Cave Talk

Cave Talk

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Cave Talk
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Cave Talk
National Caves Association
National Caves Association
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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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University of South Florida
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K26-05365 ( USFLDC DOI )
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Robert A. Holt PO Box 625, Cobleskill, NY 12043 E xecutive Director Phone: 518 231 5420 E mail: April 2018 Happy Easte r & Happy Passover President ial & Executive Director Mid Winter Notes she knows ho w to dress up our NCA President at our recent Board of Directors meeting. The Board along with our Insurance Committee met March 6 & 7 for our annual Mid Winter Meeting in St. Louis. The Finance Committee had met prior and the Year End Financials for 2017 had been distributed to the Board. The books are all in order and our financial investments are doing well. Discussion was had on the Tesla program which was discussed at a Cracker Barrel meeting at last fall See related story in this issue. Regional Directors gave their reports. Many were waiting for responses from individual caves of which severa l are not open during the winter. For the most part, those reporting stated they had a very good to exceptional year 2017. Once every director has their report, Bob will be able to post it to the website. Convention Coordinator Susan Berdeaux was unable to attend the meeting due to sickness. Bob gave her report stating that the folks at Glenwood Caverns have some exciting things planned for us this year in Colorado. Steve entioned they will have fea ture stories in Cave Talk each month to get folks excited Claudia Yundt, Retail Committee Chair said we will have a sold out Vendor Show and Steve is also having an A ttraction Vendor Show. Convention 2019 will be in Chattanooga, TN where Ruby Falls will h ost and we get to see their big OFFICERS President : John Graves Luray Caverns, VA Ph: 540 743 6551 john.graves@luraycaverns. com Vice President : Al Mathis DeSoto Caverns, AL Ph: 256 872 6240 Secretary Treasurer : Bob Holt National Caves Association Ph: 518 231 5420 Past President : Patty Perlaky Cave Without A Name, TX Ph: 830 537 4212 REGIONAL DIRECTORS Region One : (CT, DE, ME, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT) Greg Beckler Natural Stone Bridge & Caves, NY Ph: 518 494 2283 Region Two : (MD, VA, WV, KY) Eric Helton Diamond Caverns, KY Ph: 270 749 2233 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 ) Lisa McClung Lost Sea, TN Ph: 423 337 6616 D IRECTOR AT LARGE Denise Bell Seneca Caverns, OH Ph: 419 483 6711 D IRECTOR EMERITUS Steve Runkle Cave of the Winds, CO Ph: 719 685 5444 NCA President John Graves


expansion. 2020 will be hosted by Lake Shasta Caverns, CA. We are looking for a host in 2021, however, Brad Wuest is hoping to get a first ever ISCA Congress in the United States in 2022. Should that happen, he is hoping tha t the NCA Convention could be back to back with ISCA and Texas will be the host for both. The Mid Winter Meeting has been held in St. Louis for a number of years now and our contract with the Renaissance Airport Hotel is up. Due to the fact that we have ha d a few problems this year and any new contract will now have attrition charges, the decision was made to not renew and the board strongly agreed to have Susan look at Florida locations. Patty Perlaky talked about the CavesLIVE program and the most recent video produced through the U. S. Forest Service. Everyone agreed that it was an exceptional learning tool for school groups. John Graves said that Luray would be hosting CavesLIVE live broadcast from the cave on March 14. (See related story in this issue) Patty said the Forest Service gives all our caves permission to link the Forest Service videos, material to your own website. She also said the videos would also be excellent to use for Cave Day June 6. Insurance Committee met and Brad Wuest reported th at Lloyds of London appears to be working out fine for those who are in the program. The first loss control bonus checks will go out in 2019. Since 2016 the calculation is around 90K. The Committee talked about future webinars and reported on t he most rece For those who missed it you will find it on the website. Since the audio porti on did not work properly there is a plan to do the webinar over again in hopes for more attendees and good working audio. National Cave & Karst Day was discussed and all agreed 2017 was a great roll out and signs are pointing to more caves getting on board for 2018. It was encouraged that all caves use #nationalcaveday in their promotions. program and each year an event is held in Italy. Brad has had discussion with George Veni, Executive Director of NCKRI to see if there is an providing a workshop. We would not do this in one location for all tour guides as it would not be possible. The USA is a bit bigger than Italy. We are looking a t a Tra iner The Board is very excited and Patty Perlaky volunteered to chair the program. More on this in a future CT issue. size. It would las t between 30 seconds and 2 minutes. It would be available for member caves to tag on their own cave. It was voted on by the Board to begin the process and have a conversation with Gary Berdeaux who has photographed and did videograph ic work for many NCA me mbers; seeing if he would be interested in helping with this project. Gary has his Graphics company and already produces our NCA brochure. More to come on this! Finally, it was recommended that the Executive Director get a new laptop. The la ptop is used for presentations at Convention and we are always having problems connecting to whatever the host hotel has. Bob said since Mat t Doyle is a primary user at Convention time he should help in the selection process. All agreed and soon Cave Talk will come rolling off a new fang dangled laptop. John & Bob


