MINUTES – May 20, 2011

Vinton Fire Department; Vinton, VA




Mary Sue Socky

David Socky

Nicholas Socky

Sarah Iler

Trish Geiger

Susan Burr

Carl Cornett

Al Stewart

David Ratliff

Doug Feller

Marian McConnell

Alan Staton



          a. The April 16 BRG trip was to New River Cave (VA).  Seven people went and they actually found the Forest Room.  They spent about 4 hours in the cave, and also found the “gear” from the kids who had to be rescued last year – in the pile was a bong, rolling papers, chewing tobacco, sunglasses, lighter, used condoms, and a burnt shoe.  They saw 3 or 4 dead bats, and about 15 live bats.

          b. On April 30, Marian and Dan McConnell led a group of 9 participants on a beginner trip into Island Ford Cave (VA) through Roanoke City Parks & Recreation.  The cave was unusually clean; the group did extremely well and included a family of 5 who drove up from Virginia Beach.  An unusual note is that 3 of the people had extremely “large” heads and required XL or XXL helmets; fortunately Marian had brought one of Dan’s motorcycle helmets and they ended up having to use it to protect the largest person’s head!  Marian is working with Parks & Rec to purchase some XL and XXL helmets.  Note:  Tom Clarke, who has been head of Roanoke City Parks & Recreation’s Outdoor Section is retiring this month after 30 years.

          c.  On May 7, Dave Socky went with a group to Higginbotham’s Cave to do some filming for a video project.

          d.  On May 8, Dave Socky went with a group to Lost World Caverns to take the tour and do some filming for a video project.

          e.  On May 7, Mary Sue Socky went into Fountain Cave with Lettie Stickley, the Manager, who helped glue some formations back together and look at the Biggers Dig which used to be a crawl but now is a walk-in.  Jim and Carl were at the dirt plug looking at the old route from TI59.  They also threw a retirement party for Bill Biggers.

          f.  On April 30, Susan Burr and Pat Sims went into Simmons-Mingo during VAR; Susan said it was a great cave but a 4WD was needed to get to it.  One guy didn’t have a helmet but they improvised.

          g.  Alan Staton participated in the NCRC Week-Long in Puerto Rico last month.  Spirit Airlines destroyed some of his gear (helmet, bag, etc.) on the flight back.  Next year the Week-Long will be in Mentone, AL at Camp Skyline; he said the accommodations are outstanding. 

          h.  The May BRG trip on May 21st will be to Cave Spring Cave in Lexington (VA).  Doug Feller is leading.

          i.  The June BRG trip may be to Borehole (WV) if a map can be located and Carol Bassett will confirm permission. 



          a.  Al Stewart’s video of VAR with Durbin Rocket Express train ride and very cold creek!

          b.  Cave Divers” by Sea O’Farrell from the 2010 NSS Convention (part 1).



          Petty Cash            $154.00

          General              $5,278.21

          Conservation        $266.59

          Equipment            $246.12

          Cave Bucks           $138.30

          BALANCE          $6,083.22


4.  NEWSLETTER:  Short but good; artwork and stories are always welcome!


5.  MEMBERSHIP REPORT:  Nothing new.


6.  ROCKS:  Nothing new.


7.  CONSERVATION:  Nothing new.


8.  SAFETY & TECHNIQUES:  Nothing new.





          a.  Cave Rescue communication and streamlining – nothing new.

          b.  Updating cave info on the Roanoke Outside web page – nothing new.

          c.  Will upgrade the caving educational display boards ($300) per previous meeting – Mary Sue will work on these.



          a.  BRG has been invited to come back to share information about caves and bats at the 3rd Annual Celebrate Catawba event on August 13, 2011 from 10a-3p at the Catawba Civic Center.  Marian will register, pay the fee (as a donation to BRG) and man the table.  Other BRG members are welcome to assist.

          b.  John Wilson e-mailed Mary Sue regarding Gilley Cave in Lee City, VA.  The cave was purchased for $18,000 and 64% of that has been raised to pay it off.  Although all caves in this area are closed at this time due to WNS, it is expected that eventually those who contribute will have access.  Dave Socky motioned and Susan Burr seconded BRG donate $100; it passed unanimously.  Trish will mail a check.

          c.  BRG received a thank you card from Pikes Peak for the donation in memory of Dave Socky’s father.



          a.  June 25 – Marian, Carl, Susan, and Stephanie will take a group on a beginner trip in Island Ford.  Thanks to Susan and Stephanie for helping out.

          b.  Bob Handley passed away in January; a memorial to his life will be held on May 28th in Lost World Caverns from 12-5p.

          c.  Karst-O-Rama will be held June 16-19 in Mt. Vernon, KY with a 1980’s theme.

          d.  SERA Cave Carnival will be held June 10-12 in Hang ‘em High Cave; camping will be available on Maureen Handler’s place.

          e.  The 2011 NSS Convention will be held in July in Glenwood Springs, CO.


Adjourned at about 8:45p.