October 20, 2006

Al Stewart Mary Sue Socky Todd Martin
Doug Feller Carl Cornett Marian McConnell
Dan McConnell Susan Burr Pat Sims
Haley Grasty* Jennifer Perdue Jeff Richards
Allyson Lee Jeff Richards Jeff Perdue
Brian Williams John Layman Paul Stoutamire*
Whitney St. Clair*

1. Past Trip Reports

Giant Caverns - The BRG 9/16/06 trip into Giant was very successful. We took many photos and will share at the next meeting.

Goodwins - A 9/24/06 trip was very successful; Mary Sue, Dave, Haley, a couple from Maryland, Craig, and Carol came along.

James Cave - 9/23/06 - Trip Leader was Sandy Knapp (from the Bat Ranch); participants were Susan, Pat, Carl, Trish, and 6 others from VAR. They took the high route in. About 1/3-1/2 way in, one caver, who was on medication, had to be lead out by Sandy's boyfriend. They continued on through several pretty areas and made it to the sump. On the way out, they took the low route. When they reached the entrance, all but 6 bailed out. The 6 went out the other entrance (other side of the road) and decided to see how quickly they could do it - did it in 9 minutes. Sandy was a really good leader and it was a great trip.

Pig Hole - John Layman, friend Cameron, and others went to Pig Hole during VAR. Enjoyed the vertical entrance; came out the culvert. Went with 3 guys from SC.

New River - 9/24/06 - Pat Sims was leader; Susan Burr was co-leader; participants were Carl, John, Cameron Hall (John's friend), Leanne Barley, John King, Brian King, Kevin King, Bill Nickerson, and Tedd Beddall (from NJ). Took on trip as favor to them and VPI Grotto. They got lost a bunch, but always figured out where to go. Didn't go down the China Slide going in. From bottom of China Slide, Susan left green flagging tape and built rock cairns to mark the trail. Made it to the waterfall. Several went up the falls. Pat went up and secured a handline. After picture taking and exploring they headed out. Good thing I'd placed the flagging tape! They did go up the China Slide on the way out. At the cave entrance they caught up with 3 cavers from SC who did NOT have permission (from owner, Tim Kilby) to be there. Susan became "cave Nazi" and lectured them. Overall it was a good trip.

VAR - During VAR, Al Stewart and Bob Thren drove down old Rt. 460 to Pocahantas, WV, and visited an old coal mine museum. There were miles of side passages, and fossil trees in the ceiling.

Island Ford - Mary Sue, Meredith, Brian, and others assisted with the Island Ford cleanup on 10/15/06. There is still some remaining spray-painted graffiti, but they got a lot of work done.

Upcoming Trip Report
Honaker - BRG trip planned for 10/21/06. Ricky Shortt and Dave Socky will lead the trip which is in Mercer County, WV near Bluefield. Meet at 8:30 am at HROM. This cave has multi-level canyoning, about 3,000' of passage, a Lake Room, rimstone dams, etc. Limited to 12 people; BRG members get first preference.
Trout Rocks Conservation - 11/4 trip planned.
Eagle Rock - Marian is working with Spencer Frantz (Cole's Uncle) to set up a date to survey and photograph his cave near Eagle Rock. This cave has a vertical entrance (about 25'), some formations, and a few hundred feet of passage. He will drive us to the cave entrance on his ATV through the woods, so the trip is limited to 3 additional people; we need at least one person who can survey. Contact Marian if interested.
Madison Saltpeter - A survey will be done on 11/11, in Madison (near Grand).
Poor Farm - The November BRG trip will be on 11/18 to Poor Farm cave; Doug Feller will lead.
Breathing - The December BRG trip will be on 12/16 to Breathing cave; Doug Feller will lead.
NRCR Weeklong Cave Rescue Training (many local caves) - June 16-23 in the Roanoke area. More info to come.

2. Program of the Day (none - Dave Socky not there).

3. Treasurer's Report:

General $4,262.66
Cave Bucks $ 24.00
Conservation $ 575.00
Equipment $ 239.00

4. Committees:
Newsletter - Thanks for photos and articles; can always use more!
Membership - See October NSS News on page 4 about landowner relations.
ROCKS (Roanoke Organization for Cave & Karst Survey) - None
Safety & Techniques - Dan will check into SRT at Rocwood 12/9.
Conservation - vacant.
Ways & Means - vacant.

