Monthly Meeting Minutes – Jersey Lily’s Salem, VA


July 15, 2022


Marian McConnell – Chair                                            Dave Socky - Treasurer                  Mary Sue Socky – Secretary

Carl Cornett                                                       Jeff Huffman                                      Susan Burr          

Karen Kastning                                                  Doug Feller                                         *Kelly Perkins

*Lisa Graves                                                       *Charles Graves                                (* denotes guest)           


Trip reports:

4/16: McClungs Cave, WV. Participants included David Socky, Joe Zokaites, and Mathieu Salès.    We finished the 6th Finger of the Seven Fingers area of McClung Cave.  This was a particularly fun trip because one of our team was a caver from France – Mathieu Salès. He had just arrived from France on Friday, and on Saturday went on a 10-hour cave trip in West Virginia. Gotta love cavers! We surveyed 722 feet and left one good ‘small person’ lead that only Mathieu was able to fit into.                       


4/20:  Mary Sue Socky and Mathieu Sales visited Dixie Caverns, VA & other Roanoke Valley landmarks.


4/23: Endless Caverns, VA. Participants included David Socky, Mary Sue Socky, Ken Walsh, Meredith Weberg, Kim Fleishman, plus others. VAR Spring Conservation project to clean algae off the rocks where lights shine in Endless Caverns.                             


4/30: McClungs Cave, WV. Participants included David Socky, Joe Zokaites, and Bill Koerschner. Finished off the Third finger of Seven Fingers. Lots of narrow stuff. Pushed a number of small tight leads. We left a couple of 'small person' leads. Seven Fingers is now done, except for small person leads and high technical leads. We surveyed a total of 760 feet on a good 13-hour trip.


5/7: McClungs Cave, WV. Participants included David Socky, Silas Springer, Riley Taylor. Also on the trip was Greg Springer and Lilly. We all went back to the Broomstick Passage near Second Breakdown. Silas, Riley, and I surveyed 750 feet of cave, finishing up this area of the cave. It was a good a 10-hour trip.


5/19: McClungs Cave, WV. Participants included David Socky, Mary Sue Socky, Joe Zokaites, Carol Zokaites, Bill Koerschner, Robin Koerschner, and Kathryn Koerschner. The 'ladies survey trip' where we surveyed the left-hand lead close to the historic entrance. The lead was right before the Beehive formation. Joe took Carol and Kathryn down the entrance canyon until they got too worried about the footing and exposure. They made it as far as the Skyline bypass. We surveyed 344 feet for a 5-hour trip.  It was a fun trip, and the full entrance canyon is now done!         


5/21: Madison Saltpeter, VA. Participants included David Socky, Carean Skilz (sp), Sarah Fisher Cornman, Kevin Fisher Cornman, Tiffany Picard, Vince Snell, Marcie Schubert, Sue Cupp, Darrel Warshan, and Wil Orndorff. I led the 10 am trip to Madison Saltpeter Cave at the 2022 Spring MAR-VAR at Grand Caverns in Grottoes, VA. Wil Orndorff gave a talk about the isopods and other critters and the hydrology of the lake. We did check out the high lead in the back room, which was a steep slippery climb. A couple from the group climbed up too but I had to spot one of them coming back down. Fun, but short trip.


5/24: Buckeye Creek Cave, Culverson Creek Cave (Fullers, Hinkle-Unis, and Wildcat entrances), Higginbotham’s #1 Cave, and McClung Cave, WV. This was a science trip for the Greenbrier Crayfish Study through West Liberty University of West Virginia. This was a trip to get Addie Shanor and her two assistants (I didn’t record their names ) familiar with the caves and landowner situation and to do an initial survey. There was no collecting on this trip. The only cave we didn’t find any crayfish was Buckeye and McClung Cave.  In Wildcat, we went all the way to Dread Pool, through the low airspace spot where we had to swim. We went down Death Canyon for about 300 feet. The water was actually up a bit, thigh deep. The current was strong.


6/1: McClungs Cave, WV. Participants included David Socky, Joe Zokaites, and Bill Koerschner. We surveyed 837 feet in the lower levels of the Gymnasium, an area of large rooms and wide tilted passages up north Tufa Trail. We went in the Lightner Entrance since it is a lot closer that way. Most of our survey was new footage for the cave, and some was even virgin! It was a good 12-hour trip with lots of pretties.


6/13: Rushmore Cave, SD. Participants included David Socky, Meredith Weberg & NSS Convention. Visit to Rushmore Cave - a commercial cave, was part of the NSS Convention Howdy Party. It was a pretty cool cave, very crowded with NSS Cavers. Didn't get to do the roller coaster because a thunder and lightning storm closed the rides in the park. Oh well.


6/25: BRG trip to Breathing Cave, VA.  Susan Burr, Doug Feller, Nick Schmalenberger, Jeff Huffman,   Kelly Perkins & Brandon Phibbs.  We got a late start.  We flagged our route to the cave and did not get lost this time. We visited the Serpentine Way, the waterfall, and other holes and mud slopes, where we eventually had to retrace our steps to get out.  The last section was difficult. We were all dragging a little on the way out. It was a hot hike to and from the cave. 


7/2: Dig time!  Jeff Huffman joined Nick Schmalenberger, Martin DiLeggi, Rolland Moore and one other person to the streambed dig in the Karnes Spring area of Botetourt Co. VA.  This dig has been “filled in” several times by rains and floods, so they built a creek diversion and uncovered the entrance and passage once again.  They have surveyed 150’, and it is 50’ deep.   


