February 15, 2008


Pat Sims                       Al Stewart                     Mary Sue Socky            Doug Feller

Susan Burr                    Dave Socky                   Carl Alls                        *Nicholas Socky

*=Guest                       *Leoanrd Rowe

Pat Sims (VC) was acting Chair in Marian McConnell’s absence.  




1/19/2008:  BRG trip to Lipps Entrance section of Organ Cave, WVa.


1/19:  Pat Sims and Susan Burr did a quick trip into Island Ford Cave, VA after checking out more things at the Fall VAR site and doing some exterior decorating in WVA near Organ Cave. 


1/29: Mary Sue Socky accompanied a group of Korean Exchange students into Dixie Caverns, VA.  They found one baby slimy salamander.  Moss is starting to regrow in the lower levels of Dixie.  The Great Wall of Travis is holding up, for the most part.


2/1: Susan Burr and Pat Sims went to Grand Caverns, VA.  Susan tried (again) to access the very tight new area beyond Dante’s Inferno, almost got stuck, but made it out.  


2/8:  Maxwelton Survey



2/16/2008 – Tomorrow – Cave Socky leads the annual McClung’s trip into the vertical Lightner Entrance.  Meet at 9a, HROM.

2/16/2008 – Tomorrow – Doug Feller leads horizontal trip to Clarks’ Cave, VA.  Meet 9a, HROM

3/1-2/2008 – Trip to Grand Caverns.  Contact Carol Tiderman  for a slot on the project.


NEXT MONTH”S BRG TRIPCrossroads Cave, VA.  Trip leader is Susan Burr.


PROGRAM:  NSS DVD  “Voices of the Cave”.  





TREASURER  1/18/08

General Fund       $ 6051.00

Conservation        $   533.92

Equipment Fund $    321.00

Cave Bucks         $     41.30

 Total:    $ 6947.22




General Fund     $ 4,838.10

Conservation      $ 1,976.09 *Note 1

Equipment Fund$    321.00

Cave Bucks       $      57.30  

  Total: $ 7192.49


 *Note 1: $1,420.00 was transfered from the general account to the conservation fund. This money was paid to BRG for the Dixie Caverns Haunted Cave.


Committee Reports:

Newsletter:  Send in your artwork, photos, and articles.  Postage will be rising by 1 cent soon. 

Membership:  Pay your dues!  Cards, membership list and By-Laws will be mailed out in March 

ROCKS: nothing to report

S&T:  No report

Conservation: vacant

Ways & Means: vacant


Membership Proposals

Nothing tabled, nothing new.  NSS Membership brochures are at the front desk.

Pay your 2008 dues to the treasurer.  $10.00 per person, $5.00 each additional family member. 



·         Hosting Fall VAR 2008 (Susan Burr) Site is Covington Moose Lodge.  Date:  Sept. 19-21.  BRG and JRG are co-hosting the 2008 Fall VAR.

·         Haunted Cave Wrap-Up:  let’s distribute some $$.  See attachment.

·         BRG Website: Dave Socky and Marian McConnell are doing the home page.  This will be most useful for Fall VAR, too.   The VAR Website is Almost Ready!

·         MAKC Renewal – Susan took the form, will pay (see attachment # 1)



  • White Nose Syndrome – Several caves in NY, VT are hard hit.  Thousands of bats are dying.  Scientists are trying to find out what’s causing it.  Closure list will be on an attachment.  USFish&Wildlife Service (federal) and WVa Dept. of Natural Resources have requested the closure of all Bat Caves in the state of WVa.  Why?  As a precaution (No WNS in WVa yet) but if it is communicable, lots of N.E. cavers come to WVa on long weekends to cave, may indivertibly bring fungus, microbe, evil spirits with them.  From WVa, it could go to TAG, Indiana, etc. 
  • Cave Closures due to WNS  (Mary Sue Socky)

Some caves in WVA have been closed.  Trout Rocks, Thorn/Sinnett, Elkhorn Mountain, The Portal/Boarhole, Arbogast, Patton’s, Piercy’s, etc.  See BRG website for a more complete list.


Mary Sue Socky had piles of the older (2005) VAR Limited Access Cave List printed, and encouraged people to use it when planning for cave trips, and to ALWAYS get landowner permission before caving!  Three copies of the 2008 VAR Limited Access Cave list were also printed, and will be at every BRG meeting.    Mary Sue also had two “homemade lists” – Bats Sleep Here (VAR bat caves that should be avoided in winter) and Bats DON’T Use These Caves – a list of caves that bats DO NOT use as hibernacula.


