Sligo Grotto Patch
Sligo Grotto of the NSS
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Silers Cave
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New Silers Gate Installed!

Update! Gate repaired September 21, 2002

The long awaited new gate at Silers Cave finally went in over the weekend of April 28-29, 2001. It was a gorgeous weekend for an outdoor project, sunny and mid-70s, and the red buds were in full bloom.

For years the gate has consisted of a chain-mounted manacle at the end of a 55 gallon drum at the bottom of a 15' pit. Vandals have repeatedly attacked the lock and chain using bolt cutters, saws and even a fire. When we reinforced the gate, they dug a new entrance. After we sealed the new entrance, the vandals again attacked the main gate, finally completely destroying it. Because of the increasing severity of the vandalism we opted for a serious heavy metal gate which should hopefully foil even the most determined vandals for some time to come. The design and placement of the new gate were picked to simultaneously deter vandals, minimally interfere with the indiginous bats and be friendly to cave rescue operations. We still expect some digging attempts, and they will be dealt with as they arrive. The gate at Silers has traditionally been an ongoing project, and we fully expect the tradition to continue.

The Silers gating project was funded by the leftover proceeds from a Virginia Region (VAR) meeting co-hosted by the Sligo and Baltimore Grottos, and we would like to thank both Grottos for their support! We would also like to heartily thank all of the volunteers who came out to participate in the project!

The following are some of the first pictures from the project. All photos by Jim McConkey except as noted. (Click on each thumbnail for a full-sized picture.)

Two tons of steel arrive by flatbed truck. The steel is offloaded and divied up.
The steel chicks (Carol, Pat, Meredith, Ellie and Jen) are ready for action! Harn, Ellie, Bob and Josh start up the hill with a heavy piece.
Pat shows off by taking a piece up the hill by herself. Meredith and Mark haul a bigger piece.
Vitas is ready to collapse by mid-morning, but Jim urges him on! (Photo by Jen Neemann) Susan and Meredith relax while taking pictures.
Lunchtime! Time for a rest after hauling all that steel.
Mike guides the steel down into the entrace. (Photo by John Powers) A Big Drill is used to anchor the gate to the rock walls.
Craig (aka Weldo) carefully welds the pieces together. The gate starts to take shape.
Jen resets the blown breaker on the generator for the umpteenth time. Jim does the final inspection of the gate. Two thumbs up! (Photo by John Powers)
Jim and Bob haul the generator back down the hill. John hauls out the last remaining gear.

Please give a virtual round of applause to Jim, Jen, Craig, Carol, Mike, Josh, Bob, Pauline, Anya, Meredith, Ellie, Pat, Mike, Susan, Fang, Harn, Vitas, Bob and John for all their efforts in making this project become a reality!

Update! Gate repaired September 21, 2002

If you would like to volunteer for future repairs and cleanups at Silers, please contact Jim McConkey.

This site is written and maintained by Jim McConkey. Last update: 15.May.2004
© Copyright 2002-2004 Sligo Grotto of the NSS