bplist00__WebMainResource_ _WebResourceTextEncodingName_WebResourceData^WebResourceURL_WebResourceMIMETypeUUTF-8Ot_Near Normal Grotto

May 1997 Near NormalNews

Jim Jacobs

We've seen some real growth lately! Welcome to new members, Earl Neller,John Roark, Linda Lee, Brett Bennett, Ed Kirby. The "Armin KruegerSpeleological Nature Preserve" has been established, which includes"Big Sink" and two entrances into the "Krueger System". Itis private property owned by Cletus and Sharon Kelley. They live nearby and arefriendly to cavers. Please respect their rights (be friendly, no camping, nofires, offer photos of caves, etc). Groups of 25 or more should apply for aINPC Special Use Permit (allow 30 days).


New member BRETT BENNETT describes his first wild cave trip, a detour toBuckner's when Wayne's Lost was too wet. Ah, the memories! Buckner's was myfirst wild cave, and Brett's realization that getting lost in this cave is halfof the fun will bring back warm feelings of deja vu to all!

DAVE MAHON AND JOHN MARQUART hope that some of us can lend a hand to theMark Twain Grotto for their Burton Cave gating project.

JULIE ANGEL acts as an NNG "good will ambassador" to groupswanting to learn about caves.

MARTY JACOBS remembers her volunteer weekend at Mammoth Cave.

JO SCHAPER reports on cave closures at MARAMEC PARK.

SUE HAGAN and MICK SUTTON discuss the dangers of lead mining in southeastMissouri.

Backto Top

Brett Bennett

Norm Rogers, Lara Storm, Tonya Frazer, Greg Phillips, Rich Bell, BrettBennett

This trip was supposed to be to Wayne's Lost Cave in Bloomington, IN, but asmother nature would have it, the cave was impassable due to rising water.Little did I know at the time that this was a blessing to me. Since this was myfirst trip, Rich decided that I needed a good first experience with a wildcave. Also due to the fact that no one told Rich that the meeting time was tobe eastern time, we were an hour late to McDonalds in Bloomington. After ashort search for Bent Arrow Caving Supplies, we learned that the rest of thegroup had decided to abandon the Wayne's trip and make a run at Buckner's. Richand I, being an hour behind,at least, donned our caving gear and proceeded intomy first cave. The trip down the hill is not very fun at all. The rains thatcame Friday night made this hill very muddy. Once in the cave I was supprisedto find it very dry. This is where I learned the delicate art of crawling androlling with a bag strapped to my side. This is COOL! After about 15 minutes wereached the Signature room where we rested briefly. Rich figured that Normwould lead the rest through the stream passage, so we went the oppositedirection in hopes of meeting up with them at the Monument room. The rooms andpassages that we crawled and walked through amazed me. Once you looked past thespray paint and garbage, it was quite marvelous. After about an hour we reachedthe Air Force room where we rested again, due to me being severely out of shapeand smoke too much. We dropped through a hole in the floor and proceeded to getlost for over an hour. As it turns out, we ended up in Keens Grotto passage. I wouldnot recommend this to a first time caver. Why you ask? Well let me tell you.Some of these passages are no bigger than the birth canal of an Indiana bat,but with a whole lot of wiggling, a few choice words, and an "I madeit" out of Rich, I was reborn into a bigger passage. We wiggled through afew more passages and came upon a spot we had already been at, since werecognized the two Mountain Dew bottles lying on the floor. Needless to sayafter an hour of wandering around, I was getting worried. Rich noticed somevoices coming from above us. He yelled a few times, then saw a light. A tenyear old boy, stuck his head trough a small hole and told us that he was in theAir Force room. After Rich handed our bags to him that it was deemed that wecould not fit in that small hole. Than the other boy stuck his head through abigger hole directly behind Rich and said we could get out that way. WE WERESAVED!!!!!! After About 15 minutes rest, I noticed light moving in the passagethat we should have taken. Into the room bounded the rest of the group that wewere to meet. We said our hellos and Rich proceeded to threaten gread bodilyharm to the rest for not being clear about the meeting time. We followed therest out the way we came, for the most part not to get lost again, and becauseI was happy to go that far on the first trip. After arriving outside, we metLara's dad, than changed clothes and went to dinner at Steak & Shake. Ifyou wear glasses take something along to clean them with, a dirty sweat shirtdoesn't work. I had a very good time, even being lost! You have another onehooked, folks.

