November 16, 2007



Pat Sims                       Al Stewart                     Carl Cornett                   Mary Sue Socky

Doug Feller                    Trish Geiger                   Susan Burr                    Dave Socky

Jen Perdue                    Cole Frantz                   Carl Alls                        Marian McConnell

*Sam Aguilera               *Ben Johnson                *Clay Johnson               *Leonard Rowe





9/1-2/2007: Clay and Ben Johnson and friends visited Sinks of Gandy, WVa, and Stillhouse Cave, WV during OTR.


10/20/2007: Straley’s Cave, VA.  (Oct. BRG trip) Doug Feller, Trish Geiger, Dave Socky, Susan Burr, Pat Sims, Carl Cornett, Matt & Holly Poole, David & Zan Rose.  Three of them found the wrong entrance (Straley’s #2).  Eventually they found all three entrances, and did them all (does this count as one or three cave trips?).  Nice formation area.  Carl Cornett did the inside pit drop.  To amuse herself, Susan Burr and others practiced anatomically correct clay SpeleoArt.  Good 2 – 3 hour trip to a pretty little cave. 


10/19-21, 26-28, & 31: Dixie Caverns Haunted Cave!  28 cavers volunteered, raised $2000.00 for cave conservation.  It’s fun to scare the tourists. 


10/21: Aaron Moses offered a vertical practice session at the Hanging Rock cliffs.  Aaron’s Dad, Carl Cornett, Rickey Shortt, Leanne Barley, Doug Feller, Dave and Nick Socky also hung around. 


10/27-28:  Gap Cave Survey, Cumberland Gap National Forest, VA.  Dave Socky joined the CRF, and went on a 16 ½ hour survey trip in Gap Cave.  That part of the survey was in walking passage, with booming breakdown.  Dave had fun!


11/3:  Grand Caverns, VA.  Susan, Pat, Mary Sue and Nick cleared brush from a swale.  Bob Thren helped replace an old pavilion roof.  Nick Socky was the only one from BRG to get underground – he went into Fountain Cave and helped the Biggers Clan with their dig. 


11/3: Dave Socky and other Virginia Cave Board members took a tour of Luray Caverns, VA.  Yes, they are still playing the Stalacpipe Organ that taps on the formations with tiny mallets during the commercial cave trip.


11/10: Not a cave trip, but LOTS of Cavers – Dave & Mary Sue Socky and Al Stewart carpooled up to the WVCC Christmas Banquet in Lewisburg Theater.  Let’s see, other BRG members present were Bob Thren, Meredith Johnson, Ed & Marianne Saugstad, Alex Sproul, and John Michener. 


11/10:  Carl Cornett, Dan & Marian McConnell, and Sandy Ramsey took two groups of NC Boy Scouts into Tawney’s Cave and Link’s Cave, VA.  The scouts did great!   They met the other keyholder group, Jim Tennant and JRG, while in Tawney’s. 


11/11:  Carl Cornett, Cole Frantz, Dan & Marian McConnell, Brian Williams, Brian’s friends Heather NLN and Becky NLN, Bob Boeren, John Willoughby rappelled into Catawba Murder Hole, VA.  This was Bob & John’s first trip underground, and they were a bit overwhelmed.  Everyone went to the Middle Level; Carl, Heather and Becky did the in-cave rappel to the very bottom, and all the way back.  Carl described the bottom as “Peanut Butter Mud”.


????TAG – Doug Feller, Carl Cornett, Rickey Shortt, Leanne Barley, John Layman and Cameron Hall did a classic TAG trip.  First, they did a -180 foot warm-up pit, THEN: -586 foot Fantastic Pit in Ellison’s Cave, GA.  They used some interesting rigging at the lip bolts.  Not much rope was on the bottom – just enough, plus a knot. 


UpComing Trips

Nov. 17 (tomorrow) BRG trip to Starnes Cave, VA.  Doug Feller is leader.  Free climbable entrance leads to the second largest room under VA.  Multi level cave, group will do the horizontal trip, then leave cave.  Hardcore vertical cavers will rappel the lower levels in search of the lowest, muddiest, wettest, and nastiest cave they can find.


Dec 1-2:  Grand Caverns resurvey. 


Dec. 22 – Bone Norman Cave, WVa.  Dave Socky is leader. 


