Jump to content

Geocaching & Caves


Renegade Knight
Followers 0

Recommended Posts

At this point in my young geocaching career I've run into about 5 cavers representing grotto clubs.

 

The ratio of helpful and civil to other than that is 2 out of 5. Each was from a different group so that's my same grotto club ratio.

 

Where does this fit into geocaching? Simple due to the sheer attitude and condensation and flat out rudeness I'm not convinced that Grotto clubs should not be shoe ins when and if the BLM needs a steward for a cave. It seems that a random gathering of citizens could do a better job even in complete ignorance than those 3 (there are good clubs) out of 5 that I've crossed paths with in a negative way.

 

The BLM is having their land using planning process right now. When their are public meetings Geocachers should show up to show their support for geocacing and other BLM land uses (we all have different interests) as well as to promote that any group that would be a non governmental steward of a resource of interest to us all meet minimum standards. The standards would include things that would rule out those three grotto clubs for being representives since they are an embarassment to my as a citizen of the nation that happens to own the land.

 

This is no easy task. The forum is now open to digress.

 

=====================

Wherever you go there you are.

Link to comment

You didn't indicate what help you were seeking from the grottos. Caves are very fragile and easily damaged by inexperienced people (experienced ones too.) Grottos therefore are against anyone entering for purposes other than caving per se. It probably would not be appropriate to create cave traffic in the name of geocaching. They do have a case.

Link to comment

My experiences have been very similar to Renegade Knight's. I've only spoken to 2 different people, each from a different grotto, and I would add eliteist to the list. I've been caving enough to be safe for both myself, and the cave environment. The grotto representatives were not at all interested in doing anything but telling me not to enter a cave.

Link to comment

A few years ago, I placed a cache in a cave in Colorado. The cave was well know and was heavily vandalized. It was a perfect place for a cave cache. When the cache was discovered by the local caving grotto, it was removed from the cave and I got many nasty e-mails from grotto members. I ran into the wrong people, They were very closed minded and reacted very poorly to the new sport of Geocaching. The sport was something they had never encountered and I think it's potential worried them. They demanded that caches should never be placed in caves. The opposite happened, 14 cave caches have been placed in the state since, and some were placed just to spite the grotto that demanded caches not be placed in caves.

 

A few months ago, I ran into a different grotto and a different group of cavers, that were able to explain much better why they were opposed to some of the cave caches I had placed. I can now see their point of veiw. I can not agree with the radical cavers that demand caches not be placed in caves, but this is not a black and white issue and the best answer is compromise.

 

This new group of cavers is having a annual get together for cavers in the area, and I have posted the event as a cache. they have invited any Geocachers who would like to show up. I think this is a big step in the right direction. The event cache is on the Colorado cache page and is being held on July 4-6.

 

Keep Caching and Caving

Vader

Link to comment

I would like to personally and publicily thank Vader for posting our party on his cache page. About 25 cavers showed up to this very remote (and hot) part of our state for yet another annual MADRAT party. Even though no Geocachers showed up, there will be more opertunities in the future for all of us to get together. Next years party will be held in the San Juan Mountain Range in SW corner of our state. Maybe I can talk Vader into posting it again next year as another event cache. Our theme this year was "cave and let cave". Thanks again Vader. I'll see you this fall for some more Williams Canyon cave trips.

Cave Softly,

Dan

Proud member of the Colorado Madrats

Link to comment

Yes, we had geocaching on our agienda. Due to it falling on 4th of July weekend and the remoteness of our party location, we had a small attendance this year. GPS units were in use all weekend. I also lead a rafting adventure down the green river, so caving and cacheing were not the only planned activitys. Free beer, and a good time was had by all.

 

I should clarify the the MADRATS are not a NSS grotto, or NSS Club, but a large group of cavers that like to get together once a year and search a new area of the state for caves. We have no dues to pay or political positions within our group or gatherings. We also let anyone attend our parties if they are 21 and older or bring their parents along. Yes, we usually have a keg of beer and a raffle to help pay for it. It's been a long running, traditional party here in Colorado. I am glad to see Vader join our club and post our event. Shoot, we even invite nuts to come party with us. Especially Cachew Nuts. Hopefully you can make it to the party next year!

 

I hope there isn't a problem here. We have several MADRATS that are also active geocachers. Remember "cave and let cave"

 

Member: Colorado MADRATS

Link to comment

I hear that alot , and to clear things up, I have never seen a GPS that will work inside a cave either. Usually the coordinates posted, are for a location just outside the cave entrance, Sometimes maps of the cave can be found at the location, and they will lead you inside the cave to the cache.

 

Vader

Link to comment

As a cacher and caver I hear both points of view here.

 

I think that just because a cave has been trashed doesn't make it OK to continue the practice of leading people to the site (and it's not necessarily the cachers but those watching them and wondering where they're going).

 

I'm sure I'm not the first to say this but, I think the old caver practice of "security through obscurity" is in its dying days. The Internet put the nail in the coffin for that.

 

So, what we need is some informative non-propogandized material for cachers to review so they can decide, on their own, whether it is a good idea to place their cache in or around a cave entrance.

 

Individual choice is the only way it is going to work.

 

It shouldn't be hard to explain that 99% of the time, it is a bad idea. Let the 1% slide.

