Monthly Meeting Minutes –  Jersey Lily’s Salem, VA

August 20, 2021



Marian McConnell – Chair                 Lauren Appel – Vice Chair                  Mary Sue Socky – Secretary

Lynn Ott                                                 Karen Kastning                                     Nick Schmalenberger         

Susan Burr                                            Doug Feller                                           Jeff Huffman

Trish Geiger                                          Tom Beaman                                         *Mary Lou Holland

*Briana Bennett                                   *Kelly Perkins                                       *Ian Pelletier

*Alex Belcher                                       *Erin  Bejjani                                        *Larry Manning

Jacob Whitlock                                                                                     (* denotes guest)                


Meeting called to order 6:42p by Chair Marian McConnell.


Trip reports:

2021:  Jacob Whitlock, at James Madison University, has been caving with the MUSG student grotto, visiting Hamilton Cave, WV, Key Cave, WV, and Paxton Cave, VA.


June 2021:  Briana Bennett and friend Jeff (NLN) visited Greenbrier Poor Farm Cave, WV.  Nicely decorated cave.


7/17 and 7/24:  Nick Schmalenberger, Martin DiLeggi, Rolland Moore have been working on a dig near Arcadia, VA. After removing rocks and debris, they have gotten to a series of stairstep pits 40’ down, &  40’ horizontal.  It’s going!


7/17: Trish Geiger, Kevin and Carrie Johnson, Cyndi Hutchison, and Mary Sue Socky visited Island Ford Cave, VA for a slow paced, easy two-hour cave trip.  Everyone had fun.  Salamander trails were seen in several pools, but no salamanders (or bats) were seen. 


7/23:  Larry Manning and Glen Hugus were checking out caves, including Crossroads Cave, VA to be used for the NCRC National Weeklong class, which will be held the week of July 16, 2022.


7/24: Susan Burr, Doug Feller, etc. visited Patton Cave, WV – and finally found the Football Room!  Water levels were non-existent.  There were dry pools of dead fish and tadpoles in the stream.  They rescued a fish (Saving Nemo). 


8/7: BRG Summer Fun Day at Bedford Lake, VA.  Dan & Marian McConnell, Susan & Todd Burr, Doug Feller, Trish Geiger, Lynn Ott, Mary Sue Socky visited Michael & Rene` Rowland’s beautiful place in Big Island, VA.  They have acres of trees, water lily ponds, a ‘swimming pond’ and a waterfall at one end of Bedford Lake.  Thanks for inviting us!    BRG gave them a nice, big bat house which hopefully they will put on a tall pole and let the bats do their thing – it’s perfect bat habitat at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains!  


8/8: Nick Schmalenberger, Jason Delafield and Paul Walko visited Pig Hole, VA.  They did several leads past the Eliminator; encountered some tiny canyons, too.


8/14: Nick Schmalenberger, Jason Delafield, Paul Walko, Matt Vest, Alex Faunce & Eli Meyer visited Banes Cave, VA during VPI Summer Picnic.  Paul had a camera device called the Caveatron, which did some interesting 3-D mapping……See <> for more info. 

8/15:  Briana Bennett, Alex, Belcher, Ian Pelletier, and Mystic Miller visited Norman Cave, WV.  They found low stream levels.  Norman Cave is now managed by the WVCC. 


8/17:  Trish Geiger and others went on a ranger-led New River Trail State Park trip to Bertha Cave, VA.  This short but nice cave is now gated. 


8/20: Nick Schmalenberger and Martin DiLeggi worked on a dry stream dig – they dug and pulled rocks until it rained, and the stream started flowing again.



Tomorrow Sat. 8/21/2021:  BRG trip to Piercy’s Cave, WV and Piercy’s Mill Cave, WV.  WET Beginner Trip. Contact Susan Burr  to sign up.   Bring a complete change of clothes for the ride home! 


Next Month’s Trip – TBA.  




8/20/2021 BRG Treasury Report – Dave Socky, Treasurer

Dave Socky is currently vacationing out west, climbing mountains and living it up by visiting hot springs and extravagant spending at Motel 6.  Below is last months’ (July 2021) report. 

Cave Bucks          $   196.00

Conservation     $        0.00

Equipment          $   133.87

General               $ 3,323.63

Total                           $3,653.50 


*Cave Bucks:  All Cave Bucks donations are voluntary; funds go to cave conservation programs.

Larry Manning donated $5.00  to cave bucks at the August meeting. 



·         CARBIDE DUMP – won an Honorable Mention in the NSS Cover Arts Salon! (Jan 2020 V55#1).  There will be a Sept. DUMP.   

·         Membership – We have lost a caving friend and BRG member.  John Fox, NSS 17432FE passed away Aug. 12, 2021.   R.I.P.  There are currently 54 members and 5 subscribers.

·         ROCKS –no report.  See Treasurer’s report.