Brett Bennett

Backto Top

by Dave Mahon (as edited by John Marquart)

Burton Cave is located in Adams County, IL about 11 miles southeast ofQuincy). The cave has been known since at least 1848. J. Harlen Bretz and S.E.Harris, Jr. reported on this cave in their renowned 1961 publication,"Caves of Illinois." It is a solutional cave with a prominent archedentrance in the cliffs overlooking Burton Creek. Its extent is not long, about600 feet, as is typical of western Illinois caves, but it has ecologicalsignificance that has brought home the importance of protecting it from futurevandalism and intrusion. The close proximity to Quincy and its conspicuousentrance has made it into a popular visiting spot for both the natureenthusiast and the party goer. The latter have, unfortunately, left theirdastardly signatures in the form of spray paint, mud balls, and brokenformations. However, the cave is not beyond reclamation and revitalization ifcorrective measures are taken soon. Many unique formations remain and the caveserves as the habitat to a significant population of cave fauna, notably thefederally endangered species: Indiana bat, Myotis sodalis, (winterhibernaculum). The fauna also include blind cave amphipods and other troglobitespecies. Current protection is limited and inadequate to protect the cave andits residents. The cave and surrounding area are designated as a conservationarea managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Signs announcethat Burton Cave is closed to visitation from September 30 through March 31 toprotect the hibernating Indiana bats. Entrance at other times is presumably bySpecial Use Permit. However, vandals promptly destroyed the signs and ignorethe warnings and the danger that they incur upon the cave and its residentpopulation. Through the efforfts of the Mark Twain Grotto, MTG, (Dave Mahon,President), all that is about to change for the better. Working incollaboration with the Illinois State Department of Natural Resources, BatConservation International, the MVOR Gating Fund, and other governmental andprivate organizations, Dave Mahon and the MTG have obtained the funding toconstruct a bat-friendly gate about 38 feet beyond the dripline to Burton Cave.The gate will be constructed in a design similar to those that we used on theentrances to the Blackball Mine last summer (American Cave ConservationAssociation - Design A). The single gate will span across the passage for about20 feet and rise from floor to ceiling for about 4 feet. That will make itcomparable in size to the gate that we constructed on the southwestern entranceto the lower level of the Blackball Mine. Dave and the MTG have ask us for helpin construction of the gate on Burton Cave. The weekend of JUNE 7-8, 1997 hasbeen set up with a rain date weekend of JUNE 14-15. Work is to start at 8:00a.m. All types of help are needed (experienced and inexperienced). Besides thegate construction work, there is lots to do in the cleanup of the cave andsurroundings. Dave has sent extensive material concerning the project andaccommodations for us. There are plenty of camp grounds (Siloam Springs StatePark is nearby) , motels, and spaces to sleep on the floor of MTG members'homes. The MTG is planning a Saturday night cook-out/gathering.


How to reply:

1. Pick up materials and maps concerning the project at the May Near NormalGrotto meeting (Friday, May 23).
2. Fill out a form at the May Near Normal Grotto meeting (copy below if you cannot attend the meeting).
3. Reply to the following:

i) Dave Mahon - (project coordinator) Rt 1, Box 325A, Payson, IL 62360.Dave's phone is: (217) 656-3849
ii) For camping - reply to Mike Goodwin (217) 228-0386
iii) Via email - reply to pattydaw@aol.com
iv) Via FAX - reply to (319) 524-4775

P.S. Dave called me that he wanted to attend our May Near Normal Grottomeeting to tell us more about the project, but couldn't get off work thatevening. He sends his regrets, but does send lots of information to make up forhis absence.