Mystery Shack Appears at War Eagle Cavern on Beaver Lake Our cove on Beaver Lake is named "Devil's Gap", named for the "devil's brew" made in the cavern. Finding evidence of this dangerous enterprise in the cavern (including pieces of a still) over the years, it inspired Dennis to create this most unique attraction where gravity seems to turn upside down! Water and balls flow uphill and everything hangs at strange angles. People appear to grow taller and then shorter simply by standing on the only level spot on the mountain! How did this happen? Is it a sinkhole or vortex pulling everything in? Or did the good ole boys just ha ve too much "white lightning" when they built their shacks above the cavern? Dennis has totally enjoyed bringing this fun activity to our customers, and spends part of each day hanging out in the shacks, telling stories of the Ozark moonshiners who lived and worked in these hills (some are even true!) Dennis and Vicky Boyer War Eagle Cavern on Beaver Lake Keep Roy Davis In Your Prayers Just prior to the release of this issue, Gordon Smith reported that Roy is in failing health and unfortunately is not expecte d to get better and may only have days. Roy is a great friend to all of us and we pray for peace and comfort as he prepares to go t o his Heavenly home. We will keep you posted.


Ruby Falls Acquires R&R Hospitality As of March 14, Ruby Falls has acquired the sole ownership of R&R Hospitality LLC, commonly known as R&R Outdoor, and its portfolio of 92 billboard assets in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina. The regional billboard company previously owned jointly by See Rock City (SRC) Inc. and Ruby Falls LLC, offers advertisers the ability to reach audiences in key ar eas of the Southeast. SRC has decided to sell its interest in the outdoor advertising company, while planning to remain a significant client. R&R Hospitality continues to focus on service, strong presence and integrity with this purchase transaction. Falls. standing commitment to the medium, as well as our desire to enhance and grow it R&R Hospitality LLC is dedicated to connecting brands with consumers through strategically located outdoor advertising. opportunities to reach their target audience. Meagan Jolley, TMP Public Relations Manager R&R Hospitality Tesla Destination Charging Program During a Cracker Barrel at convention last year, Eric Evans told everyone about the Tesla Destination Charging Program. It was suggested it might be something the NCA could do as a group. Because this is very site specific and local electricians are used to install the chargers, this is best done individually by caves that are interested. At the time I applied t o Tesla for Cave Without A Name, Tesla would provide approved destinations with one to three chargers and pays up to $1500 each for the installation of each charger. In addition, the location is on Tesla's charging map on the website and in every Tesla ve hicle. The website has changed recently, and the details are no longer shown, so it looks like you have to complete a short form to find out the details (I am not sure if they are offering the chargers f ree and the installation cost). To find out more about the program, go to partners Complete the "Suggest a Charging Site" with your cave's information (it takes a few minutes). Within a few days, Tesla will send a n email. If approved, the next step is to find an electrician certified by Tesla for the installation. These are listed under the suggest a charging site form. Also on the site, they have sample installation quotes and videos. Patty Perlaky Cave Withou t A Name


Braoadcast from Luray Caverns Hopefully you had the opportunity to watch the CavesLIVE Broadcast from inside Luray Caverns on March 14. According to John Graves the broadcast was a success. Members of the U. S. Forest Service were the speakers and broadcast host. Q&A took place throughout the session via Facebook and a local Virginia school were audie nce participants. Thanks to John Graves and the U. S. Forest Service for the photographs.


