Roanoke, VA

Meeting via “Zoom” May 15, 2020 at 7p



Susan Burr, Chair

Dave Socky, Vice Chair

Marian McConnell, Secretary

Trish Geiger, Treasurer

Mary Sue Socky

Nicole Gulden, Odin & Orion

Jenn Suggs

John Fox

Lynn Ott

Doug Feller (briefly)

Alex Sproul

Keith Goggin

Nick Schmallenberger

Lauren Appel

Meredith Weberg

Bob Gulden




Note: Technical difficulties – Susan’s link kept freezing up and her sound was garbled until she turned off her video camera; there also seemed to be some problems with some people hearing Dave Socky (Dave/MarySue/Marian were all on one camera from Socky’s house). Doug signed on but then fell off early. We used chat to communicate with Susan until she turned off her video and was able to communicate with audio only.


Treasurer’s Report as of 5/13/2020 (Trish Geiger):

          Cave Bucks                    $31.64

          Conservation                  $91.01

          Equipment                   $133.87

          General                     $3,184.38

          TOTAL                      $3,440.90



·         Newsletter – Carbide Dump. Great April issue. Thanks to all who submitted info, articles, photos. No May issue due to COVID cancellations and quarantine.

·         Membership –

o   Brandon Phibbs had applied for membership. Susan and Mary Sue sponsored him. He is a good caver and is working on cave projects; could be a great helper with BRG projects. We had a quorum and voted – it was unanimously passed. He does need to pay his $10 dues.

o   Jason Delafield needs to pay his dues.

o   No new membership applications at this time.


Old Business:

·         Donations for 2020. After some discussion the following list was proposed by Susan and seconded by Dave Socky:

$15 to MAKC (Mid-Atlantic Karst Conservancy)

$25 to ER-NCRC (Eastern Region National Cave Rescue Commission)

$50 to VCB (Virginia Cave Board)

                 $100 to WVCC (West Virginia Cave Conservancy)

                   $25 to ACCA (American Cave Conservation Association)

                   $50 to Cyclops Cave

                   $25 to CaveSim_______________________________________

                 $290 total Passed unanimously

·         2020 BRG Rescue Roster needs a new contact person – will check each month to see if we get any volunteers

·         All DGIF (Department of Game and Inland Fisheries) are CLOSED “to protect the bats” (this is VA and WV)

·         Virginia Cave Board updates – Updated – Marian will attach to the email a copy of the document “Caving in Virginia and the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic issued May 15, 2020 by the Virginia Cave Board.


New Business:

·         Favorite newsletter covers from 2019 to submit to NSS Con Salon – 6 were picked and submitted (Oct/Nov, Jan, Feb, May, Aug, Sep).

·         Bob Hoke gave Dave Socky for BRG digitized copies of the Carbide Dump from the very first issue; all are available for viewing.

·         The 2020 NSS Convention will be virtual due to the in-person one being cancelled. There will be a schedule on the website. Meredith is the Co-Chair for organizing this.  There will be Youtube videos, watch sessions, and more.

·         Letter from Geary Schindel, NSS President (was sent out via email to all members). Keep safe! Meredith said there was discussion at the recent BOG meeting and some of the NSS Cave Preserves may be opening soon.

·         Letter from DGIF (see above under Old Business).

·         Goodwin’s Cave ownership update – MarySue spoke with owner last night who said new owner will be John Eizenzimmer; who actually attended a few BRG meetings in the past. We will wait and see what the access and relationship will be and are hopeful we will be able to continue BRG’s stewardship of the cave.


Adjournment at 7:40p.


ADDENDUM:  Past trip reports included to keep us up to date; these were not reviewed on the Zoom meeting due to time constraints.


·         2/22/2020 Haynes Cave, WV; Grotto Trip - Leader: Doug Feller, Susan Burr, Lauren Appel, Jeff Huffman, Trish Geiger, Carl Cornett, Jennifer Suggs, Jacob Whitlock, Nick Schmalenberger, Brandon Phibbs.  Ed Saugstad meet us at a nearby church & led us to the parking area & then to the cave. He also unlocked the gate for us, which isn't very easy & took a while. Luckily he had his helmet with him, which he loaned to Jennifer since she had forgotten hers. Ed was not going to go caving with us. On the way to the cave, Lauren had stopped to take a bathroom break. While we were waiting on Ed & Doug to get the gate unlocked I had asked where Lauren was. No one knew. I then realized that she had stopped for her bathroom break along the dirt road & we had turned off of it a little ways further to head toward the cave. Lauren did not know that! Trish & Jeff took off to locate her. Once everyone was at the cave we started exploring the cave. We ended up getting into a couple of groups for a while because we all keep taking off in different directions. Eventually we all ended up back together as a group. We did see several bats, we got to cross several of those semi scary wood plank bridges, and we saw some nice gypsum formation & a nice rimstone formation near the entrance. I think we walked, climbed & crawled into to most of the passages in there. It was a short, but fun trip. Afterwards we headed over to Ed's house to return his helmet & then to Paint Bank for lunch.

·         3/3/2020  Island Ford Cave, VA - Susan Burr, Braven Womack (6 yr. old grandson), Trish Geiger, Carl Cornett. Braven was out of school for the day, so Trish & Carl helped me take Braven in Island Ford without his dad. Braven wanted to be leader, so I let him since he had been in there before. He did very well. We did the normal route in to the spring in the back & then out the stream passage. Braven did not want to get in the stream this time, so he managed to stay out. One time I had to give him a piggy back ride for a few feet until more ledges were available. I feel like he has picked up on how to negotiate caves better. This was his 4th cave trip & he seemed to be more relaxed & adventurous this time. He crawled in a couple of tight holes & did a short belly crawl through one hole in the back section of the cave that no one else could do.

·         3/7: Tawney's Cave, VA.  Jeff Huffman, Hillary Huffman, Susan Burr, Doug Feller, Brandon Phibbs, Candice Phibbs.  Jeff had a birthday in early March and Hillary asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday.  Jokingly, Jeff said "go caving" (Hillary does not greatly enjoy it).  Hillary said that she would go back to Tawney's.  Thus, we planned a trip.  The morning of the trip, Jeff met with Mike at the Bat Ranch to obtain the key.  Jeff told Mike that the gate had been left unlocked by a previous group the last time that he visited Tawney's.  Mike expressed the necessity of locking the gate behind us and to stay on the trail to the cave.  Others have taken routes off trail and have caused erosion on the hillside.  At the cave entrance we fumbled with the locks due to the tight quarters and the locks being hard to turn and pull apart.  We entered the cave and locked the gate behind us.  Once in the cave, we made our way to the Moon Room.  Jeff showed Brandon and Candice where the Echo Room was located.  Meanwhile, Susan was preparing a birthday cupcake for Jeff. Jeff blew out the candle and ate his cupcake (another reason for Jeff not to make it through Fat Man's Squeeze).  Next, we proceeded down the Toilet Bowl and made our way through the cave to the sink hole.  After playing around in the sink hole, we proceeded back through the cave.  At the top of the Toilet Bowl we met a Parks and Rec group.  Someone said that both locks were broken and that they dummy locked the gate. We proceeded towards the entrance and checked out Fat Man's Squeeze and the room with the mud figurines.  The gate was dummy locked and one of the locks was actually broken.  The shackle had come completely apart from the body of the lock.  The other lock was not broken.  It was just hard to turn and pull.  Jeff locked the one side of the gate and retrieved a new lock from Mike (Jeff told Mike about the other difficult lock).  Jeff returned and locked the other side of the gate. The trip was between 2 - 2.5 hours long.