop every year. Our general manager, Steve Thompson, just returned from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractio ns (IAAPA) Expo in Orlando, Florida. It is the biggest industry trade show in America. The gemstone mining sluice that stands in front of our gift shop is always a very popular attraction. While attending the expo, Steve purchased a brand new sluice from Sandy Creek Mining Company for the 2017 season. It is twice as large as the old one and offers mining access to two entire classrooms of school children at once! That means a lot less waiting in line and a lot more having fun! New Gift Shop Items Steve also visited our rock and mineral importers while he was in Orlando for his annual shopping trip. This is when he hand picks all of the unique specimens that we feature every year. One single room of the warehouse that Steve visited was dedicated to over 17,000 square feet of just Amethyst alone! Along with the usual salt lamps, polished gemstones, fossils, and gemstone jewelry, several new items will be added to our inventory. There will be sterling silver gemstone rings, gemstone skulls, iron pyri te obliques and pyramids, petrified wood bookends and tables, just to name a few . Steve Thompson Bridal Cave
Carlsbad Caverns hosts U. S. Senator Tom Udall It was an honor to host U.S. Senator Tom Udall (NM) at the park on December 15, 2016. During his visit, he posed with staff and chatted with Superintendent Doug Neighbor while waiting for the tour of the Lower Cave to start. During the Lower Cave tour, Cave Technician Ellen Trautner shared lots of history and facts with the senator. Thank you for your continued support of the National Park Service, Senator Udall! NPS Photos Welcome Eric Helton as new director for Region 2 Region 2 members you have a new director representing you on the NCA Board of Directors. Eric Helton is a long time employee of Diamond Caverns in Kentucky and 1, 2017. Denise Bell who has been filling the Region 2 position now serves on the board as Director at Large. We welcom e Eric who has loads of experience and he will certainly be a great addition to our board. All Region 2 members may reach Eric at Diamond Caverns by calling 270 749 2233 or emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org .
ISCA conference Oman 2016 Hello NCA Members! We had a wonderful International Show Caves Association (ISCA) Conference in Oman during November with over 40 delegates from 13 different countries including: Australia, Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Portugal, Spain, Iran, Slovak Rep ublic, USA, and the Sultanate of Oman. USA attendees were Eric and Janine Evans from Ohio Caverns, my mother Joye Wuest and I from Natural Bridge Caverns. Our Omani hosts did a fantastic job squeezing as many experiences as possible into our program. And as we say, flew by which is a testament to how wonderful a time we were having. Lectures during the Conference were very int eresting, informative, and professionally delivered. It was perfect learning about the geology of Oman, which gave us a better appreciation and understanding of the landscape we traveled through during the conference. We heard about the wild caves of Oma n and their exploration followed by a lecture showcasing all the adventure tourism options in Oman. Oman has so much potential as a growing tourism destination. On day three we had the pleasure of visiting our ISCA member and host cave. Al Hoota Cave is beautiful with high quality infrastructure and development -and an air conditioned train! The educational/interpretive ISCA attendees, including me. The Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) is doing a wonderful job developing and managing Al Hoota Cave and other sites around Oman. I like to say in the show cave (attractions) industry that if dying. We all have opportunities to improve and enhance our show cave businesses and stay relevant for our guests. The team at Al Hoota is clearly focusing on doing that. Just like with the NCA, networking with other show cave operators is one of the best ways to gain knowledge on how to improve and enhance our show caves! ISCA provides that forum on an international level. Presentations during the conference included excellent videos of the Australia Congress 2014 and Germany/Austria Meeting 2015. Many of our NCA friends attended the ISCA Meeting last year in Germany and Austria. Here is a link if o check it out: ISCA Meeting Germany and Austria 2015 Video . I look forward to sharing the Oman Conference video in the future! Joye Wuest, Eric & Janine Evans, & ISCA delegates from France ISCA Delegates at Al Hoota Cave Janine & Eric Evans, in an ancient o asis village
Our new ISCA member and new fri ends from Alisadr Cave in Iran showed a video which familiarized us with their beautiful water cave and impressive show cave business. Alisadr Cave receives over one million visitors per year -with their supporting attractions and accommodations; Alisadr is one of the largest show cave operations in the world. provided a great presentation on show cave development best practices they have learned over the past 10 years with a fo cus on safety, environmental protection, entertainment, and providing return on investment. These are all to see his presentation, follow this link: Cave Lighting Presentation . On a side note, we are in discussions with this company to re light Natural Bridge Caverns and several other NCA members are considering their services. ISCA delegates really enjoyed seeing the Grand Mosque, Royal Opera House, forts, souqs, Al Jeela Tombs, National Museum and learning about the history, culture and traditions of Oman. Eating in a Bedouin house, riding camels, dunes bashing, see ing sand dunes as far as the eye can see, and spending the night in the desert was magical. For most of us, this was our very first Arabian experience so we were like kids playing in the sand! The final dinner cruise in Mutrah harbor was an excellent grand finale to a wonderful conference leaving all attendees including myself looking forward to visiting Oman again. Our memories of the beautiful places, history, food and experiences are surpassed only by our treasured memories of the genuine hospitality we received and the friendliness of the Omani people. In addition to all the fun, we had a full day of ISCA Board Meetings. Overall the ISCA Conference was a wonderful chance to explore and experience the caves, natural beaut y, culture, architecture, sounds, tastes and Arabian flair of the Sultanate of Oman! It also proved to be a great opportunity to network, share, learn and make friends with show cave owners and operators from around the world. s, safe and prosperous New Year! God bless! Brad Wuest ISCA Presiden t Joye Wuest, Al Je ela Tombs Joye & Brad Wuest riding camels at a Bedouin camp in the Wahiba Sands desert Majilis al Jinn Cave
