Meeting Minutes

October 18, 2019 – 7p – Jersey Lily’s – Roanoke, VA




Susan Burr, Chair

Trish Geiger, Treasurer

Marian McConnell, Secty

Mary Sue Socky

Doug Feller

Jen Suggs*

Joseph Caldwell

Bob Gulden

Dusty Gulden

Odin Gulden*

Karen Kastning

Jacob Whitlock*

Bob Alderson





1. Trip Reports: 

·         9/21 - Pocahontas Poor Farm Cave – Submitted by Susan Burr - Doug Feller (leader), Susan Burr (coordinator), Jeff Huffman, Lauren Appel, Bill Walker, Brandon Phibbs, Nick Schmalenberger, Jacob Whitlock - Had a new place to park, so we really weren't sure how to get to cave. We headed out the way Doug & I thought would be right. We wandered around for a while & eventually the owner couldn't take it any longer & drove over to where we were to say we were heading the wrong way. She pointed out the direction & we continued on. Of course the way we approached the cave meant bushwhacking through brush & briers & climbing a fence, but we did find it. We were in the cave for 4 hours, but never did find the tight crawl & formations. We did however see a lot of the cave. We needed to head out since some were getting tired & I was also worried about meeting our call back time. There is no cell reception in the area until close to Lewisburg, which is about 25 miles away. There is a lot of large walking passage, but has some crawling/stoop walking & climbing. There is also a little water in there, but nothing to worry about. We did crawl across some flooring that was very thin/hollow. Doug thinks the area I refused to do is the way we needed to go to get to the tight crawl & formations.  He swears I have done it before. I know I have done the tight squeeze before, but I certainly don't remember having to get up on this scary ledge. For one thing I don't see how I can get up there & the ledge looks really scary...something I wouldn't want to do! Guess maybe I did before? We look forward to going back & check it out. After getting out of the cave, we did know the way back to the car. It really wasn't very far at all. Sure wish we knew that to begin with!

·         10/6 - Goodwin's Cave – Submitted by Susan Burr - Susan Burr, Jeff Huffman (main leader), Hillary Huffman, Todd Bibb (Jeff & Hillary's friend who has been in there before), Lauren Appel, Bill Walker, Nick  Schmalenberger, Dusty Gulden, Odin Gulden (5 yrs. old) - We all went in & explore all the areas in the front part of the cave. Jeff then took the group, except for Hillary, Dusty, Odin & myself, through the "crawl from hell!"  They apparently pushed all the leads in the back even further than we did last time. While they were in the back of the cave, the rest of us hung out for a bit in the front part. Hillary left after a bit. I took more pics, & built a couple of rock cairns. The first one Odin wanted to knock down, so I let him. Dusty, Odin & I hung out for a while in there letting Odin play with the rocks & practice climbing up & off of this one little section & then we headed out. Odin decided it would be fun to play in the creek before changing. DUH!!!! Of course that is fun! I laughed when I saw him stop & pull off his boot & empty all the water out.

·         9/20-22 - Trish Geiger attended MAR in Newville PA.  On Saturday the 21st I went to a few small caves. First, was Peiper Cave with a large group from MAR. The cave is a maze of passage which we explored for about 2 hrs.  A few of use then went to look for the 4 Cleversburg Den Caves.  We only found Den # 2, which is 79' long.  The first person in said there were lots of spiders, so I didn't go in very far.  On the way back to our, cars we ran into a group going into Cleversburg Sink so we joined them.  I only went as far as the Entrance Room as the Giant Hall was full of water (very common).  The group we joined had wet suits so they went into the cold water and floated around the room.  I returned to MAR to look for the cave that was rumored to be within walking distance from camp. I learned the cave is Parker Cave and after getting lost in the woods we did eventually find it.  The cave is 200' feet of easy walking passage with some old formations. 

·         9/28/2019:  Mary Sue Socky, Jeremy Browning, and Blake Jordan did a thru-trip in Friar's Hole, WV.  They entered via Snedegar's Saltpeter Entrance, got lost a bunch in the saltpeter works, and then exited through Snedegar North Entrance (small cave entrance above the stream entrance.) 2 hours of fun in the dirt.

·         9/28/2019:  Snedegar Saltpeter Cave, WV.  Practically everyone attended the in-cave presentation by Keely Owens on history & new discoveries in the Friars Hole Cave System.  Nice party and light show afterward.

·         9/28/2019: Dave & Nick Socky, Greg & Silas Springer, and a few others spent 13 hours underground in their survey of Dry Cave, WV.   The two teams surveyed 1,600 ft. of virgin cave!

·         9/29/2019:  Mary Sue Socky accompanied Doug Medville and one other caver to check out sinkholes around the VAR camp area of Friars Hole.   One sinkhole used to be a 'field dimple', but is now opening up with a nice headwall.   The other sink is taking water, but cavers cannot enter.

·         8/2 – Bob Alderson went to Cave Hollow with Dave Socky and Chris Coates.

·         9/14 – Bob Alderson went to Shovel Eater with Mark Minton, Yvonne Droms, Dwight Livingston, and Tom Belazikian.

·         9/21 – Bob Alderson went to Arbogast with Dave Socky and Bill Kirschner.

·         10/8 – Bob Alderson went to the National Cave & Karst Management Symposium and gave a talk on CRF and Gap Cave.

·         10/12 – Bob Alderson went to Shovel Eater with Mark Minton, Yvonne Droms, and Kurt Haldron.

