Cave Talk

Cave Talk

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Cave Talk
Series Title:
Cave Talk
National Cave Association
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Subjects / Keywords:
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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October 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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K26-05308 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26-5308 ( 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 October 2015 50th Anniversary... What A Celebration! Jeanne Gurnee Becomes Honorary NCA Member Unable to attend the 50th anniversary celebration due to the birth of two great grand babies our friend Jeanne Gurnee (right) was inducted into the Honorary Membership category of the NCA by t he Board of Directors. Patty Perlaky (left) incoming President presented the plaque to Jeanne at her home in Goodlettsville, TN prior to convention. A video was shown at the Gala Dinner of Jeanne accepting her plaque. Jeanne and her late husband Russ were very instrumental in developing show caves and were the authors of the "Gurn ee Guide to American Sho w Caves which Jeanne continues to publish. New Officers & Directors Elected At the 50th Annual Meeting of the NCA Steve Rawlings (left) handed over the Presidency reigns to Patty Perlaky (second) and John Graves (third) was elected Vice President and B ob Holt (f ourth) was re elected Secretary / Treasurer. Denise Bell, Seneca Caverns, Ohio was elected Director for Region 2 replacing John Graves. Steve Runkle retired as Director at Large, however, the Board bestowed on him the title of Director Emeritus for all he has done for the NCA OFFICERS President : Patty Perlaky Raccoon Mt. Caverns, TN Ph: 423 821 9403 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 Past President : Steve Rawlings Mercer Caverns, CA Ph: 209 728 2101 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) Denise Bell Seneca Caverns, OH Ph: 419 483 6711 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 D IRECTOR EMERITUS Steve Runkle Cave of the Winds, CO Ph: 719 685 5444


Jack Herschend, NCA First President Delivers Opening Address With remembrances of those early years and why the NCA was organized, Jack Herschend told the membership about Lady Bird Johnson and her proposed American Beautification Act where the former first lady wanted to see billboards removed along America's highways. This of course would have been detrimental to the livelihood of the many show caves across the nation. Jack also spoke about "Cave Wars" which was com mon across the mid section of the country and told a story how a guy might pull his car off the side of the road with his hood up hoping someone would stop by to help. When a good Samaritan did stop by, he might get a sales pitch from the so called strande d motorist on why he should visit his cave and not the other one down the road He would have brochure in hand and perhaps di scounted tickets. This was just one example of "Cave War" antics. Jack also spoke about his "83 Things I've Learned" which is inspired by Bradley. They were broken down as Godly, Marriage & Family, Business and Personal. He told everyone how the important personal beliefs in your life helps you operate and work it with y our business. Ask anyone who attended what they received from Jack's message and I'm sure they will share with you what they have placed on their "List of Things They Learned." Thank you Jack for your message! History Panel Following Jack's opening rema rks, the History Committee asked Jack Herschend, Joan Bogart, Roy Davis and John Winther (all right) to take part in a History panel to field audience questions. Bob Holt was moderator and several stories were shared regarding the formation of the NCA to t he funniest stories about members, many long gone. Bob shared stories from Harrison Terk who at the last minute could not attend.. There were loads of laughs! The House on the Rock How does one describe this attraction? Matt Doyle says: I have been plagued on reaching a description of the House on the Rock. Cool, creepy, interesting, dark and certainly unique. I would imagine that their employees are similar to ours in that they could have worked there for years and still see things they have no t noticed before. Shalayne Mayfield said it best: I left sooo confused and overwhelmed. How?! Why?! What in the world?! That place was incredible.


Educational Seminars Cave of the Mounds Da y


50th Anniversary Gala Banquet at Wintergreen


Awards Night at 50th Gala Banquet 1. Doug Campbell of Fantast ic Caverns accepts t he Best of Cave Talk Award on behalf of Jeff Campbell for Jeff's M arch 2015 article "How Do You Know When You Have Crossed The Line With An Over c rowded Gift Shop ?" 2 Greg Beckler presents Claudia Yundt of Squire Boone Caverns & Village with the "Yabba Dabba Do o Award" in recognition for the ENTHUSIASTIC manner in which she performs her many duties as a member of the Retail and Vendor Show Committees. Yabba Dabba Doo Claudia! 3. Steve Rawlings presents Steve Thompson of Bridal Cave with the "Silver Dollar Make A Difference Award" for his tireless efforts to preserve traffic generator signs for the benefit for the caves of Missouri Thank you for Making A Difference Steve! 4 & 5. Newly elected NCA President Patty Perlaky presents Outgoing President Steve Rawlings with his "Plaque of Appreciation" and gift for the time and energy fulfill ing the duties of the office of president. "The NCA Wishes To Sincerely Thank You Steve For Your Commitment To The Show Cave Industry Fall 2013 Fall 2015.' Thank You t o Joe & Ann the Rooney Family and All the folks at Cave of the Mo unds For Being Wonderful Hosts. We All Had A Great Time Celebrating Our 50th Anniversary!! Keep These Folks In Your Prayers Marion Dunlavy (Lincoln Caverns) who took a bad fall and hit her head and is recovering in the hospital. Les Turilli (Meramec Caverns) who recently underwent open heart surgery. John Winter (Lincoln Caverns) who suffered a stroke and is recovering at home. Ginny Terk who underwent emergency surgery and is recovering at home. Steve Rawlings had a hip replacement on Sept ember 30 and has reported he is doing well and started rehab the next day.