PROGRAM 2007 NCRC Weeklong @ Salem, VA.  Photos by Carl Cornett, dialogue by Carl Cornett and Marian McConnell.  Special thanks to Trish Geiger for getting her work computer for the slide show. 





TREASURER  11/16/07

General Fund       $ 4787.82

Conservation        $   533.92

Equipment Fund $    321.00

Cave Bucks         $     38.30

 Total:    $ 5681.04



Committee Reports:

Newsletter:  Send in your artwork, photos, and articles.

Membership:  Pay your dues!  Cards will be mailed out. 

ROCKS: No report

S&T: No Report”.  Marian says Dan is working on another vertical session at RocWood.

Conservation: vacant

Ways & Means: vacant


Membership Proposals

Nothing tabled, nothing new.  NSS Membership brochures are at the front desk.

Pay your 2008 dues to the treasurer.  $10.00 per person, $5.00 each additional family member. 



·         Hosting a future Fall VAR (Susan Burr)  no site yet.  Susan is getting discouraged.  If we find a site, JRG is willing to help with the VAR

·         Haunted Cave Meltdown (Wrap-Up) – 28 cavers raised $2000.00 for cave conservation.  See attachment.

·         BRG Christmas Cards.  Marian displayed two designs, and asked folks to vote.  The “Bat” version of the Christmas card will be sent to landowners.  

·         BRG Christmas Dinner – 12/21/2007, @ Mamma Maria’s in Salem, VA.  SIGN UP & PAY SUSAN!  4 entrees were selected from the menu:  Lasagna, Fettuccini Alfredo, Meatballs, Stuffed Shells

·         BRG Website: Dave Socky and Shawn Hinchy.  Nothing to report.




·         BRG Nominations.  No additional nominations were cast.  Nominations were closed.

·         BRG Elections.  Doug Feller motions that the current slate of officers be elected to another year in office.  Dave Socky seconds.  The vote passed by acclimation.

·         Proposed quarry in Botetourt Co. VA.  Marian McConnell attended the planning commission meeting, joined app. 100 residents in speaking against the proposed Rockydale Quarry, which would destroy several Timber Ridge caves, and pollute creek habitats for endangered mussels.  Botetourt Co. Supervisors will make final decision 11/27/2007. Marian will keep us posted.

·         VAR Site Check Reimbursement.  Pat Sims proposes that BRG reimburses gas money fro those who are driving to check out campgrounds.  Dave Socky seconds motion.  Motion passes unanimously. 



  • Desperately seeking a campground, preferably with electricity near the 220N corridor or Lexington area of I-81.  Reply to Susan Burr,  or 540-989-5809.
  • 2008 SERA/VAR brochures, describing the upcoming weekend in June 2008.
  • Rock & Mineral Show @ Salem Civic Center Nov 23-25. 




Meeting ended  8:50p.


Minutes submitted by

Mary Sue Socky

Secretary, Blue Ridge Grotto.







(see attachments on p. 4 & p.5)


(Attachment:  Mamma Maria’s)




Mamma Maria’s Menu



The $ 75.00 deposit will be refunded if 25+ adults attend.


Hours:  7p to 11p


We have reserved the back banquet room


BRG meeting: 7p to 10p (or so)


ABC on – beer, wine, mixed drinks


Buffet style.  We need to choose 4 items from the menu below to be put on our buffet:

            Salad, antipasto, bread, dessert, etc. will also be offered on the buffet.


Need to call Dominick 1 week before (by Dec. 14) to give him a head count and tell him what 4 entrée’s we want.


Price:  Kids, 9 yrs. old and under will be half price.


Adults:  $12.50 + tax + 18% gratuity.   (OK: per person price of $16.00

We need to have paid for orders by Dec. 10, 2007 


Your drinks are extra.