Bats May Be Poised For A Comeback From White Nose Syndrome Ever since white nose syndrome (WNS) began ravaging certain species of hibernating bats in northeastern North and devastating prognoses for the insect devouring predators. WNS is a cold loving fungus originating in Eurasia where bats evolved to develop immunity to it. In the United States, where it arrived only recently, WNS disrupts sleep, causing them to expend too much energy as the snow hued fungus grows over their noses and wings. To date, an estimated 6 plus million bats ha ve succumbed to the disease caused by a fungus called Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) species in North America. Some species are experiencing near total collapse: Little brown bat pop ulations have been decimated by about 90 percent, while tricolored and northern long eared bats are suffering losses of around 97 percent. Ecologists thought WNS might halt at the Rockies, but in 2016 news broke that it had made its way to Washington State. One of the most precipitous declines in wild mammals conceivably had no end. A slew of new research into hibernating bats and the disease, however, offers product of a national plan developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) beginning 10 years ago, which pulled together biologists, ecologists, mycologists, biochemists, and other scientists working in universities NGOs, and state, federal, and tribal agencies to identify, and hopefully eradicate, Pd. la genes allowed Lindner and fellow researchers to first coauthored another genomic study showing that Pd, unlike similar fungi, was missing an enzyme that lets it repair i ts own DNA after exposure to UV light. This was a welcome sign of possible weakness. or injuring a treatment is currently being tested by mammalogist DeeAnn Reeder and her immunologist colleague Kenneth Field at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. Sixty WNS infected little brown bats collected in ut humid manmade hibernacula chambers, which look like glass Bat with WNS in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo Courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Little Brown Bat with WNS. Photo Courtesy of University of Illinois / Steve Taylor


if not for treating the bats themselves (it would be a logistical nightmare to find them all in the wild) then for treating the caves and mines in which they hibernate. In the last two years, Reeder and Field have been involved in other heartening WNS research. The primary way WNS kills bats is by causing them to wake too frequently from hibernation, using up stores of fat and ener gy. One of Reeder and from 2017 shows that some less devastated species, like big brown bats, either have natural resistance to Pd or have figured out how to evade it. Another piec e of good news, according to Field, is that remnant populations of infected little brown bats are now managing [resistant] genes to their offspring what W ill similar outcomes emerge in other populations? Paul Cryan, a research biologist with the United States Geological Survey (USGS), has also found evidence of possible adaptations He and a team installed thermal cameras in two caves in Virginia and Indiana to watch infect ed little brown and Indiana bats hibernating over three winters. In analyzing the footage, he discovered that the Indiana bats had developed a WNS coping strategy of waking up together every night. He speculates that the extra group warmth limits either th e spread of the cold loving fungus, or the energy usage of the bats, allow ing them to survive until spring. The Indiana bats had developed a WNS coping strategy of waking up together every night the extra group warmth may limit either the spread of the co ld loving fungus, or the ener gy usage of the bats, allowing them to survive until spring. studied grou p so far. Cryan points out that such encouraging results will help wildlife managers prioritize interventions for species that are most at risk. Nose Syndrom e Plan, working to coordinate efforts among more than 100 research and consulting partners, distribute funding, and eastern small foot b are potentially facing extinctio But, he says, the multidisciplinary efforts spearheaded by USFWS represent the kinds of strategy needed for future responses to such epidemics. WNS and other fungal pathogens diseases that harm wildlife are on the rise, due to increased human visits t o previously remote places, which ups the risk that people will track pathogens out with them; and also climate change, which can create wetter conditions that allow some fungi to thrive. Amphibian chytrid fungus, for A bat at the entr n ace of Mt. Aelous Cave in Vermont Photo Courtesy of Ann Froschauer / USFWS