Registration Form
Phone__________________________ EMail____________________________

Expect to arrive: Friday evening___ Saturday am___ Saturday

Special Skills: welding___ previous gating experience___ heavy
lifting___ grinding___ cutting torch___ graffiti removal___

Plan to stay @: primitive camping___ State Park___ motel___ MTG
members homes___ (floor space, etc.)

Backto Top


During the past month, I've had the opportunity to give cave talks to twodifferent groups here in Champaign. I'm finding that there are many people whowouldn't think about crawling into caves as we do, but love to learn and hearabout the adventures and projects that we cavers participate in. I'm alwaysamazed at the intelligent, thoughtful questions that both children and adultsask. I'm definitely becoming 'hooked' on giving these talks - if you ever havethe chance to give one be sure to try it. It can be a very rewarding, funexperience!! The first talk in May was to 16 members of the Cosmopolitaninterest group of the University of Illinois Women's Club. Their grouptypically studies different countries, so I was a bit concerned about the levelof interest there would be for caves. My worries were definitely unfounded!!They asked lots of questions and were still quizzing me over the dessert table.I particularly enjoyed one of their older members (age 82) who was quiteinterested in caves and cave creatures. I later found out that this was thefirst program she had stayed awake for in the last year and a half!! Maybe shewould like to become a caver - it's never too late for something new!! A weeklater, I gave two 45 minute, back to back talks at Robeson Elementary Schoolsfirst Explorers Day. I showed slides, talked about the caving equipment we use,and set up the ever popular "cave box". Giving two talks in a row wasquite an experience; I sent the first group on their way and immediately hadanother eager group staring me in the face! Here are two of the cute"thank you's" I received - they can sum up how the day went betterthan I:

Dear Mrs. Cave Explorer,

I had a great time when you came in. It was fun seeing all the slides thatyou brought in. The thing I liked the most were the maps and the 'cave box'they were looking at and going through the box. I had fun and hope you comeagain. Your Pupil, Adam Karch

Dear Cave Expert,

I really liked the things you showed us on Explorers Day. I really liked thefilm. Mammoth Cave is cool! I hope I can go sometime. I also like the cavetunnel you could go through. It must be fun exploring caves. Well my teacherscalling me so I have to go. Sincerely, Kevin Oare (sparky dog)

Backto Top

THREEMERAMEC PARK CAVES CLOSED Internet info posted by Jo Schaper

For those of you not MSS members-- Dan Drees, naturalist at Meramec State Park,has implemented new cave closure rules at three caves. All will now beclosed/permit only caves. According to Dan, all three caves have been found tohave bachelor Gray colonies during the summer, but the caves will remain openon a controlled basis. Bear Cave (Mud Sink) will now be open daily from June 17to August 31. Previously, this cave was open only on two weekends--one in May,one in late August. This is a relaxation of the access. Hamilton Cave: (BigHamilton) will now be permit only during its former open season of May 1-August31. This is due to abuse of the cave (horse tracks and feces, fireworks debris,and beer cans found in the cave during the summer.) Since it is gated, this nowinvolves getting permits, a key, etc. Wildcat Cave, which was previously undersummer closure, but open Sept-April, will now be closed Sept. to April, andopen by permit only during the summer. Change was due to larger numbers ofhibernating bats during the winter as opposed to the small numbers ofnon-maternity summer grays. Don't kill the messenger. Address comments to Danat Meramec State Park, 2800 Highway 185, Sullivan, MO 63080, or by calling thevisitor's center.

Backto Top

MissouriCaving Discussion (MOCAVES@UMSLVMA.UMSL.EDU) by Sue Hagan and Mick Sutton

[I believe that this discussion was generated by an article in the April1997 NSS NEWS, "Lead Mining Threatens Ozark Caves", by Dave Jagnow.]