Mamma Maria’s Entrées from Choice 1 column (choose 4)



Fettuccini Alfredo

Penne ala Pomodoro

Cheese Ravioli

Meat Ravioli

Sausage Peppers & Onions

Mussels Marinara

Spaghetti with Garlic & Oil


Buffalo Wings


Stuffed Shells

Pasta Primavera

Penne Sunrise

Penne Napoletana

Stuffed Rigatoni

Sausage Napoletana

Penne ala Pomodoro




(Attachment:  2007 Haunted Cave Wrap-Up)


HC 2007 Actual Participants


James River Grotto

Mike Frazier              111                             20%  = $400.00

Hannah Frazier          11

Neil Gunter                 1

Matt Lair                     11

Harry Sowers 111

            5  (11)


New River Valley Grotto

John Fox                    111                             17% = $340.00

JoAnna Fox               111

Leanne Barley           1

Bill Pond                     1

            4  (8)


VPI Cave Club


Caitlin Cooke                        1                                  17% = $340.00

Zulema Galvan          11

Lisa Gunderman       1

Kaitlyn Hart                1

Alice Jaworski           1

Aaron Thomas           11

Brian Wolford            1

            7  (9)


Blue Ridge Grotto

Leanne Barley           1                                  46% = $920.00

Susan Burr                 111

Carl Cornett               11

Martin DiLeggi          1

Trish Geiger  1

Cameron Hall            1

Cyndi Hutchison        1

John Layman 1

Marian McConnell     11

Jen Perdue                11

Kristen Perdue          11

Mary Sue Socky        1111

David Socky              11

Nick Socky                 111

            14  (26)


TOTALS:  29 cavers donated  54 night’s worth of scaring

Earned $2000.00, to be split between the four grottos.


(this is a letter to JRG.  Similar letters were sent to the other grottos).


November XX, 2007



James River Grotto of the NSS

c/o Chuck Waller

1116 7th Street

Altavista, Va. 24517



Dear JRG Cavers,



Thank you so much for helping with the 2007 Dixie Caverns Haunted Cave! 


The owner, the manager, and the HC Director were very pleased with our “scaring and haunting talents”.  This year’s Haunted Cave was a success.  Mrs. Browning donated a total of $2,000.00 for the caver volunteers, and she thanks the cavers for their dedication and hard work. 


Enclosed you will find a check for your grotto efforts.


Mrs. Browning does request that the grottos make a donation to the National Caves Association, as part of our cave conservation efforts.


I calculated that 5 JRG Cavers volunteered 11 “worknights”or 20% of the “haunting” effort.  That gives JRG a total of $400.00 for cave conservation.  Congratulations!


Once again, THANKS!   



Cave Softly,





Mary Sue Socky

NSS # 24206FE

Blue Ridge Grotto of the NSS



SPECIAL THANKS TO:  James River Grotto Participants

Hannah Frazier (T)                Mike Frazier              Neil Gunter     Matt Lair         Harry Sowers


Dixie Caverns Haunted Cave 2007


Names, addresses of various cave conservation  & safety organizations. There are more cave conservancies out there, too!  (see  for more info)


American Cave Conservation Association (ACCA)

119 East Main Street, P.O.Box 409,  Horse Cave, KY 42749


Appalachian Cave Conservancy, Inc.

704 Holston Hills Lane, Marion, VA  24354-1670


Bat Conservation International (BCI)

P.O. Box 162603,  Austin, TX 78716


Cave Conservancy of the Virginias (CCV)

13131 Overhill Lake Lane, Glen Allen, VA  23059


Local rescue squads


Mid Atlantic Karst Conservancy (MAKC)

PO Box 196, Murrysville, PA  15668


Indiana Karst Conservancy

PO Box 2401,  Indianapolis, IN 46206-2401


National Caves Association (NCA)

PO Box 280, Park City, KY  42160


National Speleological Society (NSS) Save the Caves Fund

2813 Cave Avenue, Huntsville, AL  35810-4413 USA


Southeastern Cave Conservancy  (SECCI)

PO Box 71857,  Chattanooga TN 37407-0857


The Nature Conservancy

Worldwide Office                                             Virginia Chapter

4245 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 100                  490 Westfield Road

Arlington, VA 22203-1606                                 Charlottesville, VA 22901-1633


Virginia Area Region (VAR)

Treasurer                                 Landowner Recognition fund

John Fox                                 C/o Janet Tinkham,

204 Fifth Street,                       360 Kings Drive,

Radford, VA  24141                  Fort Valley, VA  22652


Virginia Cave Board

Virginia Division of Natural Heritage

Department of Conservation and Recreation

217 Governor Street, 3rd Floor, Richmond, VA  23219


Virginia Speleological Survey (VSS)

572 Spruce Street,  Monterey VA  24465-0151


WVa Cave Conservancy (WVCC)

P.O. Box 243,  Frankford, WV 24938