The final word on WNS – WE Don’t Know.  SO:

  • WASH your cave gear after every trip (pack boots gloves helmet too!)
  • 100 Bats Rule: Stay out of Bat Caves, where more than 100 bats hibernate.
  • Stay out of caves that have any number of endangered bat species (federal).
  • Report any suspected cases of WNS you may see (take a photo, if possible!)
  • Respect all DNR, USFW, and private Landowner cave closures.
  • We will keep you posted on any new developments with WNS.


IKC  - Texas Grotto encourages other grottos to donate to the 2009 IKS.  Dave Socky proposed that BRG donate $100.00.  Seconded, voted:  5 yes, 1 abstain.  Motion Passes.   



  • 2008 SERA/VAR brochures, describing the upcoming weekend in June 2008.
  • NCRC Registration May 3-10, 2008, Mentone, AL. requirements and papers
  • PSC 50th Anniversary Banquet info  3/22/2008 Silver Spring MD
  • Email from Carolyn Seay, Va Museum of Natural History in Martinsville, VA wants to know if BRG wishes to set up table, participate in their Outdoor Family Fun Festival on 7/26/2008. 
  • Grand Caverns Easter Restoration Camp,  March 22-23, 2008
  • NSS Convention 2008 (Lake City FL) Aug. 11-15, 2008 registration info.
  • Nice personal Xmas cards (2) from Shelia & Joe Rogers (Norman Cave, WV)     



Meeting ended  8:48p.


Minutes submitted by

Mary Sue Socky

Secretary, Blue Ridge Grotto.




Attachment 1:


BRG Conservation Fund Donations

The numbers below were posted in the Feb. DUMP and voted on at the 2/16/08 meeting.  The numbers below should add up to $1400.00, with most of that coming from Haunted Cave 2008.

·  Virginia Speleological Society (VSS) $ 75.00

·  Virginia Area Region (VAR) $ 75.00

·  West Va Cave Conservancy (WVCC) $150.00

·  Vinton Firehouse $100.00

·  SE Cave Conservancy (SECCI) $150.00

·  National Caves Association (NCA) $ 50.00

·  Bat Conservation International (BCI) $100.00

·  American Cave Conservancy (ACCA) $150.00

·  NSS: Save the Caves $ 75.00

·  NSS: Cave Vandalism Deterrent Award $ 50.00

·  Virginia Cave Board (VCB) $ 75.00

·  Mid Atlantic Karst Conservancy (MAKC) $150.00

·  WV Association for Cave Studies (WVACS) $ 50.00  $75.00

·  National Cave Rescue Commission (NCRC) $ 50.00

·  Butler Cave Conservancy Society (BCCS) $ 50.00  $25.00

·  The Nature Conservancy (TNC) $ 50.00


 Attachment 2:  White Nose Syndrome

suggested list generated by Mary Socky.

Bats Sleep Here” List 2008  (updated 2/15/2008)


These caves may be kept open by a friendly owner, or closed by a managing agency or U.S./Federal Service.  Many of them are listed as “closed for bats in the winter” on the VAR Limited Access Cave List.


  • Don’t do caves with lots of bats in winter. 
  • The caves can contain colonies or clusters of common bats, or endangered species. (see “100 bats” rule)
  • Honor ”informal” as well “official” closings.
  • Some of these caves are not officially “bat caves”, but if you see lots of bats throughout the cave, as well as many in low passages, etc. that will be disturbed by human passage, then turn around and leave.
  • Feb. 2008 – cavers seem to be using the “100 bats rule”.  If over 100 bats use a cave, then it should be considered a “bat cave” and be avoided.  Any cave used by an endangered species of bat, in any numbers, is considered “critical habitat” for the species and should be avoided.


There are many caves out there!  Bat colonies don’t hibernate in all of the caves.  Don’t cause added stress to sleeping bats.  Give the bats a secure quiet place to hibernate from Sept. thru April.  Go to a non-bat cave, choose a winter hobby, or hibernate yourself.   



Developed due to worries about the spread of White Nose Syndrome in bats.