instance, has helped lead to declines or extinctions of an estimated 200 species of frogs around the globe in the last 30 years. And snake fungal disease is spreading across the eastern and midw estern United States. ed bats and other species, too in years to come. Lela Nargi Sierra, The national magazine of the Sierra Club WNS Report After the CBD sued the USFS for allowing fracking in the Wayne National Forest in Ohio, the USFS reports it is going to revise its land management plan. Governor LePage of Maine recently imposed a moratorium on new wind energy projects in western and coas tal Maine. According to the article, an Obama administration rule allows wind turbines to kill or injure up to 4200 bald eagles per year without penalty in exchange for a $36,000 license for 30 years. This does not include migratory birds or bats that d ie from wind turbines. Ultrasound bat monitoring will begin in A laska in a few weeks by the Dep artment of Fish and Game. The monitoring has both stationary and mobile components. The mobile component utilizes volunteers to drive 20 mph for an hour and a half and record bat calls. Patty Perlaky WNS Chair ISCA Congress Gathers In Italy The 8 th International Show Caves Association (ISCA) Congress is planned to take place October 12 18, 2018 in Genga, Italy. The Pre Congress Tour will begin on October 9 and the Post Congress Tour ends on the October 21. If there is ever a Congress to attend, this is the one! It might be another 30 years before it circles back to Italy. There is a wonderful itinerary in the works visiting several caves includin g Grotte di Frasassi who is hosting. If you are interested in attending and touring with several NCA members, you are encouraged to visit the link below which contains the agenda and registration form. Invitation and Registration 2018 Grotte di Frasassi in Genga, Italy


Convention Update vendor shows. We will host the normal retail vendor show on Monday. That show at this time is totally full! We are also going to host a ride/attraction show on Wednesday afternoon when you come up to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. We already have a sluice company, manufacturers of some of our rides, as well as others signed up. Thanks to Natural Bridge Cavern be setting up a demo in our cave for all of us to experience. I am excited about a Colorado company that has an 8x24 foot trailer with 60 feet of simulated cave passage. The formations, bats, cave drawings are all electronic and sense when you bump them. The computer keeps score as you pass through. This company travels and does great teaching workshops, but they can also build a custom cave for you that could be an attraction or teaching tool. This is your co nvention, and we welcome your input. We also have the opportunity for you to win a free registration. If you have not yet done so, please click on the link and fill out the survey. The survey will be your entry. The winner will be announced in the May Cave Talk. Take the Survey Win a FREE Convention Registration! On a different note, I have heard from some of you who are thinking about taking the Amtrak into Glenwood. It is a beautiful ride through the mountains, especially through Glenwood Canyon. Some fun trivia: Glenwood Canyon was the inspiration for the dome c ars. In 1944, a GE executive, Cyrus Osborn, traveled by train through the canyon. He thought that passengers would love to have a panoramic view. By 1945, he had a dome car built and put on the Twin Cities Zephyr and, in 1949, the California Zephyr was go ing through Glenwood Canyon with dome cars. The California Zephyr is one of Amtrak s most popular routes, so you may want to book early. If you travel by train but want to explore our area pre or post conference, there is an Enterprise car rental in town. During the convention you won't really need a car, the hotel is within walking distance from the train station and they offer a shuttle. Next month we will share some ideas for some possible planned pre and post con vention activities as well as activiti es for children and spouses during our meeting times. We hope to see you in September. Kathy Miller Natural Attractions Manager Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park


Fantastic Caverns Shoots For The Moon With New App Update Fantastic Caverns company has chosen to partner with professional mobile app studio Moonbeam Development of Springfield, Mo to update their popular Branson Entertainment Guide app The new update is to include all new features coming in early 2018, that aim to make finding great Branson area attractions, and destinations even easier for the millions heading towards the Ozarks this season. Richard Harris, CEO of Moonbeam says. Moonbeam Development is no stranger to mobile, with a long list of successes since 2009, including Chirp GP S, Bell Ringer, Milk it game, Easy Filter, and more all of which have achieved top 10 status in the app stores. They were a part of the original Google AFMA program, and founding publishers of both the iOS and Android app stores over 10 years ago. The C ity of Branson website reports Branson as having a population of just over 10,000 full time residents, but host to millions of visitors each year to area lakes, theatres, attractions and lodging. First launched in 2012, the Branson Entertainment Guide app helps visitors find everything there is to do in Branson and is used as a free mobile resource by many visitors year round. Fantastic Caverns is thrilled for the opportunity to work with a local mob ile app studio in order to provide this resource to visitors. After some initial discussions with Moonbeam Development regarding our Branson Entertainment Guide app, we quickly determined the Moonbeam team is extremely knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and down to earth. Look for an official update to the app coming in early April. It will be available for iOS and Android. Fantastic Caverns partners with Moonbeam Development to update their popular Branson Entertainment Guide app. Texas Serial Bomber Near Inner Space Cavern Taunya Vessels at Inner Space Cavern, Georgetown, Texas says the car explosion whe re the bad guy Mark Anthony Conditt died was about 3 miles from the cave. The traffic was backed up past the cave on I 35 Taunya W e were starting to have school groups cancel field trips because school districts were not allowing travel to t he Austin area.