...Jerry...Your comments in the Mo Caving Discussion re the role of caversin the Eleven Point lead mining controversy deserves careful consideration. Wedon't think we'd characterize the caving community's response as hysteria (wewould reserve that word for items like the Great UN Biosphere Conspiracyfracas, of which more later). To summarize your main points, (a) prospectinghas been done in the area previously without major catastrophy, (b) even ifthey did hit an ore deposit developing a mine would be costly, perhapsprohibitively so, (c) there are more immediate concerns, especially horseshitin the rivers. First, the effects of prospecting cannot reasonably be separatedfrom the effects of eventual mining. If a company invests a lot of money andtime in prospecting and then hits paydirt, the impetus to develop the depositwill be well nigh unstoppable politically and bureaucratically. The ForestService's assurance that mining will not automatically follow discovery is notvery reassuring, as no proposal to develop a discovered deposit has ever beenturned down by either the USFS or the Bureau of Land Management. So what if amine does go in? The Viburnum trend mines have been environentally benign,right? Well, not quite. There has been serious pollution in the West Fork BlackRiver, polluted mine waters have found their way to Blue Spring on the Current,the town of Glover has been abandoned owing to contamination with lead from asmelter, and so on. If the environmental problems are bad in the Viburnumtrend,it is likely to be a whole lot worse in Big Spring Country. Leaving asidethe very large economic and social questions, we see two majorhydrological/geological problems.

1) Hydrological disruption of a world-class phreatic cave system. As youknow, one of the world's great (unexplored) cave systems underlies the Currentand Eleven Point watersheds relatively deep (300-500 ft?) below base level.Mining on the Viburnum Trend model would excavate an enormous void (cubicmiles) underlying the network of water-filled cave passages supplying BigSpring, Greer Spring, and many smaller springs. Mines leak. Water has to bepumped out at quite a high rate to keep them air-filled. There is no evidenceof an aquaclude between the phreatic passage horizon and the ore body horizon(what little evidence there is points to hydrological connection between thetwo zones). The result will be likely disruption of hydrological and biologicalregimes. When the mine is abandoned (in a geological eyeblink), hydrologicalconnections between it and the karst will continue to exist indefinitely.

2) Tailings ponds. Tailings lakes would be a better term. These are placedin convenient valleys near the mining operation. Unlike the Viburnum area,there are no upland valleys in the Current/Eleven-Point district which holdwater. Even with the use of liners, etc, tailings are pretty well guaranteed tofind their way into the subsurface. The result--destruction of troglobitichabitat by siltation, and the introduction of lead and other heavy metals intothe food chain. Yes, we know lead is insoluble at high pH. But finely-milledlead sulfide (or whatever) finds its way into the low pH guts of sedimentgrazers. Lead contamination of the food chain from tailings is well documentedin the Big River, where the fish are inedible. Then there is the secondarycontamination resulting from a boom/bust industry causing a small concentrationof population density in a previously pristine area. Consider the sudden riseof septic systems, high tension wires, road expansion, and increased trafficdensity (including trucks carrying heavy-metal ores) that will result from theconstruction of a mining industry. And that is to say nothing of thepossibility of smelters being moved to the area. Yes, we agree that horsesshitting in the river are a horrible problem. Cavers (and noncavers, especiallycanoeists) should be upset about that problem as well. But it's a separateissue. If a reasonable policy on horse-riding is ever established, theecosystem will probably be capable of self-healing. If mining is allowed in theBig Springs District, the damage will take far more than our lifetimes to givean illusion of healing; cleanup of the surface will be expensive, but if, sayan isolated population of Typhlicthis is wiped out, that genetic loss isforever. You are absolutely right that "Because southeast Missouri is suchan attractive place to look for heavy-metal mineral deposits, I think we canexpect continual interest in exploration drilling." Probably the bestmeans for long-term protection is to advocate for designation of the OzarksBiosphere Reserve centered on the Current and Eleven Point Rivers. This wouldgo a long way toward developing a reasonable plan for making human habitationin the Ozarks compatible with protection of the resources. Right now, thatproposal is on hold because politicians (especially those subsidized by PACcontributions from mining interests) and government officials (intimidated byextremists from the Wi$e U$e movement) have put consideration on thebackburner. We note that the recent hysteria (really!) over the UN plotting toherd half the population of the Ozarks into concentration camps reached boilingpoint at the same time the mining industry was pushing for prospecting rightson State land in the Current watershed; makes one wonder who is feeding the conspiracyhysteria. But that's a whole story in itself, and another cause. Lead has to bemined somewhere (we all drive cars), but US society has already decided thatsome sites should be off limits to mineral exploitation regardless of themineral wealth they may contain, e.g., Yellowstone, Lechuguilla. We vote thatthe Current and Eleven Point National Scenic Rivers and their unique style ofkarst, certainly unparalleled anywhere else in the US, should be one of thoseoff-limits places. Right now, we think cavers need to take an extremely activestand in opposition to leadmining in the Current and Eleven Point watersheds,and we are pleased to see that seems to be happening. Mick is currently workingup a large batch of maps (25-30) resulting from Phase 2 of our project todefine cave and cave-wildlife resources in the Eleven Point watershed.