Retired Surgeon Donates 1806 Map of Grand Caverns to the Cave Dr. William Halliday, M.D., former cardiac surgeon, prolific author, and eminent cave historian, recently traveled from his home in Nashville, Tennessee to donate his 1806 map of Grand Caverns to the cave in honor of his upcoming 90 th birthday. He acquired the map some 50 years ago. A copy of the original map, it is one of only a few known to still exist. The map is a and the Town of Grottoes is deeply indebted to Dr. Halliday for his generous donation. Several members of the Grottoes Town Council, as well as Park and Town staff members, were on hand to thank Dr. Halliday for hi s donation. The map will be put on display in the stone lodge at the cave in the near future. The cave was discovered in 1804 by Bernard Weyer who was hunting on the property of his employer, Matthias Amen. When the cave was opened to the public in 1806, the latter tried to name the cave after himself, but public opinion quickly changed the name to honor the discoverer instead. The cave was kno wn as Caverns. For much of the 19 th wonders of the world and people traveled from all over the globe to see it. The cave has b longest continuously operating show cave in the United States. Lettie Stickley Grand Caverns NOTE: Lettie Stickley Informed us she will be leaving Grand Caverns for a new position with the County. We wish her all the best as she will be missed in the NCA. Goo d L uck Lettie! Reita Lea Bunch, Owner Bluff Dwellers Cavern Passes Mrs. Reita Lea Bunch, 85, of Noel, Missouri, departed this life on Thursday evening, September 10, 2015, at the Freeman Hospital in Neosho, Missouri, after a recent decline in health. Reita entered this life on September 19, 1929, in Noel, Missouri, daughter of the late Charles Arthur and Mattie Ellen (Donaghue) Browning. She was raised in Noel, Missouri and was a 1948 graduate of Noel High School. She was united in marriage to George Bunch on May 23, 1951, in Bentonville, Arkansas, and to this union two sons and a d aughter were born. In 1951, they moved their family to Wichita, Kansas. They resided in Wichita for forty years, before returning home to Noel in 1991 to assume ownership of the family business, Bluff Dwellers Cavern. She enjoyed reading, crocheting, trave ling and tending to the needs of the business. Reita was a longtime member of the Noel United Methodist Church. She was preceded in death by her parents; and all of her siblings. Reita is survived by her husband of 64 years, George Bunch of the home; two s ons, Michael Bunch and wife, Carolyn, of Wichita, Kansas and Ray Bunch and wife, Ann, of Duncan, Oklahoma; a daughter, Mary Barnes and husband, Tom, of Wichita, Kansas; four grandchildren, Taylor Bunch, Lacy Barnes Wulfers, Collin Bunch and Casey Bunch; tw o great grandchildren, Ellcie and Ender Bunch; as well as a host of other family and friends. Memorial services for Mrs. Bunch were 11:00 a.m. Monday, September 14, 2015, in the Noel Chapel of the Ozark Funeral Homes with Pastor Mark Kailbourn officiating. On line condolences may be sent to the family through our website Arrangements are under the personal care and direction of the Ozark Funeral Home in Noel, Missouri. The entire NCA Family e xtends our sympathy to George and his family and the staff at Bluff Dwellers. We will miss Reita. Dr. William R. Halliday, M.D., with his 1806 map of Grand Caverns (then known as donated to the cave. Photo by Jim McC onkey.


South African Cave Yields Strange Bones of Early Human Like Species Scientists have discovered the fossilized remains of an unusual human like creature that lived long ago. Exactly how long ago is still a mystery and that's not the only mystery surrounding this newfound species. The bones have a strange mix of primitive and modern features, and were found in an even stranger place an almost inaccessible chamber deep inside a South African cave called Rising Star. "It is perhaps one of the best known caves in all of South Africa," says Lee Berger who studies human evolution at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. In 2013, some local cavers found some fossils inside Rising Star cave. Berger had asked them to be on the lookout, so they brought him photos. "And there I saw something I perhaps thought I'd never see in my life," recalls Berger. "That is, clearly primitive hominin remains lying on the floor of a cave." A j aw and a skull were just sitting there in the dirt usually such bones are encased in rock. Berger was excited, but he knew he personally could never reach this fossil site. To get into the cave chamber, you have to climb a steep, jagged rockfall called Dragon's Back, then wiggle through a small opening that leads to a long, narrow crack. The crack is only about 7 1/2 inches wide, and goes down more than 30 feet. Squeezing through it is the only way to reach the chamber of bones at the bottom. Since he co uldn't go, Berger sent in his tall, skinny 16 year old son. "When he came out after 45 minutes, he stuck his head out. And to tell you how bad I am, I didn't say: 'Are you OK?' I said: 'And?' And he says, 'Daddy, it's wonderful.' Berger got funding from the National Geographic Society to excavate the site. And he advertised for research assistants on Facebook for skinny scientists who weren't claustrophobic. Six women took the job. They worked in the chamber almost like spacewalkers, communicating with researchers outside via cameras and about 2 miles of fiber optic cable. The team in the chamber used paintb rushes and toothpicks to gently unearth fossil bones there were more than 1,550 of them, an incredible treasure trove. The researchers describe their find Thursday in a journal called eLife "Often I was wondering, 'How on Earth are we going to get that fossil out?' because the density of bones in that chamber wa s so great, it was like a puzzle to get each fossil out," says Becca Peixotto one of the scientist cavers and a doctoral student in anthropology at American University The bones come from at least 15 individuals, says John Hawks a paleoanthropologist from the University of Wisconsin, Madison who was on the team that studied the bones. "We have every age group represented" among the fossils, he says. "We have newborns; we have children of almost every age; we have adults and old adults." Anthropologist Lee Berger's daughter, Megan (top), and Rick Hunter, a member of the underground exploration team, navigate the narrow chutes leading to the Dinaledi Chamber of the Rising Star cave in South Africa. That's where fossilized bones belonging to H. naledi, a new species related to humans, were discovered. The six researchers who explored the chamber pose in front of the entrance to the caves. Between them they recovered more than 1500 fossils.