More ISCA photos
In the Waitomo C aves in New Zealand, thousands of blue lights dangle from the ceilings, twinkling like stars in a night sky. Tourists flock to the caves, awe struck by the starry night illusions all around them. But the truth about this natural wonder may be hard to fatho m maggot masterminds behind it. In the humid cave, the insects use bioluminescent light and silk threads covered in sticky, reflective droplets to attract and capture prey. Janek von Byern , a zoologist at the University of Vienna in Austria who studies the slimy secretions of creatures like snails and salamanders, and his international colleagues, spent months in two dark caves in New Zealand studying and characterizing the glow Thanks to their results, published in the journal PL OS One, we can now present the real story of the glow worms of New down to the gross and microscopic details. For a century, scientists have called the glow worms Arachnocampa luminosa: arachno, because of their spider like silk t and chemically Along cave walls and ceilings, a fungus gnat egg hatches. The larva constructs a tube of mucus that can be up to a foot long. It coughs up dozens of silk strings about a sixth the width of a human hair, and up to nearly two feet long and dangles them from the bottom of the tube. It regurgitates mucus onto the silks, which collects in tiny droplets that, because of their special crystalline structure, absorb water from the surrounding humid atmosphere and expand. The glue consists of 99 parts water; one part nasty. The mucus is just waste: protein, salt and what looks to be urea a chemical found in urine that when combined with formaldehyde back in the day, made a stellar but toxic wood glue. To attract its victim, the glow worm illuminates its net of reflective drops by turning on its bioluminescent tail and shuttling through its mucus tube. This is far from the discrete presentation of a in its abdomen, not waste in its mouth. As it shuttles, the glow worm checks its lines for mayflies that may have flown into them and gotten pulling it up and then eating until it comes to the Byern said. Each thread can hold about three mayflies before it breaks. This keeps the whole nest from falling, but it The scientists collected thousands of these threads and tested them with about 400 pounds of equipment they carried in and out the caves. They had to do the tests inside, because when the strings were removed from the humid atmosphere, the droplets disappeared. A still image taken from some 60 hours of time l apse video shot in the Waitomo C aves in February. Credit Jordan Poste/Stoked for Saturday A glow worm and its nest. Credit Victo ria Dorrer
Todd Blackledge , a biologist who studies spider webs Dr. von Byern found that if humidity drops below 80 percent the droplets evaporate. Without the sticky nets, the glow worms starve. The arrival of tourists in the caves brings changing temperatures and dropping humidity. Once tourists caused the humidity in a cave to change so have automatic door systems that lock up, preventing any entry or exit, until the humidity is back to normal. View Video: Waitomo's Lights J oanna K lein New York Times New indoor sluice at Marengo Cave Steve Calhoun (right) of Marengo Cave shakes the hand of Justin Woodruff (left) of Sandy Creek Mining Company for the installation of the new indoor sluice. Now guests will be able to pan for gems during the winter. The first customer is pictured enjoying her panning experience. WNS Report A researcher at University of New Mexico (UNM) is researching to see if New Mexico's bats have natural defenses against WNS. Jennifer Hathaway takes bacteria cultures of bats and then checks to see if these produce compounds that can kill other bacteria or fungi. The USFWS is accepting public comments on a proposal to allow incidental take permits, requested by 9 oil and gas companies, for 5 species of bats for 50 years. This would be for unintended casualties of pipeline and well pad construction in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) researchers studied little brown bats in New York, Vi rginia and Illinois and found that some are developing resistance to WNS. Patty Perlaky WNS Chair
Monthly Historical Photograph From the 1984 Convention at Howe Caverns , NY we have Gordon & Judy Smith, Gary & Laura Roberson with baby Amanda all representing Marengo Cave. At the far right is the HC tour guide. Do You Have A Historical Photo To Share? If you have a picture to share, please send me a digital copy that might include people, a building, or cave scene with names and a description. Than ks, Bob Calendar of Events 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 , June 19 23, 2017 The 17 th International Congress of Speleology (UIS), Sydney, Australia, July 23 29, 2017 NCA Convention 2017, Host: Mark Twain Cav e, Hannibal, Missouri, September 18 21, 2017 National Cave and Karst Management Symposium , Eureka Springs, Arkansas, October 16 20, 2017 Smok y 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 The Sinkhole Conference, Shepherdstown, West Virginia, April 2 6, 2018 NSS Convention 201 8, Whitefish, Montana, July 29 August 4, 2018 NCA Convention 2018, Host: Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, Glenwood Springs, Colorado, September 24 28, 2018 ISCA 8 th Congress 2018, Genga, Italy, October (Dates TBD) Smok y Mountain Gift Show 2018 , Gatlinburg, Tennessee, (Dates TBD) IAAPA 201 8 , Orlando, Florida, November 11 16, 2018 NCA Convention 2019, Host: Ruby Falls, Chattanooga Tennessee, (Dates TBD) 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 . February 2017 Cave Talk Deadline Please have all articles to Bob Holt no later than January 15. Thank you !