Sue Hagan & Mick Sutton

Backto Top


NNG participants: Norm Rogers, Tonja Fraser, Gregg Phillips, Chris Dinesen,Marty Jacobs, Granger Ridout, Randy and Dan Wahlfeldt.

On friday, January 24, a group of NNG cavers traveled to Mammoth Cave, KY toparticipate in a weekend of fun, hard work, and companionship along with caversfrom other areas such as Missouri, Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky. Shortlyafter we arrived, we pooled our funds, and bought groceries for the weekend.That evening, Norm and Gregg fixed one of the best spaghetti dinners that I'veever had. The next morning, we met with Bob Ward and learned that we would bedismantling man-made walls in the historic area of Mammoth Cave and hauling outthe mortar. Over the years, many walls had been built, primarlity of stonesheld together by mortar. Some were built to hide lighting fixtures andgenerators, others to deter visitors from wandering into unstable or dangerousareas of the cave. The walls were to be removed in an attempt to restore thenatural air flow patterns to the cave, inasmuch as is possible. Over the yearsthe dripline has advanced and changed, and is perhaps causing damage to somehistorical features and artifacts in the cave. It is thought that restrictedair flow are, at least in part, the cause. This was the first time that I hadbeen able to visit Mammoth in a few years and wondered how much of what I hadseen would be familiar. Surprisingly, as I walked through the cave, areas thatI had visited as a tourist were still very familiar. We divided in groups, butmost of the NNG'rs worked together. Past the Rotunda, a wall had been built tohide electrical fixtures, which was nearly five feet tall and ten to fifteenfeet long. It didn't require that large a structure to hide the lighting, so wedismantled most of it, rearranging the remainder to look like a natural featureof the cave. Gregg attempted to haul the mortar and debris out using awheelbarrow, and was able to complete one trip, but at a horrible energy costdue to the steep inclines. We concluded that the old tried-and-true "onesack of stuff per caver per trip", was still the most efficient method.Our next task took us behind the Giant's Coffin, to the bottom of the steps.This wall completely blocked off a side passage. On this one, we used a sledgehammer, since none of the wall was to remain. We remained cautious, due to the possibilityof loosening a large boulder, which appeared as though it might be partiallysupported by the wall. Luckily, it didn't move. Once this wall fell, I noticedimmediate air movement where there had been almost none! After a pleasantoutdoor lunch, we finished the day by bringing down two smaller walls beyondthis one. That evening, Chris and I had the cooking duties, and fixed myfavorite camping/caving meal, ham, beans and potatos. Sunday morning, aftercoaxing Norm's van to start, we were excited to be able to work in FloydCollins' Crystal Cave, replacing some formations which had been recovered afterthe recent vandalism. The formations, mostly gypsum, had already been hauleddown to the area where Floyd's coffin had rested. Our job was to move them backthe areas that they had been stolen from, as best as that could be determined.The Park historians had decided that the price tags placed on the formations bythe rock shops that had purchased them should be left in place as part of thenever-ending saga of Floyd's Cave. What is historical? Good question! The pricetags on the stolen formations are to remain, but the Austin house is being torndown. Many feel that much of the recent history of the exploration of the FlintRidge/Mammoth cave system flowed from that old shack. On the way out of thecave, Bob Ward had the misfortune to slip on the ice and hurt his leg. KermitWilkison reports that "after all the cavers started talking aboutpreparing to rescue him from the cave, he decided he would rather do ithimself. It turned out that he was only bruised, sore and embarrassed."
That's our Bob!

