February 20, 2009


Susan Burr                    Al Stewart                     Mary Sue Socky                        Dave Socky

Pat Sims                       Marian McConnell          Dan McConnell                          Carl Cornett

Alan Staton                   Doug Feller                   Cole Semones                          Trish Geiger

*Mike Frazier                 Carl Alls                        Greg McCorkindale                   


* denotes guest


CHANGE IN FORMAT:  THE meeting started off with introductions and the Program, so Vice Chair Dave Socky could leave early for the long drive down to Gap Cave, VA. 


PROGRAM:  Slide Show of Recent Cave trips into Scott Hollow Cave, WV, Buttterknife Cave, VA, Big John’s Cave (Natural Bridge), VA, Gap Cave, VA and Doe Mountain Cave, VA.  Photos by Leanne Barley, Rickey Shortt, Marian McConnell, Dave Socky.  Awesome photos!




1/31/2009:   Marian McConnell and Carl Cornett took a Roanoke City Parks & Rec group to Island Ford Cave, VA.  Someone had left a ton of trash in the cave entrance!  They saw the most bats they had ever seen in IsF, too. 

2/14:  Alan Staton, Glen Hugus took a BSA group into Porter’s Cave, VA.  It was a huge trip, with Glen’s kids, 18 scouts, and adult BSA leaders = 28 people.  The little ones got tired, and the bigger kids got bored.  Fortunately they had a great meal afterwards back at Scout base camp. 

2/7:  Carl Cornett, Dan and Marian McConnell took five guys from a church group into Catawba Murder Hole, VA.  It was the coldest the cave had ever been @ 45F (a true winter cold sink!)

2/7:  Mike Frazier took 12 BSA scouts into Tawney’s Cave, VA.  He had “three generations of one family” - son, father, and grandfather on the trip.  The kids were great.

2/14-2/15: Mike Frazier, Paul Stern and Lynchburg College Outdoors students did a long road trip down to Florida, where they did Ginnie Springs, Devils Eye/Ear Spring, and swam with the Manatees in Rainbow River. 

2/7:  Susan Burr and Pat Sims did some digging, excavation work in Grand Caverns.  Susan reports that there was not much room to dig, but she has ideas for next month.


3/7/2009 – Monthly trip to Grand Caverns for resurvey work

3/21/2009:  March BRG trip to The Boarhole, WV.  John Pearson is leader, Susan Burr is trip coordinator.  At this time, the trip is limited to 9 people and is full.  (One person had to cancel, Carl Alls moved from standby list to take the open place, trip is still full).




TREASURER  2/20/09

General Fund    $  7031.73

Conservation       $    156.09

Equipment Fund  $    341.00

Cave Bucks         $    115.30

 Total:    $ 7,644.12

Committee Reports:


Newsletter: Good newsletter this month, lots of articles and photos, keep the submissions coming in! Membership: BRG has 53 members, and 1 subscriber (amended to 2 subscribers, see member proposals)

ROCKS: 2 new caves for the VSS – Butterknife Cave, VA and Big Jim’s Cave, VA

S&T: have been unable to get hold of director to schedule RocWood vertical training session.

Conservation: vacant

Ways & Means: vacant



Membership Proposals

Nothing tabled.  NSS Membership brochures are at the front desk.

NEW!Mike Frazier, NSS 53334 RE, submitted his membership letter.  Mike is sponsored by Susan Burr....  Mike’s proposal is tabled, to be voted on at the March 2009 BRG meeting.  No other proposals.




Let There Be Lights - Doug Feller has purchased 5 lights for the BRG grotto gear.  Pat Sims immediately took possession of the lights. (Pat has traded out 2 half working systems with the new lights.  Old lights are being saved, used for backup).  Doug also took 2 original “Mountain Blue” lights, to make one working light from the two.




WNS is spreading.  It has been found in Trout Rocks (Hamilton) January 2009.  Trout Rocks Cave Preserve is CLOSED until further notice. (While WNS in Hamilton is not “official”, an on site pathologist examined one dead bat and determined that it had essentially no body fat. Other living bats showed evidence of fungal growth.)


A discussion followed on what can cavers do to prevent the spread of WNS:


We don’t know if the bats are spreading WNS amongst themselves, or if cavers are tracking the fungus to new caves on their caving gear.  We cannot control bat behavior; but ALL CAVERS NEED TO:


1) Keep out of all BAT Caves and WNS caves listed on the VAR Limited Access Cave List.


2) AFTER EVERY TRIP – clean and disinfect YOURSELF and ALL OF YOUR GEAR.  If visiting multiple caves, then wear a complete change of suit, boots, pack, gloves, and disinfect helmets, lights, pack contents and whatever else may come in contact with the cave dirt.


WNS a cold loving soil fungus that does not live above 75F. Ways to kill this fungus on your gear are:


·         WASH all clothes, etc. in hot water and detergent.  A mild bleach solution should be used where appropriate.

·         Put everything that can be heat dried on the hottest dryer setting possible.

·         Stuff that cannot be washed should be treated, wiped down with  70% isopropyl alcohol

·         Boots, helmets, etc. should be sprayed with a cleaner, such as 409 Antibacterial cleaner.

·         Clean, disinfect contents of your pack too.  Bag everything in Ziplocs, and change baggies after each trip.

·         Use a clean plastic garbage bag to contain all your muddy cave gear.  Discard old bag in the trash, and use a new plastic bag for each trip.

·         Disinfect yourself, your gear tub and your car trunk, too! 


In addition,

Trish Geiger wanted to know if there is bail out money for WNS.

Pat Sims thinks WNS was invented to make Dave Socky wash his cave gear.


Joking aside, please take steps to prevent any possible spread of this bat killing disease.






  • SCCI has cancelled the Fricks Cave Open House do to WNS concerns.
  • Nature Conservancy wants us to renew for 2009.
  • No one has volunteered to host Fall VAR 2009.  BRG does not wish to!
  • Eastern Region NCRC Weeklong will be in Harrisonburg, VA May 1-9, 2009.  (closer to home!)
  • NSS seeking submissions for the ICS/NSS Print Salon 2009. Deadline is May 1, 2009
  • Pre-register for Spring VAR 2009 (April 24-26) – forms are in DUMP, on the front desk.
  • NCRC is offering two $200 scholarships for the June 13-20, 2009 Weeklong seminar in Bedford IN.
  • Available from NSS Bookstore:  “Vertical Bill: The Story of Bill Cuddington and the Development of Vertical Caving in America”.  On sale $28.00 - $32.00
  • NEW VAR CLOSED CAVE LIST is available.  We have a few hardcopies for folks.  There are updates, winter closures, and new info on WNS.  .


Meeting ended 8:36p.


Minutes submitted by

Mary Sue Socky

Substitute Secretary, Blue Ridge Grotto.


Get Over the flu, soon, Aaron!  Hope you feel better!