Join caver, explorer, and author Bill Steele in conversation with Michael Ray Taylor about Taylor’s new book, Hidden Nature: Wild Southern Caves. Beyond describing the majesty of the TAG region’s wild caves and the concurrent joys and dangers of exploring them, Taylor examines their scientific importance, their relationship to clean water, and their uncertain future—and also the culture and personalities of TAG caving.
This is the pilot for a series of online modules that explore current best practices in cave conservation and restoration. Expanding from the philosophies and techniques described in our peer-reviewed volume, Cave Conservation and Restoration (Hildreth-Werker and Werker, NSS 2006),each module teaches minimum-impact methods focused on specific tasks to mitigate anthropogenic impacts in caves.
An Introduction to the Cave Conservation and Management Section
In 1960, cavers checked out a small cave on a ranch near San Antonio, Texas. Other cavers had been there before, but they pushed harder, and made the discovery of some of the largest, best decorated cave passages in Texas. A few years later it opened as a show cave and is well known and very popular. No new passages had been discovered in the cave since the late 1960s.
A special introduction to the gypsum karst landscapes of the Black Hills of South Dakota. This presentation highlights a recent set of trips into a couple gypsum sinkholes that were discovered when a neighborhood in Black Hawk, SD, started to fall into some rapidly forming karstic collapses. The presentation details the work of the Paha Sapa Grotto to explore and then map the sinkholes and caverns in this neighborhood.
Project cavers know, after years of mapping any cave system, it develops a life and mind of its own. A small group called Karst Terrain Explorations (KTE) has spent decades pushing the Roppel Cave–Logsdon River dive lead, following up on the ground work provided by our predecessors—our goal being to gather volumes of data and then systematically pass it forward to the next group involved.
Decades of human visitation into caves have caused moderate to severe impacts. We have been actively working on restoration and formation repairs in Carlsbad Caverns, and Lechuguilla, Cottonwood, Virgin, Hidden, Black, and Little Manhole Caves. I will be summarizing those efforts, as well as introducing some of my new inventions to facilitate formation repairs.
In 1988 I published Sea Caves of Santa Cruz Island, with descriptions of 113 caves of which over 100 had been mapped by members of the California Sea Cave Survey. They were of impressive length and the combined surveys totaled over 5 miles of cave! Some were never completed due to their orientation towards the most prevailing swell conditions and some we had simply missed .
By Ferdinando Didonna The use of natural and artificial hypogea as illegal landfills is unfortunately a widespread phenomenon. Damage caused to the karst environment and to deep water resources is incalculable. Puliamo il Buio (Clean Up the Dark) initiative of the Italian Speleological Society (SSI), now in its 15th edition, aims to bring a light into the dark and report …
In the early 1970s, Caves of Montana author Newell Campbell began exploration of the caves of Green Fork and the 6 square mile alpine karst plateau. Forty-eight years later, exploration is ongoing and new discoveries are made on every trip.
This presentation shows how conservation education can be integrated with traditional school subjects to create a program that meets the needs of teachers and students, with the added benefit of inspiring students to care about cave conservation. Additionally, this presentation features video footage of in-person programs conducted just prior to the pandemic, providing an inside view of the conservation education work done by CaveSim.
Through most of 2019, as typical of recent years, Snowy River (SR) was flooded, preventing exploration due to closed sumps. By late summer it began drying out to produce a refreshed hard calcite floor and October was deemed the optimal time for exploration. A year earlier, a climb above SR had broken out into a new upper passage, Gold Rush. The first October 2019 expedition continued at one of the significant unexplored leads at Tetlin Junction.
White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a deadly introduced fungal disease that has led to deaths of millions of North American bats since it was first documented in 2006. Since this first documentation, the deadly disease has spread rapidly in all directions and has caused a precipitous decline in North American cavernicolous bat populations…
It has been 40 years since the destruction of May 18, 1980. In the years since, a natural laboratory has sprung forth from the devastation and Mount St. Helens is now one of the most intensively studied volcanoes on Earth. Episodic unrest in the crater between 1980 and 1986 brought forth a new series of lava domes that grew to 350 meters tall. Another period of unrest started in September 2004, when a second lava-dome-building eruption initiated in the crater.
During a 2019 survey expedition in the Mystery Room section of Carlsbad Caverns, a team noted a couple of technical leads above the Mabels Room drop, measured nearby ceiling windows topping out well over a hundred feet high, and figured these might all connect. In March 2020, an expedition pushed these leads; made the hoped-for connections; surveyed nearly 900 feet of ledges, domes, and passages; and reached 192 feet above their starting point on the Mystery Room floor.
Exploration and geology of Vermont’s newest longest cave, with 3300 feet of surveyed passage, located in the Taconic Mountain Range in Southern Vermont.
For several decades, the Cave Research Foundation has worked with the National Park Service (NPS) on the Buffalo National River in northern Arkansas to document, monitor, and map its over 750 cave and karst features. The Buffalo National River, established in 1972, is popular for camping, hiking, and floating along its 135 miles of unrestricted waterways with picturesque bluff lines. This presentation serves as a 5 year update of this project since the 2015 NSS Convention presentation, discussing progress, data and training, educational activities, and developed efficiencies
A proposed treatment for white-nose syndrome (WNS) involves the application of UV‑C light to cave surfaces to kill the causative agent of WNS, the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans. Our goal is to determine if such treatment will have detrimental effects on native cave bacteria due to its high energy level output. Partnering with the NPS, we cultured bacteria from caves in Lava Beds National Monument (California), Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve, and Mammoth Cave National Park (Kentucky).
Situated in the Caribbean Sea, Isla de Mona presents an opportunity in perseverance in the exploration efforts of the cavers who step on the island. Locating caves in the north cliff of Isla de Mona requires constant planification. Each corner of the island embodies its particularity and adaptation is a must for the cavers exploring it. Here, we will be addressing the initiative, achievements, and the learning experiences of our cave exploration team on the north cliff of Mona since 2016.
Before tunnel and trail construction began at Kartchner Caverns State Park, a development team spent years monitoring the cave’s natural microclimate and inhabitants, while also researching other tour caves. This research culminated in a careful development process, using baseline data and lessons learned from other tour caves to minimize impact. One aspect of this process was the future mitigation of lint build-up, both along tour trails and deeper in the cave. The development team put systems in place in order to prevent a large-scale lint problem: systems to prevent lint, to manage lint, and to clean up lint.