February 17, 2012 – Meeting Minutes

Vinton Fire Department – 7:30 pm




Pat Sims, Chair

Mary Sue Socky, Vice Chair

Trish Geiger, Treasurer

Marian McConnell, Secretary

Susan Burr

Joseph Caldwell

Cyndi Hutchison

Carl Cornett

Hannah Doss*

Randy Michael

Doug Feller

Al Stewart

Dave Socky

Chris Heptinstall

Carl Alls



1.      Trip Reports:

1/28/12 – Dave Socky, Joe Zokaites, Bob Alderson, Derek Bristol went to Gap Cave, WV.  Bolt climb to check high lead.  Surveyed around 250’ in Nightmare Nest.  17 hour trip; out at 4:30 am.

2/12/12 – Dave Socky, Nikki Fox, Chris Coates went to Maxwellton, WV.  Checked leads from past survey.  Surveyed 290’.  13.5-hour trip; out by 1:00 am.  It was 13° when they came out, and 8° at the WVACS Field Station.  This has prompted Dave to move the annual McClung’s trip from February to May.

2/6/12 – Carl Cornett and Marian McConnell took Roanoke Times photographer, Sam Dean, into the Daylight Cave of Catawba Murder Hole, VA for an article about the book Marian is writing about the cave.  They found a large dead snapping turtle; but apparently it was there during the BRG Christmas party last December.  The article was on the front page on 2/7/12 and Marian has gotten about 50 helpful responses – stories and old photographs about the cave.

2/11/12 – Susan Burr lead a trip into Island Ford Cave, VA on 2/11/12.  On the trip were Pat Sims, Carl Cornett, Ivy Lidstone, Claire Privitera, Katie Griffin, Hailey Doss, Hannah Doss, Donna Doss, and Andy McGee.  Claire, Katie, Donna, and Andy were first-time cavers.  Hannah’s birthday was the next day so Susan surprised her with a Hostess cupcake and candle and they sang Happy Birthday to her in the back of the cave.  Hailey Doss is the Senior Roanoke College Outdoor Club person; Susan is taking her college group caving with the help of Doug and Stephanie.  Her family (mother and sister) and boyfriend from England wanted to go caving as well so Susan agreed to take them on a beginner trip.  Katie is a Drug Rep where Susan works who hears Susan talking about caving and wanted to try it.  Claire is a friend of Carl’s from the local YMCA.  They went in the typical way and let whoever lead to wherever.  Susan showed them the place in the back she calls the baby salamander nursery; they saw several babies.  The came out the stream passage but stayed high and dry.  Did see quite a few bats towards the entrance.  They cleaned up at the entrance and restocked the kiosk.

2/18/12 – Susan is leading a trip for 10 people to Porters, VA for the Roanoke College Outdoor Club; is hoping to bring in new members for BRG.  Doug and Stephanie will be helping.  They have been caving before with VPI and have their own helmets.

3/17/12 – March’s trip will be led by Mary Sue Socky to Haynes and Windy Mouth.  Fred Grady is the owner so we have open access.  Haynes is dusty, dry, saltpeter; can be vertical.  (Note: Mary Sue has conflicting plans, will be out of town (oops! We need to find a different trip leader, or reschedule this trip for June 16 when Mary Sue will be available.)


2.       Program of the Day:  Karst Topography:  A Unique and Fragile Environment, by Dr. Al Ogden (won best in show at 2011 NSS Convention).


3.       Treasurer’s Report:

Petty Cash - $100.00

General - $3,953.91

Conservation - $266.59

Equipment - $216.36

Cave Bucks - $153.30

Balance - $4,690.16

All checks were mailed out for this year’s donations.


4.      Committees –

a)      Newsletter – Great issue, 6 pages.  Keep the photos, artwork, and articles coming!

b)      Membership – Currently at 54.  Mary Sue handed out updated membership lists and cave rescue call-out lists.  Al Stewart stepped down from the rescue list, but Carl Cornett has been added.

c)      ROCKS – Ridgewalking at Blue Ridge Vineyard in Eagle Rock has been postponed until warmer weather.

d)      Safety & Techniques – Let Dan McConnell know of specific training needs.  Thanks to all who came out and helped during the recent rescue in Norman; and those who were on standby.


5.       Membership Proposals – Tom Tracy sends his apologies; he was unable to make it to the meeting tonight but plans to submit his membership letter soon.


6.      Old Business –

a)      Annual Donations – All checks have been sent out.

b)      Wikipedia Plan to Publish Cave Coordinates – This issue appears to have died.


7.       New Business –

a)      There was a cave rescue in Maryland – near Independence, MD (not Independence, VA).  Write-ups are available; the kid was extricated with the help of an air hammer after being trapped about 5 hours.

b)      BRG Waivers – Discussion about BRG waivers and when/how to use them.  Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have their own waivers.  Other groups (such as colleges/schools) may have their own as well.  There is nothing in the Bylaws dictating the use of waivers.  Tabled until next month’s meeting – everyone to think about what defines a pick-up trip, when BRG waivers should/should not be used, and we need to make sure our current Waivers are legal.  Pat will check with an NSS lawyer, Ted Keyes.  Pat motioned, Dave seconded, and the majority voted to do this.  For now, use BRG waivers for non-members as we have been.

c)      Movie being made at Poor Farm Cave, WV in Greenbrier, based on a book.


8.      Announcements –

a)      OCR (Orientation to Cave Rescue) being held March 30 – April 1 in Harrisonburg with a Mock Rescue at Grand Fountain Cave on the Grand Caverns property.

b)      Spring VAR will be held April 27-29 near Poor Farm Cave, WV at the Williamsburg Fairgrounds. Hosted by Tri-State Grotto.

c)      SERA Cave Carnival at Estill Fork, AL May 2-6.

d)      NSS Convention in Lewisburg, WV June 25-29.

e)      VPI Banquet 2/18/12 for $35/person; dinner at 6:30p.

f)       June 16 – 2nd Annual Grand Caverns Heritage Day with evening cave event.

g)      Dan Casey also has a blog about the Murder Hole article from the 2/7/12 Roanoke Times article.

h)      Spring VAR registration information is in the “Carbide Dump.”

i)        Death toll of bats due to WNS is about 5.5 million.

j)        Doug Feller – gave Marian some old slides of Murder Hole, also found an old map of Crossroads Cave from 1957 by Dean Abbott and friends, and an “honorary caveman certificate” from 1957.  Dean lived next to Doug and Doug never realized he was a caver.


9.       Adjournment – about 8:45p.