Cave Talk

Cave Talk

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Cave Talk
Series Title:
Cave Talk
National Cave Association
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Karst ( lcsh )
Resource management ( local )
serial ( sobekcm )


Cave Talk is a publication of the National Caves Association, a non-profit trade association founded in 1965 by a small group of private show cave owners. These initial members sought to bring together show cave owners and operators from across the United States to promote the show cave industry to the public, to share information and ideas, and to lobby for legislation favorable to the show cave industry.
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September 2015
Open Access - Permission by Publisher

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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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K26-05307 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.5307 ( USFLDC Handle )

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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 September 2015 Steve Rawlings Bids Farewell As NCA President Fellow NCA Members, As you read this the curtain will be coming down on what I hope has been a very successful summer season. In a couple of weeks we'll be gathering in Wisconsin for the 50th Anniversary celebration of the founding of the National Caves Association I hope that you will make a special effort to attend what promises to be a fabulous convention and I look forward to seeing you then. Managing an organization like the NCA takes a team of dedicated individuals working toget her. Over the past two years it has been my good fortune to have been able to work with a great team. Whether you serve on the Board of Directors, on a committee or in some other capacity of service to this organization you are part of the team that keeps this organization moving forward. I hope that the past two years has been as enjoyable and rewarding for you as it has been for me. It has been my pleasure to work with you. Thank you for your support, for putting up with me for the past two years and thank you for a job well done. As my term comes to a close I especially want to thank our executive director Bob Holt for holding everything together and keeping things running smoothly. Bob, you're a huge asset to this organization. If it weren't for y our dedication to the NCA and the tireless energy that you put into your job I would have a lot more gray hair and there would be a lot less of it than there already is. I cannot overstate how much I've enjoyed working with you the past few years. Thanks I also want to extend my gratitude to Susan and Claudia for all of their help over the past two years. I don't know what I would have done without the two of you but I do know that it would have been much less enjoyable and much more difficult. N ever a dull moment with you two! Thanks for keeping things fun and exciting. Thank you to all of you who have listened and have shared your knowledge and experiences with me. Those conversations helped immensely over the past couple of years and I'm trul y grateful to you for being there. A special thanks to Mr. Runkle, Mr. Thompson, Mr. Woodruff and Mr. Evans for sharing your wisdom and insight. 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 President Steve Rawlings


Finally, I want to thank my left hand man Bernard for putting up with me while I've tended to NCA affairs. I wouldn't have been able to do this job if you weren't taking care of the cave. You deserve more than a few drinks for that! Thank you to everyone who supports this organization. Without your support there would be no NCA. It's been an experience and a n honor to serve as your President for these past two years and to serve the Association with this Board of Directors. I hope that we've been able to make a difference with what we've been able to accomplish and that we've left the NCA a better organizati on as a result. Oh, and if you feel the urge, the next time you see a member of the Board of Directors go up and give her or him a pat on the back, they deserve it. Your Board Patty Perlacky, Greg Beckler, Bob Holt, Rob Arey, John Graves, Claudia Yundt, Dennis Boyer, Tom Hagen, Matt Doyle, Steve Beckley, Ed Mayfield, Tim Lacy, Steve Runkle and Aaron Ginn. Thank you and see you in Wisconsin. Steve Are You Ready For A Celebration? Have you sent your registration and made your reservations for NCA's 50th anniversary convention? Joe and Ann and their staff at Cave of the Mounds, along with House on the Rock Resort, are ready and raring to go. The resort is still accepting reservation s and even tho the registration fee is a little higher now, Bob will gladly accept your check. It would be great to have record attendance for our anniversary. Susan Berdeaux Convention Coordinator If You Haven't Registered... It's Not Too Late... CLICK FOR CONVENTION REGISTRATION