5. Membership Proposals - none.

6. Old Business:

a. Nancy Kuebler's Girl Scouts wanted a trip to Island Ford on 4/29/07; however, this is VAR weekend. Proposed new date: 5/6/07 (a Sunday). Contact Marian if willing to help.

b. Boy Scout Troop from Mt. Pleasant wants a trip; we already did a pre-trip educational talk. Let Mary Sue know if willing to help (Carl and Marian have already volunteered). This would be a beginner trip. Location TBA; probably Tawney's.

c. A cave conservation and safety "walk and talk" was held at the Catawba Murder Hole property (Dan and Marian McConnell's) on 10/7 for the Sierra Club and other visitors. Mary Sue, Nicholas, and Carl assisted. Carol Zokaitis came and gave some great information about the Karstwater project. She brought the karstwater model which is a great demonstration of pollution to groundwater.

7. New Business:
a. Danville Parks and Recreation and Duke University have both contacted BRG about leading trips. We have concerns about resources, volunteers, and Duke's request for a "vertical" trip. Our BRG current stance is that we will do a few trips for Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts during the year, contingent upon volunteers. However, requests from Colleges, Parks & Recreations, etc. should go through Roanoke City Parks and Recreation. RCPR has insurance, transportation, gear, etc. Marian and Dan (and new Outdoor Coordinator, Aaron Conover) make sure that NSS cave conservation and safety ethics are adhered to for RCPR trips. Marian has already communicated with Aaron at RCPR about the Duke group; and recommended that they first schedule a horizontal trip. Marian will contact Joel from Danville and let him know he'll need to schedule any trips through RCPR.

b. Marian and Mary Sue are doing a cave conservation and safety talk for the Tri-County (Botetourt, Craig, Roanoke) organization on October 23rd at 6:00 pm at the old "Billy's Barn" building (Lodge) near Hanging Rock.

c. Caves in danger - Mary Sue discussed two caves in danger; one has to do with a septic field over karst in WV, and the other with Perry Saltpeter in Botetourt County. It was moved (by Dan) to donate $50 to the 8 Rivers Development Task Force (for the WV cave); seconded by Mary Sue, and passed with all voting yes (except Susan). The Botetourt cave is on land that is either up for sale or has been resold recently; a Florida developer has proposed to build a 42-house subdivision on it. This has been tabled by the Planning Commission for 90 days to allow review regarding the environmental impact. Many organizations have become involved - Virginia Department of Conservation/Recreation, BCI, Virginia Cave Board, CCV, etc. A new map has been done, along with an overlay of the land to see if there would be impact on the cave. The cave is a critical habitat for bats, some of which may be endangered species.

d. Cave Safety Quiz - a draft quiz was handed out for members to review and provide feedback on at the next meeting. Would this be a good (and fun) tool to teach cave safety?

e. Nominations for Officers -
Chair - Marian McConnell
Vice Chair - Pat Sims
Secretary - Mary Sue Socky
Treasurer - Susan Burr, Cyndi Hutchison
Nominations will remain open until the next meeting on 11/16/06.

f. Christmas Cards - proposed cards should be presented at the next meeting on 11/16.

g. The Christmas party will be held on 12/15, instead of the BRG meeting. We will need a location to handle about 40 people at 7:00 pm. Mary Sue and Marian and Susan will check on some locations (e.g. new El Rodeo).

h. Craig Hindeman has designed plans for new "caver friendly" gate at Goodwin's.

i. Mary Sue and Dave Socky were awarded "Outstanding Service Awards" plaques at VAR. Congratulations! Much deserved!

j. The annual NSS IO report is due mid-December.

8. Announcements, Mail Bag:
¢ The Great X Project (Great Expectations Cave) has only $7,881 left to pay and the cave will be owned by the NSS. RASS has offered to donate $.50 for every dollar donated. You can go on and find the link to click on to donate.
¢ Some Petzel carabiners (M34-BL's) have been recalled.
¢ Call for NSS Awards nominations.
¢ Rapps Cave will be gated 1/20/07.
¢ Grand Caverns Haunted Cave will be held October 28-30 (we just found out!) if anyone is interested in helping.
¢ Annual 2007 Kentucky Speleofest will be held Memorial Day weekend (May 2007).

9. Adjournment at 9:15 pm.