Buddy Penley Cave, Bland Co. VA

Cassel Farm Cave, Tazewell Co. VA

Catawba Murder Hole, Botetourt Co. VA

Clicks Cave, Shenandoah Co. VA

Hupman's Saltpeter Cave, Highland Co. VA

Newberry-Banes Cave, Bland Co. VA

 Paxton Cave, Alleghany Co. VA

Perry Saltpeter Cave, Botetourt Co. VA

Porter Cave, Bath Co. VA

Repass Saltpeter Cave, Bland Co. VA

Rufe Caldwell Cave, Craig Co. VA

Rocky Hollow Cave, Wise Co. VA

Shires Saltpeter Cave, Craig Co. VA

Slusser’s Chapel Cave, Montgomery Co. VA 

Starr Chapel Cave, Bath Co. VA

Withero’s Cave, Bath Co. VA

Attachment  2, p. 2:

Suggested list generated by Mary Socky:



Developed due to worries about the spread of White Nose Syndrome in bats.




Arbogast Cave, Tucker Co. WVa

Big Spring Cave, Tucker Co. WVa

Boar Hole (Greenbrier Co. WVa) passage leading to The Portal closed 2/12/2008.

Cave Hollow (Arbogast System) Tucker Co. WVa

Cave Mountain Cave, Pendleton Co. WVa

Cornwall Cave, Preston Co. WVa

Elkhorn Mountain (Mongold) Cave, Grant Co. WVa

Fortlick Cave, Randolph Co. WVa

Gale Warner (Little Seneca), Pendleton Co. WVa

General Davis Cave, Greenbrier Co. WVa

Greenville Saltpetere Cave, Monroe Co. WVa

Hamilton Cave, Pendleton Co. WVA

Hellhole, Pendleton Co. WVa

Hoffman Pit, Pendleton Co. WVa

Hoffman Schoolhouse, Pendleton Co. WVa.

Izaak Walton Cave, Randolph Co. WVa

Lambert # 1 Cave, Pendleton Co. WVa

Martha’s Cave, Pocahontas Co. WVa

Mennonite Youth Camp Cave, Randolph Co. WVa

Mill Run Cave, Pendleton Co. WVa

Minor Rexrode Cave, Pendleton Co. WVa

Mystic Cave, Pendleton Co. WVa

Patton Cave, Monroe Co. WVa

Peacock Cave, Grant Co. WVa

Piercy’s Cave, Greenbrier Co. WVa

The Portal, Greenbrier Co. WVa.

New Trout Cave, Pendleton Co.  WVa

Saltpetre Cave, Pendleton Co. WVa

Schoolhouse Cave, Pendleton Co. WVa

Sinnett-Thorn Mountain Cave, Pendleton Co. WVa

Trout Cave, Pendleton Co. WVa

Two Lick Run Cave, Randolph Co. WVa.






Attachment # 3

Suggested list generated by Mary Socky:

Bats Don’t Use These Caves    2/21/2008


Bat colonies have specific requirements for hibernating caves/maternity caves.


Bats will choose almost any cave to roost in.  Some bats make poor choices. 


Here is a list of caves that I do not consider to be good “bat caves”, due to temperature, flooding, entrance access, whatever.  I’ve seen bats in these caves, but not to the point that I would turn around and exit the cave so as not to disturb them.


As of February, 2008, many cavers are adopting the “100 Bats Rule”.  If a cave has less than 100 bats, consider it a Non-Bat cave.  However, caves containing any number of endangered bat species are considered “BAT CAVES” and should be avoided. 


Remember to always get landowner permission before visiting any cave.

When planning your cave trip, Please check the VAR Limited Access Caves List to see if there are any restrictions on these caves.



Cave Spring Cave, Rockbridge Co. VA

Clark’s Cave, Bath Co. VA

Crossroads Cave, Bath Co. VA

Fountain Cave, Augusta Co. VA

Glade Cave, Rockingham Co. VA

Goodwin’s Cave, Roanoke Co. VA

Island Ford Cave, Alleghany Co. VA

James Cave, Montgomery Co. VA

Links Cave, Giles Co. VA

Smokehole, Giles Co. VA

Tawney’s Cave, Giles Co. VA



West Virginia

Bowden Cave, Randolph Co. WVa

Buckeye Creek Cave, Greenbrier Co. WVa

Culverson Creek Cave, Greenbrier Co. WVa

Grapevine Pit/ Lost World Caverns, Greenbrier Co. WVa.

Lipps Cave entrance to Organ Cave, Greenbrier Co. WVa

Maxwelton Cave, Greenbrier Co. WVa.

Rufe Caldwell Cave, Monroe Co. WVa.

Scott Hollow Cave, Monroe Co. WVa.



Parts of Friars Hole System, Greenbrier/Pocahontas Co. WVa