Persistence Cave, an Important Ice Age Fossil Site By Rodney D. Horrocks, Wind Cave National Park Physical Scientist & Marc Ohms, Wind Cave National Park Physical Science Technician You may have caught some of the national news stories about an on going paleontological excavation at Persistence Cave, located within Wind Cave National Park. The excavation of this important ice age cave site is being led by Dr. James Mead, Site Directo r of the nearby Mammoth Site in Hot Springs and Professor at East Tennessee State University. But, before we talk about that excavation, a little background history is in order. The cave was discovered in June Science Technician. Marc was looking for another large cave system or another entrance to Wind Cave that he thought must exist. While hiking, he came across a small alcove at the top of a ridge about a 1/3 of a mil e from the edge of Wind Cave. He noted the find and moved on. A few days later when he had more time on his hands, Marc returned to investigate some rocks wedged into a depression in the floor of the that alcove. After pulling a few rocks out, he could d istinctly feel air blowing into his face. Excitedly he removed more loose rocks, when he noticed movement below. Shining his headlamp down the hole, he was startled to see a large ball of rattlesnakes and green snakes and he beat a hasty retreat. This was the second snake den that had been discovered in a breathing cave within the park. We have recently heard rumors that others had previously seen this same alcove in previous decades but dismissed it as insignificant. When Marc finally returned to the cave in 2008 the snakes were gone and the cave was still breathing through a 6 inch gap between the bedrock ceiling and a sediment floor. Marc solicited Dr. Andreas Pflitsch, from Ruhr University in Germany, to monitor the airflow from the strongly breathing c ave. By this point we had started referring for that big cave; and the name stuck. After a year of monitoring, Andreas was able to determine that the cave had the same barometr ic airflow patterns as Wind Cave. The question now, is whether or not the cave will have a humanly passable connection to Wind Cave itself. If it did, this new entrance would add nearly 70 feet to the total depth of Wind Cave, since it is located only a co uple of meters from the top of the Pahasapa Limestone. After a few more years of discussion and planning, we decided to see if we could dig into additional cave. We started by writing the necessary government compliance documents in 2012. By 2014, we final ly got the necessary approval to investigate the new cave. Realizing that the cave would likely be a paleontological site and as part of the compliance process, Rod contacted the foremost expert on paleontological cave excavations, Dr. Jim Mead and asked his advice on how to proceed. Dr. Mead told him that he shou ld excavate a test trench with gridded squares, excavating in 10 cm levels and then bag the resulting sediment and ship it to his lab for analysis. He would then wet screen the sediment and pick through the resulting mixture for small bones. That all happe ned during the winter of 2014. In one of the bags they found a jaw bone of a pika, a rabbit like animal that had never been found in South Dakota before. Today, the closest pika is found is the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming, where it is only found at high e levations. Jim immediately realized that when these fossils accumulated in Persistence Cave, the Black Hills had been much colder than it is today, which pointed towards the ice age. The discovery of two species of voles, which currently only live in Canad a, further strengthened this idea. When they found a bone from a pig like animal that is a relative of a peccary and which became extinct around 11,000 years ago; Jim knew we definitely had an ice age fauna. Jim and Sandy found thousands of bones in the ba gs we Dr. James Mead at Persistence Cave gate The entrance the day the cave was discovered by Marc Ohms


sent them and documented a total of 22 different animal species; they were quite excited to say the least. By the spring of 2015 Dr. Mead had applied for a research permit to conduct a full scale paleontological excavation that summer. By mid June, Marc and I had erected a haul line from the cave entrance down to the bottom of a nearby drainage and had built a wet screening operation in a nearby valley. The paleontologists that Dr. Mead solicited to help started rolling into camp soon thereafter. Th ey included Dr. Chris Jass from the Royal Alberta Museum of Canada, Sharon Holte, a doctoral student from the University of Florida, Jeff Martin, a doctoral student from the University of Maine, and specialist. I added my staff and a GeoCorp paleontological intern from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology named Paul Barrett. Knowing that no paleontological field crew is complete without a camp cook, Dr. Mead was able to acquire Pat Monaco t o round off the crew. During a couple of weeks scattered throughout this summer, nearly 1 ton of sediment was excavated out of a passage that continues straight ahead and into the ridge from the bottom of the entrance pit and another 2 tons from a side passage that branches to the right of the entrance pit and curves to the north under the crest of the ridge. The sediment removed from the cave only represents a minute fraction of the tremendous v olume of material still in the cave. Interesting finds were made each day, including extinct camel, horse, and bison bones and lots of bats and snake bones. Many of the large bones had been broken by a carnivore and chewed on by rodents. All of these obser vations provided clues on how the bones accumulated in this ridge top cave. Once the sediment and bones had been wet screened and dried, they were taken to the nearby Mammoth Site to be handpicked. The picked bones then went to the Wind Cave Visitor Cente Jurestovsky, cataloged the bones at a table set up so he could interact with park visitors. He cataloged thousands of bones while educating the public about paleontology. Derek had some modern animal skull s for the visitors to handle and we put up two displays near his table discussing Persistence Cave and the paleontological project. As we got further back into the side passage (56 feet from the entrance), we started finding bones that looked fossilized, i ndicating great age. Plans started being made to C14 date some select bones this fall; we just had to decide which bones to date. By the end of the summer, the length of the cave was over 150 feet, but it remained horizontal and just below the surface. We will have to find a way to get significantly down, at least another 60 100 feet below the surface to break into the hypothized large cave system that must be the source of the barometric wind. Today, we continue to chase this elusive wind, trying to find the route downward. Dr. Mead has preliminary identified over 40 species of animals; and plans are already being made to return next summer for a second paleontological excavation. We fully anticipate that many exciting discoveries wait to be made in this n ew cave. Stay tuned for future upda tes. Wind Cave National Park Hey, maybe they were playing King of the Mountain! Earlier this summer, three bison calves were seen exploring the top of a gravel Rod Horrocks and Marc Ohms as seen from inside the cave