·         Odin Gulden (age 5) gave 3 trip reports: He talked about 3 caves:  Snedegar's, Goodwin’s and Dixie Caverns. He and the family attended VAR and went caving.

·         This Month’s trip – Rehoboth Church Cave, WV.  Saturday October 19th. Doug Feller is leader. Meet at HROM at 8:30a. Rehoboth Church Cave is horizontal.  It is 1.3 miles long, and can be considered a "wet", active cave. The upper regions of the cave are very muddy.  The main stream passage level is mostly clean, sharp limestone, with water-filled pools and a 10 ft. high water-fall climb-down into the lower levels.  There are colorful flowstone areas and a section of sand dunes on the way to the sump. Caving conditions?  "Duck walk" was probably invented for this cave!  NOTE: Cave Floods.  Pay attention to the forecast, and avoid if rain is predicted!

·         November BRG trip – TBA.




Treasury Report – Trish Geiger, Treasurer

          Cave Bucks -                  31.64

          Conservation -              110.64

         Equipment –                 169.65

         General -                    3,345.85

          TOTAL                       3,657.78

This does not include the 4 new lights and a padlock with keys for Porter’s Cave, which will be reflected in next month’s report.



Newsletter – CARBIDE DUMP.  (No October issue; Editor on vacation.)

Membership – It’s not too early to pay your 2020 dues.

ROCKS - No report.

Safety & Techniques –No report.


Membership Proposals: Jacob Whitlock submitted his letter requesting to be a BRG member. Susan Burr is his sponsor. Doug Feller seconded the motion. His request will be tabled for a vote at the November meeting.


Old Business


·         Update on gate lock at Porters Cave, VA. The old lock that had no keys was removed and a new lock with multiple keys put on; the owner was given 3 keys.  

·         Jersey Lily's meeting room reserved by Mary Sue for 2020

·         Grotto Xmas Party at Mary Sue & Dave’s house December 22 from 12-6p; potluck and BYOB.

·         Grotto Xmas Cards - any ideas, designs?  Marian can order them again.  The earlier we order, the better the rates. If anyone has a really good photo from one of this year’s trips, please send to Marian and she can create the card. Mary Sue will send out an email blast soliciting ideas, photos, etc. Need by November 15th to order cards from Shutterfly.

·         NSS Awards - NOW is the time to nominate an NSS caver for Fellow, Arts & Letters, Outstanding Service, etc.  Deadline is Nov. 15. Deadline For NSS Fellows, Lew Bicking Award, Outstanding Service Award, etc.  is Nov. 15, 2019. Mary Sue will share info on Nick Socky (for Fellow Award) for anyone who wishes to submit a letter of his many accomplishments over the past years.


New Business

·         All current BRG officers are coming up on one year in office. It was suggested that the current slate of officers continue in 2020, but there is still the opportunity for someone new to step up. You must be a BRG member and current NSS member to be an officer. We will vote at the November meeting.

·         VAR Report by Mary Sue Socky: 212 cavers attended Fall VAR @ Friars Hole, WV.  Thank you Baltimore and DCG for a relaxing VAR!  (Weather was mostly good.)  They gave out a nice guidebook! Craig Hindman stepped down as VAR Chair.  Long live the king! VAR Officers: 2019-2020 - VAR Chair = Mark Hodge,    Vice Chair = Kim Fleishman, Secretary = Blake Jordan, Treasurer = Carol Tiderman. Winter VA and WV cave closure for bats is currently in effect.   Avoid bat caves in the winter!  Dave & Mary Sue Socky told of current access issues at Porter Cave, VA.  Many cavers gave good lock suggestions.

·         Cave Sim report:  Dave Jackson thanks everyone who has sponsored CaveSim  with $, he had done many good projects with it.  He want to know if we would like another T-shirt to auction off, or would we rather just send $?    (BRG sent CaveSim $75 in 2019.)

·         Save Lucy Campaign (bats) - "Lucy" is Myotis lucifugus  (little brown bat) For new T-shirt info contact Janet Tinkham   or Meredith Weberg  


  Announcements (also see announcement packet & Caver Calendar on back)

·         Please submit written cave trip reports to the secretary.  Thanks!

·         Next BRG meeting November 15

·         Spring VAR 2020 will be a MAR/VAR. Held May 1-3, 2020 at Grand Caverns, VA.  Charlottesville Grotto and Seven Rivers Grotto will co-host.

·         Fall VAR - will be hosted by BCCS, and will be held at the RASS property (Bob).  No date yet.  

·         Lee White, long time caver, was killed in an auto accident in North Carolina. He made many great caving contributions over his lifetime.


Program: Goodwin’s Cave, VA.  The program is a 1988 'video' by Dave Socky of the gating and cleanup of Goodwin Cave.  It snowed that day…



Cold Beer!      


2019 BRG Caver Calendar:


Nov 2, 2019: Roadside cleanup at James Cave on Hickman Cemetery Rd.

Nov 3, 2019: 11:30a, VSS Meeting, Natural Bridge State Park, VA   

Nov 9, 2019: WVCC Annual Banquet

Nov 15, 2019: BRG Meeting at Jersey Lily’s

Dec 22, 2019: BRG Christmas Party at the Socky’s

Feb 1, 2020: Virginia Cave Board Meeting in Roanoke (Details TBA – probably at the Vinton Library).