Backto Top


Called to order: 7:12 by President John Marquart.

Present: Brian Braye, Jim Jacobs, Brett Bennett, Tonja Fraser, Rich Bell,Lara Storm, Len Storm, Larry Bird, Bark Belding, Norm Rogers, Chris Dinesen,Linda Lee, Debi Cox, Tanja Lutman, David Carson, Angela Carson, Beth Reinke,Earl Neller, Greg Kwasny.

OFFICER REPORTS: The minutes of the March meeting were delivered by JimJacobs and approved as read. Julie Angel reported that the treasury stands at$335.63. Report approved.

OLD BUSINESS: Bylaws modifications are being considered by the ExecutiveCommittee. Member suggestions are encouraged. The ISS has applied for NSSaffiliation. Brian Braye has submitted logo designs. NNG members selected theirfavorite version of the design for submission.

NEW BUSINESS: The membership voted to order the vertical training coursefrom the NSS. We decided to wait until the kit arrives to plan a trip.

TRIP REPORTS: Rich Bell and Brett Bennett described their trip to Buckner's.[see Brett's report this issue!] They went to Buckner's instead of Wayne'sbecause there was high water in Wayne's main passage. Julie Angel., Rich B.,and Tanja Fraser reported on the State Geological Survey geology which endedwith a trip to Illinois Caverns. To the astonishment of all, nearly 400 (!)people participated. There were two minor injuries, both to trip leaders. RichB. and Sam Panno both sustained badly bruised knees in falls. Julie read athank you note to the grotto for helping with the trip. Julie has given threepresentations recently, to the University Women's Club, and the Explorer's dayat an elementary school. She read some very touching thank you notes from thekids. Larry Bird reported on the evacuation of an injured hiker from theBlackball Mine preserve. Evidently a young man fell from a cliff while beingchased by John's dogs. It took around three and half hours to get him out. JohnM. announced that Mark Twain grotto chair Dave Mahon was coordinating a gatingproject for Burton Cave, Adams County, Illinois to take place the 6th throughthe 8th of June. Information about the spring MVOR and the May 17th IDNR fieldtrip to Buffalo Rock and Mathieson State park was reported.

Respectfully submitted, Jim Jacobs, secretary.

Backto Top


Called to order 7:05 by President John Marquart.

Present: Linda Lee, Tonja Traser, David Fraser, Marty Jacobs, Jim Jacobs,Lara Storm, Leonard Storm, Julie Angel, John Roark, Brian R. Braye, GregPhillips, Earl Neller, Angela Neller, Norm Rogers, Rich Bell, Chris Dinesen.

OFFICER REPORTS: Minutes; Jim Jacobs (approved). Treasury, Julie Angel,(approved.

OLD BUSINESS: Adjustments made to standing rules (concerning dues andmembership) have been acted upon by the Executive Board and published in theNNN. Bylaws are being looked at by the Board.

NEW BUSINESS: Randy Wahlfeld asked John M. to see if the NNG might beinterested in purchasing a vertical training course made available by the NSS.Discussion, but no decision.

TRIP REPORTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS: Information on trips can now be posted onthe web page by emailing the info to Leonard Storm. Tonja reported on anovernight trip to Broome Moore Cave. Brian B. took a youth group to IllinoisCaverns. John M. talked about the ISS meeting. The ISS would like to havesubmissions for the official logo in May. Philip Moss has been re-elected ISSPresident, Joel Laws, V.P. They will seek affiliation with the NSS and otheragencies, such as ISGS and US Dept of Forestry).

Backto Top

_0http://www.eiu.edu/~physics/nngrotto/may1997.htmYtext/html &DVe{_u&uY uc