Ruby Falls Receives Triple Awards from Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association On August 3 rd leaders from the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association (TnHTA ) announced Ruby Falls as the award winner in three categories at the annual awards gala in Murfreesboro, TN. The association recognized the attraction for its sustainable and philanthropic efforts with the Good Earth Keeping Award and the Community Servic e Award, and also the Ongoing Special Event Award for the Haunted Cavern. awards are the driving for ce behind that success. They provide the top notch guest service that keeps people coming back to Tennessee. The winners were selected to receive these honors by people who truly understand the level of commitment that is required to provide excellent serv ice to customers on a daily basis their in the areas of community service, special e vents and in being good stewards of industry partners whose commitment to hospitality and tourism has improved the WNS Report Research: Brown University researchers have found the enzyme in P. destructans that breaks down tissue. They are now testing enzyme blocking mechanisms to combat the fungus. Researchers at University of Illinois have found a microbe in caves (Candida albicans) that produces a compound (trans, trans farnesol or tt farnesol) that inhibits P. destructans. Preliminary research also found other Pseudogymnoascus species are less sensitive to it, indicating it could target WNS without disrupting other components of the cave ecosystem. A newspaper article from Dennis Boyer at War Eagle Cavern written by Tom A. Throne for the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette, titled "Going Batty: Researchers study the foraging habits of gray bats at Crystal Cave." Here is the summary: Arkansas State University is conducting its s econd year of studying the foraging habits of gray bats, this year at Crystal Cave in Bella Vista, AR (northwest corner of the state). The researchers block the cave entrance, catch bats and glue transmitters on them, after which they are released. The t ransmitters stay on for 8 to 14 days. The bats are then tracked from the air with the help of Civil Air Patrol. Last year the bats tracked this way averaged about 12 miles to foraging areas, with as far as 25 miles. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission provided the grant. Patty Perlaky WNS Chair Hu gh Morrow accepts triple awards on behalf of his entire Ruby Falls team.


NCA Buyers Talk Please Have A Seat! The new addition at Talking Rocks Cavern may surprise you. .. We added more seats. In a retail environment, every square foot is important. The common reaction to having extra room is to expand your selection of merchandise with the goal of increasing spending per person. However, after seeing that the manager had replaced two old chairs that had dingy cloth cushions with two nice, leather arm chairs, the owner and buyer of Talking Rocks Cavern, Bruce Herschend, encouraged us to add a few more seats for our guests. My initial reaction was that our current seating options were sufficient. There were t wo comfortable arm chairs toward the back of the gift shop, and several benches outside where our guests could relax. Bruce recommended doubling our guest seating in the gift shop, as well as expanding the seating area outside. He shared with me that we had expanded the sales space to maximize sales Then it is time to consider other options. He continued by explaining that our motivation is not purely to be nice guys; there is a financial reward for adding more seats. in other retail venues. Craft malls and flea markets often have seating areas, not just a couple of chairs, for their patrons. These are intentional areas designated for people who need to stop and rest, or to give the shopping faint of heart a place to e scape. You will often find me shopping with my daughter. Not because I am passionate about shopping, mind you, but because I love spending time with my daughter. I do my best to endure her ability to shop fo r several hours at a time. However, on more than one sent! She can continue her hunt for items that she continues to make sales, and I quietly go to my happy as we head straight for the car. Another two new arm chairs and a new bench now adorn the gift shop. It has been pleasant su r prise to see all of the seats being used on a regular basis! The bench was strategically placed in front of the SpeleoBox where parents have be seen relaxing while watching their children show off their ninja moves venturing through the crawl maze. Older adults who chose not to tour Talking Rocks Cavern have found respite in one of the arm chairs during their hour long wait. Recently, all four chairs and the bench were pulled together as a family gathered around, intently watching two of their family members play checkers. These three examples each have significant meaning to the owner and management of Talking Rocks Caver n. When we provide a comfortable bench, we are encouraging togetherness (proximity; not just being in the same room together). The bench is also a great place to pause and observe~ and unknowingly, memories are made! The arm chair is stately in appearanc e, and non verbal says that we want our guests to be well taken care of. Moreover, it Additional seating outside the gift shop New sitting area at Talking Rocks... Checkers anyone? Guests relaxing enjoying checkers


