WELCOME TO THE BLUE
The Blue Ridge
Grotto (BRG) is a chapter of the National Speleological Society
(NSS), and has been in existence since 1969. The purpose of
the grotto is: "To encourage and promote the study and
science of speleology; to promote the preservation, conservation
and exploration of caves; to coordinate the efforts of the
members; to facilitate the communication of speleological
information; to encourage fellowship among those interested
in spelunking (caving); and to promote safety".
Blue Ridge Grotto
members promote cave conservation and cave safety. We work
hard to foster and maintain good landowner relations by always
asking permission before going caving, and by honoring all
cave closures. We are involved in exploration, survey, vertical
caving, cave cleanups and other cave conservation work, cave
photography, outreaches to scout troops, science classes,
and civic groups. Several BRG members are also trained in
NCRC techniques and are on 24-hour call for cave rescues.
Caves are sensitive
and can be easily harmed. Most caves are owned by someone
and as such we must be sensitive to the landowners' wishes.
For this reason, the Blue Ridge Grotto does not freely give
out directions to caves or cave maps.
Now that you know
a little bit about us, attend a BRG meeting, meet some of
the members, go on a grotto trip, and check us out! You may
even want to become a member of the Blue Ridge Grotto. If
so, the procedure is shown below:
Attend BRG meetings and meet the cavers.
Go on appropriate grotto trips! You need to have the trip
leader's OK when you sign up for the trip to make sure
that your capabilities are up to the type of cave trip.
This way, BRG members get to know you, and you get to
know the cavers in the BRG.
After two or three trips, you will have a better feel
for the grotto. If you decide to apply for membership
in BRG, you will have to:
Write a letter of your intent to join BRG. This written
application shall include a signed statement that you
agree to practice and promote cave conservation and safety.
Find a regular BRG member to sponsor you. This member,
by agreeing to sponsor you, indicates that he or she can
vouch for you being an asset to BRG and the caving community.
Your sponsor will (unless you desire to) read your letter
of intent to the members at the monthly BRG meeting, and
propose you for membership in BRG. Another regular BRG
member must second this proposal. The vote on your membership
will be tabled until the following meeting.
At the next BRG meeting, a vote will be taken on your
Once you are voted in as a member of BRG, you will have
to sign a membership agreement and pay your dues. In return,
you will receive copies of your membership agreement,
the BRG membership list, the Grotto constitution, a membership
card specifying your type of membership, a year's subscription
of the Carbide Dump, and many more intangibles
- like being able to learn from the wealth of knowledge
that makes up the cavers of BRG, special updates from
the VAR and the NSS, safety and conservation training,
and lots of other goodies, too.
If for some reason you are unable to begin the membership
process but want to keep in touch with BRG, you can apply
in writing and pay a subscriber's rate for the grotto
newsletter, the Carbide Dump. This ensures that
you will continue finding out what BRG is up to, and once
you have completed your requirements for membership in
BRG, your subscriber rate will automatically convert into
We hope this explains
a little about Blue Ridge Grotto philosophies and procedures.
Remember, caves are fragile, nonrenewable natural resources
and need everyone's protection, so Leave nothing but footprints,
Take nothing but pictures, and Waste nothing but time (Caver's
motto). Whatever you do, please Cave Softly & Safely!
RIDGE GROTTO of the NATIONAL SPELEOLOGICAL SOCIETY
addition to writing your letter of intent, and the other requirements
you must sign and date a membership agreement in order to
become a member of the
Blue Ridge Grotto, which is detailed below. Your sponsor
needs to sign this agreement
understand that the purpose of Blue Ridge Grotto is to encourage
and promote the study and science of speleology; to promote
the preservation, conservation, and exploration of caves;
to encourage fellowship among those interested in caving;
and to promote safety in caving.
I support the conservation goals of the National Speleological
Society. Caves are a fragile, nonrenewable resource and
have unique scientific, recreational, and scenic values. These values are endangered by both carelessness
and intentional vandalism; these values, once gone, cannot
be recovered. The responsibility
for protecting caves must be assumed by myself and others
who study and enjoy them.
a member of the Blue Ridge Grotto, I will:
- Acquire and
use a good quality helmet, a helmet-mounted primary light
source, and other required safety equipment.
- Practice safe
- Never enter
a cave while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Promote good
relations with cave owners.
- Honor all cave
- Provide information
concerning acts of cave vandalism to the proper authorities.
- Oppose the
illegal collection and/or sale of speleothems.
- Whenever possible,
promote public awareness of laws concerning cave conservation
and the protection of groundwater resources.
- Protect caves
from vandalism by not giving their location or other information
to the public and/or poorly equipped, non-conservation minded
- Practice cave
conservation by "caving softly" - removing all
trash, limiting marking to a few, small, removable survey
signs, and exercising extreme care not to break, mar, or
soil formations, tamper with artifacts, disturb cave life
forms, or unnecessarily increase the number of paths through
hereby agree to uphold the rules and ethics of the Blue Ridge
Grotto of the National Speleological Society.
understand that failure to abide by these rules may result
in the revocation of Grotto membership with no refund of dues