He says these creatures were short less than 5 feet tall and thin. They have a particular combination of features th at has never been seen before. "It's a new species to science," says Hawks. Researchers have named it Homo naledi, because "naledi" means "star" in a local South African language. "They have a very small brain they are not human like at all in their br ain," Hawks says. "It's around a third the size of a human brain today." But the creatures had feet like us, and walked in a very human like way. Their hands were also like ours, but their fingers were more curved. The researchers also tackled this question: How did these human like creatures get into such a crazy spot? It looks as though the cave chamber has always been hard to reach. There are no animal bones there, except for a handful of bits from birds and mice. There's no evidence that a carniv ore dragged the human like creatures in, or that they somehow got washed in. And there's no evidence of a mass death, such as a cave accident. Berger believes someone had to have put the bodies there. "Homo naledi was deliberately disposing of its dead in a repeated, ritualized fashion in this deep underground chamber," he says. That's quite a claim that kind of ritual has been thought to be unique to modern humans or our very close relatives. And really, the whole discovery from the bones to their bizarre location has perplexed experts on human evolution. "To be honest, I would really distrust anyone who thinks they understand what the significance of these finds is," says Bernard Wood a paleoanthropologist at George Washington University. Usually scientists can tell how old fo ssilized bones are, but in this case the geology of the cave gives no clues. The bones could be less than 100,000 years old or several million years old. "These folks do not have an age, yet they have some remarkable fossils, and the context of them is also remarkable, says Wood. "It's not only remarkable, it's also rather weird. But nonetheless, the fossils are important. So the community is, I think, struggling to work out what it all means." He notes that only a small section of the cave chamber has been excavated, and it looks like many more bones are down there. "There is the potential for thousands of specimens in that cave," says Wood. "Intellectually, it's a real puzzle. And I think it's going to take scientists quite a time to get their heads around what the r eal significance of these discoveries is." National Geographic paleoartist John Gurche used fos sils from a South African cave to reconstruct the face of Homo naledi, the newest addition to the genus Homo. A composite skeleton of H. naledi is surrounded by some of the hundreds of other fossil elements recovered from the Dinaledi Chamber in the Rising Star cave in South Africa. More details of the discovery of naledi appear in National Geographic magazine. All images in this post are from the magazine's October issue


WNS Report In a study published in the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology scientists analyzed tissues of 48 dead and dying bats (all reported with WNS). They checked for 76 different chemicals. Directly from the article: Numerous chemicals w ere detected in the bat tissues. The PBDE flame retardants were detected in every sample tested. Other chemicals with relatively high detection frequencies included salicyclic acid, thiabendazole, and caffeine. Chemicals that were also detected but at lowe r frequencies included bisphenol A, DEET, ibuprofen, and triclosan. Most of the chemicals detected in bats can be found in the effluents of sewage treatment plants and in streams, rivers, and lakes that have been contaminated by both point and non point s ources of pollution. Exposure to these chemicals likely occurs predominately through the food that the bats eat. These bats are insectivores, which means that they feed on insects such as flies, mosquitoes, beetles, and moths. Insects can pick up the chemi cals when they breed in contaminated habitats and then pass them on to their predators, in this case, the bats. At this point in time, it is not known if these chemicals are affecting the health of the bats. It is possible that some of t hese chemicals are say. It is also possible that some of the chemicals such as the stimulant caffeine may arouse bats out of hibernation similar to the fungal pathogen in effect, creating a one two punch on their fat stores. The scientists of the new study are hoping to look into these issues in the future. Patty Perlaky WNS Chair Two Cave Association Members Govern Southern Highlands Attractions At a recent Southern Highlands Attraction s meeting President Rod Graves (Luray Caverns) passed the "Hatchet" on to Lisa McClung (Lost Sea) as the incoming President for the next two years. Congratulations! National Cave & Karst Management Symposium, 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 2 9 March 3 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 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


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