while the rest of the group is touring the cave. T able to walk the stairs of this beautiful, but vertical, cavern. It is invaluable to see our guests spending time together, even if it is over an unassuming game of checkers. A f uture return can be found when these guests verbally share their experiences with family and friends, post pictures and read. I n your cavern gift shop, every square foot is important. The next time you ponder ways of making it more profitable, consider an investment in seats. Jody Gertson Talking Rocks Cavern and Next in the Attractions Industry at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2015 By Scott Cahoon, IAAPA Communications next in the worldwide attractions industry at IAAPA Attr actions Expo 2015, Nov. 16 20 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. The weeklong trade show and conference will draw more than 28,000 attendees, feature a half million square foot trade show floor with 1,000 innovative exhibitors fr om around the world, and offer more than 100 educational opportunities, facility EDUTours, and networking events. IAAPA Attractions Expo is owned and produced by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) and is the global trade show. One thousand companies will fill more than 525,000 net square feet of exhibit space on the IAAPA Attractions Expo trade show floor Tuesday, Nov. 17 through Friday, Nov. 20. Exhibitors will offer products in more than 125 product categories, including zip l ines, climbing walls, rides, shows, ticketing technologies, inflatables, play equipment, displays and sets, gifts, souvenirs, food and beverage items, and more. A number of the attractions on the show floor will be available for live demonstration, giving attendees a chance to try their next business changing product before they buy. Time Exhibitors Pavilion will provide specialized areas where buyers can specifically target food service related products and innovative concepts from newcomers to the Expo. Products from more than 1,000 exhibitors in more than 125 product categories will be available for attractions industry professionals to test, try, and buy on the IAAPA At tractions Expo 2015 trade show floor.


Education Program to Inspire Attractions Operators with Valuable Takeaways IAAPA Attractions Expo 2015 features more than 100 educational opportunities designed to keep attractions industry professionals of all levels informed about the latest trends and developments in safety, operations, retail, human resources, food and beverage, entertainment, social media, public relations, marketing, and more. Cave, cavern, and outdoor attractions operators are encouraged to attend In In depth Learning Experiences provide participants a deeper understanding of Hollywood Studios, the Legoland Hotel, SeaWorld Orlando, Universal Studios the scenes into the operations of these world class facilities. More information about each of these In depth Learning Experiences is available at Gaining Credit toward IAAPA Certification Participants in the educa tion sessions, seminars, and EDUTours are eligible to recognition program. More information about how IAAPA Certification can provide a valuable boost to an attractions in IAAPA Celebrates at I Drive 360 Thursday, Nov. 19, 7:30 10:30 p.m. 19, at the all new I Drive 360 attractions complex in Orlando, Florida. Participants will enjoy all four attractions at the I Drive 360 co mplex: The Orlando Eye observation wheel, the Madame Tussauds celebrity wax museum, Sea Life Orlando aquarium, and Skeletons: Animals Unveiled science center and museum. Participants will also enjoy live music, food and beverage, and fireworks during the e vent. Please note: Participants must be 18 or older to attend education sessions, networking events, and facility tours. For more information about IAAPA Attractions Expo, visit tractionsExpo A big t hank you to our representative Richard Jackson Vice President North American Operations IAAPA for his help in this communication! A group of attractions industry professionals take in one of more than 80 educational seminars IAAPA Attractions Expo has to offer. IAAPA Attractions Expo 2015 will host more than 28,000 industry professionals looking to see the latest products, network with friends and colleagues, and learn the most effective ways to operate their business.


From Deep Down In The Archives... The First NCA Meeting 50 Years Ago 1965 A group of convention attendees at The Shepherd of the Hills, Branson, Missouri 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 N ational Cave & Karst Management Symposium 2015, Cave City, Kentucky, October 19 23, 2015 IGES/SSS 2015, Sevierville, Tennessee, November 3 6 201 5 & Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, November 4 8 201 5 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 of Directors Meeting, Renaissance Airport Hotel, St. Louis, Missouri, February 29 March 3 2016 NCKRI Deep Karst 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 2 3, 2016 IAAPA 2016, Orlando, Florida, November 8 11, 2016 Tucson Gem and Mineral Shows 2017, Tucson, Arizona, January 28 February 12, 2017 NCA Convention 2017, Host: Mark Twain Cav e, Hannibal, Missouri (Dates TBD ) IAAPA 2017, Orlando, Florida, November 14 17, 2017 Next Cave Talk Deadline, September 15 for the October 2015 issue.


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