Insurance Column : Not All Background Checks A re Created Equal A case study on the dangers of not utilizing a Social Security Number Trace as a background screening tool THE CHALLENGE they can afford. These checks ONLY look to see if the provided name appears in a criminal database. Applicants that have something to hide migh t change the letters in the spelling of their real name (Brett becomes Britt), or they may assume a new name altogether (Brett becomes Alex). THE DECISION ack clear, but their put his finger on it. So their they run a Social Sec urity Number (SSN) Trace on the provided SSN number. THE RESULTS Rerunning the background check for this individual to include the SSN Trace element revealed the applicant had provided included an incorrect middle name and a small variation on the spelling of his first name small things that would generally escape notice. Using the additional names they found on the Trace, we discovered a number of alarming records which included Sex Offender Registration NON COMPLIANT. The applicant had left one state ( among other things) to try and land a job with the client in a different state. none of the criminal records were picked up locally. Speleophotography Cousin Colton Moore spoke to my high school photography class about Caverns of Sonora cave life. These kids are learning the basics before we venture into speleophotography field trip in April. Shalayne Mayfield Woman s History Month DeSoto Caverns celebrated Woman s History Month by honoring the founder Ida Mathis. Along with several business partners, Mathis purchased the cave in 1910. She felt the land had deeper value than monetary gain and purchased the other shares from the other business partners, living up to her nickname "Eco nomic Moses of the South."


Chuck Catches A Big Fish Speared it in a cave, no kill shot. Fish went wild swimming like a maniac. Broke the line, blasted for the cave exit, ran into my dive buddy, turned around, swam by me. I dragged the line trailing from the spear. Worked my way up to the spear and hung on for dear life. Fish smashed me all through the cave, knocked my mask off twice (in the dark), lost my light. Knocked my fin off once, and then with a sledgehammer blow to my head, he knocked my regulator out of my mouth. And yet, I still hung on jammed him into the wall of the cave trying to hold him still. He kept up with powerful flurries and bursts of flapping that huge tail fin. I held and held for ten full m inutes till he finally began to bleed out. Then I dragged him out of the cave to daylight, pinned him to the sea floor and wrapped my legs around him locked at the ankles. Dive buddy gave me his knife and I stabbed him. Finally, he expired. Dive buddy gat hered up all the missing gear, gun (without spear), light, and lobster bag, all strewn about premises. Got fish on stringer, swam back. Had ladder hanging in ocean. Tried to lift fish out of the water. Could not. Stringer line b roke, fish crashed back into th Dean complied and thre w down a bigger rope. Fish was too heavy to lift by one person, so I pushed up from the sea while Dean pulled from above. Finally got him out and then had to get him over rugged lava path to 20 foot wooden ladder up the cliff. S freezer, in many, many zip lock bags. Chuck Thorne Hana Lava Tube Calendar of Events The Sinkhole Conference, Shepherdstown, West Virginia, April 2 6, 2018 National Cave and Karst Day, June 6, 2018 NSS Convention 201 8, Helena, 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 9 21, 2018 International Gift Exposition in the Smokies 2018 Gatlinburg, Tennessee, (Dates TBD) IAAPA 201 8 Orlando Florida, November 13 16, 2018 National Cave and Karst Day, June 6, 2019 NCA Convention 2019, Host: Ruby Falls, Chattanooga, Tennessee, (Dates TBD) IAAPA 201 9 Orlando, Florida, November 19 22, 2019 National Cave and Karst Day, June 6, 2020 NCA Convention 2020 Host: Lake Shasta Caverns, Lakehead, California, (Dates TBD) National Cave and Karst Day, June 6, 2021 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 of your news. Please send your articles, photographs to May 2018 Cave Talk Deadline Please have all articles to Bob Holt no later than April 15. Tha nk you!


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