7/9: McClungs Cave, WV. Participants included David Socky, James Dunn, Nathan Otto, and Payal Razdan. WVACS Classic survey trip into McClungs. Went to the side passage past Second Breakdown that ends at the overlook to Freeman Ave across from the entry to Tufa Trail. Payal felt really uncomfortable about going through the tight crawl at the lead for our survey, so while she waited in the main passage, James and Nathan and I surveyed for two hours. As it turned out, Payal tried the tight spot and got through ok, but she returned to her pack and took a nap.


7/9:  Lost World Caverns, WV. (BRG trip one week early) –Participants were  Doug Feller, Susan Burr, Nick Schmalenberger, Jeff Huffman, Kelly Perkins, Kat Watson (Kelly's friend/newbie), Jacob Whitlock, and Lauren Appel.  Steve, the owner, was very accommodating.  We had an enjoyable time!   We did the same trip as last time but explored the lower areas a bit more.  The formations back in the wild section are beautiful! Many of us went down the Toilet Bowl, just for fun. 


7/14: A family came by the McConnell’s to look at the Catawba Murder Hole sinkhole.  They donated $20 to the cave conservation fund. 



No BRG Trip tomorrow

Next Month’s Trip – Rimstone Falls Cave, WV.  (Plan n B is to visit Maxwelton)

Marian McConnell played a recording of her cave song that took an HR at the 2022 NSS Convention. 



7/15/2022 BRG Treasury Report – Dave Socky, Treasurer

Fund Amounts

$       15.96           Cave Bucks

$       1.00             Conservation Fund

$   104.12             Equipment Fund

$ 3975.62             General Fund              

     $ 4096.70      Total Funds

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



Newsletter –The 4/2021 DUMP Cover won an honorable mention at the NSS Convention.  Editors are taking a break.  There will be an August DUMP.  Thanks for sending in your trip reports!


Membership – BRG has 56 members and 5 subscribers.  There is voting on a membership application tonight!

ROCKS –  have surveyed some small caves and have an ongoing dig.

S&T -  Dan’s shoulder replacement went well.  He has many more months of post-op and rehab.  Catawba Murder Hole will be used 7/19 for NCRC Weeklong class – they will be rigging high lines at the Daylight Cave.   


Membership Proposals: Kelly Perkins submitted her BRG application in April 2022.  She has been very patient! Susan Burr is Kelly’s sponsor.  Kelly was voted in as BRG’s newest Associate Member.  Welcome!


Old Business:

·         BRG Call-down rescue list updates.  Current call down list has 3 contacts.  Is anyone interested?

·         John Fox Celebration of Life has not been rescheduled.

·         Caver Tyler Huth (MO researcher) requested cave water samples but has not sent the sample vials for cavers to use and send back to him.

·         No one has written IN officials to tell them to stop a proposed IN highway that will negatively impact karst areas.  Hopefully, other grottos will write.  (Request from ACCA) at   

·         Group Trip?  Susan Burr proposed in April that BRG and Greenbrier Grotto go on a Beckley Coal Mine Tour sometime in 2022.  No updates. 



New Business

·         Al Stewart died 6/8/2022.  A Memorial is being planned, probably at Catawba Murder Hole.

·         Spring MAR/VAR was a success with 203 attendees.  It was the quietest VAR!  Hot, but very relaxing.

·         NSS Convention wrap-up – was a success, was well attended:

o   Congratulations to Dave Socky on receiving the NSS Outstanding Service Award!

o   Congratulations to Bob Alderson and Marian McConnell for receiving Honorable Mentions for their songs in the Cave Art Section!

·         Fall 2022 needs a host… Not IT! 

·         BRG potential caver list has been “cleaned up.”  Some people we had not met in 3 years!  All were encouraged to join BRG or become subscribers.  Only a couple of cavers were interested. 

·         NRVG is raising money for a donation in John Fox’s memory by cleaning up sinkholes and recycling the metal into cash.  So far, they have raised $175.     




·         Karen Kastning has found new homes for almost all of John Fox’s caving stuff.  A printer and a scanner are still looking for new homes.   

·         Dave Socky has copies of  “ Breathing Cave, VA” VSS Monograph by Robert Zimmerman.  $25.00 each. 

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

·         Closure for bat caves

o   West Virginia   Still Closed.  These caves may be open May 15 – Sept. 1

o      Virginia   Open.  These caves may be open Apr. 15 – Oct 15.   

o   Reminder:  there are summer cave closures for bat maternity colonies, too.




·         July 16-17:  18th Lutz Field Station Jamboree, hosted by PSC. 

·         July 16- 21, 2022 – NCRC National Weeklong, which will be held in Covington, VA.

·         Aug 5-7: Indiana Cave Capers in Mitchell, IN.  NEW

·         Aug 19:  BRG meeting

·         Sept 1-5:  Old Timer’s Reunion, Dailey, WV.

·         Sept 1-5:  CaveFest at Caver’s Paradise, by Sewanee Mountain Grotto, TN.  NEW

·         Sept. 3 — West Virginia Speleological Survey meeting.  OTR site, 6:30. Contact Dasher  NEW

·         Sept. 16: BRG meeting

·         Oct. 21: BRG meeting

·         Nov 18: BRG meeting, elections.

·         June 26-30, 2023 – – NSS Convention, Elkins, WV. NEW


Cold Beer!


Program:  Susan Burr had created a slide show, “Name That Cave Entrance!”  This was fun, and there were some cave entrances that had most of the cavers stumped. 😊




Minutes Submitted by

Mary Sue Socky, Secretary