May 16, 2008


Pat Sims                       Al Stewart                     Mary Sue Socky            Doug Feller

Susan Burr                    Dave Socky                   Gary Drewry                  Marian McConnell

Todd Martin                   Aaron Moses                 Cole Frantz                   * John Semones


* denotes guest.           





3/30:  A-1 Cave, renamed Cricket Den Cave, WVA.  Aaron Moses reported on his adventures in this vertical cave.  Aaron did not like the rocks falling down out of the walls on him as he was route finding.


4/13:Cole Frantz and John Semones accompanied NRVG folk Rickey Shortt, Leanne barley, Debbie Norris, John Fox, Don Anderson, Bill Pond, and Tommy Bell to the Great White Way in Norman Cave, WVA.  It was VERY wet.  The trip leaders said it was the wettest they had ever seen the cave.  The Waterfall was CRANKING!!  Bill Pond later had a “hot mustard” incident at the Chinese Restaurant. 


4/20:  Grapevine Pit, Lost World Caverns, WVA.  Great Trip!  See report in the May DUMP.  We were so pleased with the vertical and wild caving, we gave owner Steve Silverberg a $75.00 donation.


5/3: Pat Sims and Susan Burr did more work in the new area of Dante’s Inferno, Grand Caverns, VA.  Susan went in feet first, but her shoulders didn’t fit.  Anya Crane did get in, and said there was app. 25’ to survey.  They will try to persuade the cave with a portable jackhammer in July.  Meanwhile, in the campground, Marian McConnell and Mary Sue Socky gave 6 talks to BSA about caving, then did cleanup in the back of Grand Caverns. 


5/10:  Dave Socky, Errol Glidden, Ed Saugstad, Ken Haynes, Larry Fisher Gordon Cole surveyed in Maxwelton Cave, WVA.  Everybody froze in the cold, deep water, (except Dave Socky, who warmed up pushing a mud crawlway) but they stayed in there 10 ˝ hours.  Over 10 miles of cave is surveyed now, and she’s still going.  The Old Entrance is still plugged, unstable, they dig it open, but it slumps shut at the next rain. 




Saturday 5/17/08 – trip to Pocahontas Poor Farm Cave, WVa.  Pat Sims  is leader.  Trip will leave from HROM at 8a.


6/5-8/08 – Spring VAR/SERA Cave Carnival, Bristol, TN. 


Program:  Hellhole - second part of the show, filmed and narrated by Ed Devine.  Good video, good footage.





TREASURER  5/16/08

General Fund       $ 4654.57

Conservation        $   401.09

Equipment Fund $    341.00

Cave Bucks         $     82.30

 Total:    $ 5,478.96


Committee Reports:


Newsletter:  Thanks for your submissions! Send in your artwork, photos, and articles.  Postage has increased 1 cent as of May 14, 2008. 

Membership: Extra copies of the  BRG Constitution and NEWEST BRG Membership List are available at the front desk. 

ROCKS: nothing new. 

S&T:  No report

Conservation: vacant

Ways & Means: vacant


Membership Proposals

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




BRG Website: The new website is AWESOME!  Check it out!  Fall VAR trip list will be posted on the site (Pat, get the list to Dave).  Mary Sue Socky requests the site have a link to the NSS.   


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.  Susan has submitted a budget.

  • Phil Lucas is our Saturday night guest speaker.
  • Susan has paid $200.00 to rent the property.
  • The proposed registration site (edge of the parking lot, by old garage) has NO ELECTRICITY.  We can work around that, but we DO need more “pop-up” tents, in addition to Pat’s sun tent.
  • Saturday night dinner will be held in the Bingo Hall of the Moose Lodge, so we’re under cover if it rains.
  • Susan is working on fall VAR stuff – she can get 250 “cozies” with Fall VAR logo on them for $158.00.  (see new business)
  • Pat Sims will get the Fall VAR cave trips list to Dave, so it can be posted on the website.
  • Fall VAR has app. 15 cave trips; more trips and trip leaders will be appreciated.


White Nose Syndrome (WNS)   nothing new to report.  Scientists still DO NOT know what is sickening, killing the bats, or how it is spread.  There is a symposium to be held in June that may give more details about WNS.

  • Please see websites, etc. to stay up to date on what has been found, and current proper caver “gear cleaning” recommendations.
  • Check VAR Limited Access Cave List for new updates.  Several closed caves have been opened for the summer to cavers.


Roanoke Valley Rescue Challenge 2008 – went very well.  130 Rescue personnel from around the state came to Roanoke Valley for a week of special training.  They did mock vertical rescues from the Mill Mountain Star, to mock cave rescues in Catawba Murder Hole and New Dixie Cave, VA.  BRG members were glad to help with site access and to be “guardian angels” in CMH.  Roanoke Valley will be host site in 2009, also.


Cave Education with 150 BSA at the Grand Caverns Camporee 5/3/2008.  Marian McConnell and Mary Sue Socky talked with 6 groups of scouts about cave safety and conservation, landowner permission, showed slide program.  Scoutmaster Danny Dreelin was impressed!


BRG Pool Party.  Do we want to have one in 2008?  YES!  When?  Proposed in place of the meeting (and hopefully avoid the bluegrass festival).  Date tabled, will get with pool personnel and try for Aug 16; rain date Aug 17. 


Dixie Caverns Haunted Cave 2008 – Is a GO.  The 9 nights of Hell will be held only on Friday and Saturday nights for the entire month of October this year. (Those nights have been the only money-makers for the caverns).  Mary Sue Socky will coordinate the cavers; David Hawks will be Haunted Cave Director.   Oct. 3, 4,10,11,17, 18, 24, 25, 31.





Susan Burr requested that BRG pay for “give away” cozies for Fall VAR participants.  The beer holders will have the Fall VAR (humpbacked bridge) logo on it.  Motion by S. Burr:  BRG purchase 250 coozies for $160.00.  D. Socky seconds motion.  Vote: 9 for, 1 anti.  Motion passes. 


Request from JE Pearson, who is hosting a karst symposium the week before Fall VAR in Lewisburg, WVA (Sept. 17-19).  John Pearson wanted to know if BRG would be willing to donate funds to the symposium.  Dave Socky motions that BRG donate $150.00 to the symposium.  Pat Sims seconds.  Motion passes. 


NEW VAR CLOSED CAVE LIST is available.  We have a few hardcopies for folks.  Some caves have re-opened for the summer. 


Marian McConnell, Dan McConnell, and Carl Cornett will be leading 14 beginner cave trips through Roanoke City P&R this summer!  They are caving lots, even if we don’t see them that much, and they are “taking some heat” off BRG getting numerous requests for beginner cave trips.  The trips are in Island Ford and Tawney’s, and are for beginners and conservation clean-ups with summer camps and Girl Scouts.





Al Stewart reported on receiving a strange phone call from a “gushy” guy from the Nature Conservancy.  Al could not get a word in edgewise… Anyway, the guy wanted to thank BRG for the conservancy donation. 


  • Thank You letters for BRG’s generosity with 2007 Haunted Cave funds from WVACS
  • 2008 SERA/VAR brochures, describing the upcoming weekend in June 2008.
  • NSS Convention 2008 (Lake City FL) Aug. 11-15, 2008 registration info.
  • 2008 Nittany Grotto 60th Anniversary/MAR preregistration form. (Oct 10-12)
  • 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



Meeting ended 8:45p.


Minutes submitted by

Mary Sue Socky

Secretary, Blue Ridge Grotto.