·         Safety & Techniques –  S&T Chair Dan McConnell is doing well, recovering from a hip replacement.  He is entertaining thoughts of getting underground or doing something at River Rock in 2022. 


Membership Proposals:   none currently.


Old Business

·         NOTE: after 7/16 meeting, Fall VAR was cancelled, and a NEW Fall VAR/MAR is scheduled for OCT 15-16-17, 2021, at Grand Caverns, VA.  New site, new dates. See new business and announcements.

·         Porter’s Project (Susan Burr):  Project is currently on hold. 

·         Al Stewart wants his caving books auctioned off to the BRG community; all proceeds go to BRG.   See list (attached).

·         Grotto Gear - Chinstraps:  After researching, Mary Sue Socky ordered 4 replacement chin straps from Karst Sports.  They ‘bolt on” to the helmet suspension (be sure to tighten the nuts before each caving trip).  They are more comfortable & feel sturdier than the old chin straps. Susan Burr replaced a broken head light with one of Joseph Caldwell’s donated lights.


New Business

·         BRG member John Fox, NSS # 17432 RE,FE died Aug 12, 2021.  Karen Kastning wrote a nice obituary for him. John was an amazing, multi-talented and well-liked person.  Please see attachment.

·         VAR has been moved, both date and site.  NEW VAR/MAR has been moved to Grand Caverns, VA Oct. 15-17, 2021.

o    After discussion on changing reservations and moving grotto officer nominations, Susan Burr motioned that we switch Sept. and Oct. BRG meetings; the next BRG meeting will be on Sept. 17, 2021, at Jersey Lily’s Salem.  Grotto nominations will take place at the Sept. meeting.  (All current officers can serve one more year.)

o    Marian McConnell seconded motion.  Vote:  9 members votes YES.  Motion passes.

·         Note: after meeting, the BRG Secretary changed the monthly reservation at JL’s. BRG is now booked for Friday, 9/17. 

·         There will be NO October BRG meeting.  Go To VAR/MAR! Do a day trip; it’s only 2 hours from Roanoke!



·         Virginia Cave Board Meeting at 11:00 a.m. at the Williamson Road Branch Library, 3837 Williamson Road, NW, Roanoke, Virginia, 24012 on Saturday, August 28, 2021. The public is welcome.

·         NEW – In-person Sewanee Mt. CaveFest 2021 (TN) has been cancelled due to Covid19 concerns.

·         Mark Hodge has resigned as VAR Chair.   Vice Chair Kim Fleischman will be acting VAR Chair until elections are held.

·         NEW!!  Oct 15-17 –FALL VAR/MAR, Grand Caverns, VA.  Visit the event website for information & a link to the registration form at


·         NCRC Orientation to Cave Rescue (OCR) will be held at the Blacksburg Rescue Squad in Blacksburg, VA Oct. 22-24, 2021.

<>  The cost is only $60.  The only pre-requisites are the proper equipment as listed here:

<>    There is of course a significant chance the course may be postponed depending on what happens with the Delta variant.  However, as of now we anticipate the class is a go.  Thanks, Wil Orndorff.


·         The Martinsburg, WV OCR October 1-3 is full and there is now a waiting list, so if Blacksburg VA is within your driving range, please consider signing up or switching from one class to the other.    

·         Pandemic Caving – let’s be healthy going underground.  Rules have been posted in the DUMP.

·         Winter closure for bat caves in WV begins Sept. 1, 2021.  Please respect all cave closures.

·         (Winter cave closure for bat caves in VA begins Oct. 15.)




Aug 28 – Virginia Cave Board meeting, Williamson Road Library, Roanoke, VA.    

Sept 2-6 – OTR, Dailey, WV.

Sept 17 - NEW!  BRG meeting, 6:30p, Jersey Lily’s-Salem.  Nominations.

Oct 1-3- NCRC Orientation to Cave Rescue (OCR), Martinsburg, WV.

Oct 7-10- TAG Fall Cave-In.  Hosted by Dogwood City Grotto.


Oct 15-17 NEW!! FALL VAR/MAR, at Grand Caverns, VA.  Hosted by 7 Valleys Grotto and Charlottesville Grotto. 

o    Pre-registration is now open! (See attachment)   

Oct. 22-24 - NCRC Orientation to Cave Rescue (OCR), Blacksburg, VA.

Nov 13 – WVCC Banquet, Lewisburg, WV.

Nov 19 - BRG meeting, 6:30p, Jersey Lily’s-Salem.  Elections.

Jul 16- 21, 2022 – NEW!  NCRC National Weeklong, which will be held in Covington, VA. 


Meeting adjourned 8:03p.


Program:  Lauren Appel tried but could not get the computer/TV interface working, so there was a Cave Pack demonstration/show and tell, instead.  Comments:  “pack and contents were too clean” and “where are your candle & waterproof matches?”.


Cold Beer!


Minutes Submitted by

Mary Sue Socky, Secretary