Link to comment

Ahhhh! Another RK caving troll. Almost missed this one from being in the field for a few weeks.

 

RK just can't stand anyone knowing something he doesn't.

 

Actually, the 'security through obscurity' model is still working pretty well. There are 460 caves in my county, and another 391 in the county next door, and I've only managed to locate a handful working with other cavers. To know where they all are, you have to resort to a lot of old written records.

 

I've seen very few that have much information about them on the Internet. In fact, there are some laws prohibiting the public disclosure of certain caves.

 

I used to be pro-geocaching around caves, but the attitudes of a few people here (e.g. RK) have put me firmly in the anti-geocaching around caves camp. They figure they have some God-given right to know where the caves are and to do whatever they feel like in them. They're also extremely arrogant and ignorant about it, stating that caves will easily renew themselves if damaged, and that they have no value if access is restricted.

 

Even in this thread RK feels any random group of ignorant people would know more about cave management than caving grottos. What he really wants is someone who will let him have his way. He cares nothing about caves...only his selfish wants and desires.

 

I am not suprised RK has gotten the reaction he has from other cavers. His attitude is an immediate turn-off.

 

I know it's probably just a few bad apples, but it has really soured me on trying to bring the two hobbies together.

 

I'm still working locally for some level of mutual understanding between the two communities.

 

George

 

[This message was edited by nincehelser on July 13, 2003 at 11:29 PM.]

 

[This message was edited by nincehelser on July 13, 2003 at 11:44 PM.]

Link to comment

quote:
Originally posted by Crazy Aaron:

As a cacher and caver I hear both points of view here.

 

I think that just because a cave has been trashed doesn't make it OK to continue the practice of leading people to the site (and it's not necessarily the cachers but those watching them and wondering where they're going).

 

I'm sure I'm not the first to say this but, I think the old caver practice of "security through obscurity" is in its dying days. The Internet put the nail in the coffin for that.

 

So, what we need is some informative non-propogandized material for cachers to review so they can decide, on their own, whether it is a good idea to place their cache in or around a cave entrance.

 

Individual choice is the only way it is going to work.

 

It shouldn't be hard to explain that 99% of the time, it is a bad idea. Let the 1% slide.


 

A most reasoned and reasonable response. I am on the one hand concerned about caves which need protecting, while on the other, not a big fan of those who feel it's their "God given right" to tell everyone else they can't use caves for low impact activities. I believe there is a middle ground where a certain number of caves could be used for such activities as ours, while others are protected fully through non-disclosure of their location. I know it is a full time job sometimes to educate people as to how to care for and protect caves but that's the best thing you can do. Otherwise it's just another group of proprietary individuals deciding they know best and basically being pi$$y about it. I am also not entirely convinced Geocaching is appropriate in caves in so far as the placement of physical, traditional caches. However, virtuals might be used in these instances if the "It's my cave and you're too stupid to use it" mentality could be overcome.

 

These are not the first people we've run into who are trying to "protect" areas, the NPS comes to mind as well....lol. Hopefully a middle ground can be found where we can compromise.

 

By the way, nincehelser, my personal opinion would be that an attack on RK in such a personal manner is inappropriate in this forum. Simply stating your position in opposition to his would have been adequate. I have to wonder, why are you trying to find all those caves in your county if they are better off in obscurity? Seems like a contradiction. Just curious on that point.

 

texasgeocaching_sm.gif

"Trade up, trade even, or don't trade!!!" My philosophy of life.

Link to comment

quote:
Originally posted by Breaktrack:

By the way, nincehelser, my personal opinion would be that an attack on RK in such a personal manner is inappropriate in this forum. Simply stating your position in opposition to his would have been adequate. I have to wonder, why are you trying to find all those caves in your county if they are better off in obscurity? Seems like a contradiction. Just curious on that point.


 

You bet it's an attack on RK. No bones about that. He's a fool who deserves it. He's been attacking cavers on the forums lately because they won't play with him, and I'm fed up with it.

 

I'm heavily involved in cave conservation...restoring local caves that have been vandalized, cleaning up the garbage people throw in them, and helping prevent developers from paving them over.

 

I've set up a couple of virtuals for local caves that have protection to stop people from going in. I see no problem in that. However, having the general public entering wild caves is another matter.

 

Not many are prepared for the possible hazards...pits, carbon dioxide, and flash flooding are just a few.

 

Then there's the conservation aspect of damaging speleothems or wildlife. Disturbing bats during their hibernation may well sentence them to death.

 

It's not that hard to get involved in caving. Local grottos are more than happy to show you the ropes and get you started responsibly and safely. But if you approach them with an attitude like RK, they won't want to do much with you.

 

George

 

[This message was edited by nincehelser on July 14, 2003 at 07:19 AM.]

 

[This message was edited by nincehelser on July 14, 2003 at 07:22 AM.]

Link to comment

quote:
Originally posted by nincehelser:

quote:
Originally posted by Breaktrack:

By the way, nincehelser, my personal opinion would be that an attack on RK in such a personal manner is inappropriate in this forum. Simply stating your position in opposition to his would have been adequate. I have to wonder, why are you trying to find all those caves in your county if they are better off in obscurity? Seems like a contradiction. Just curious on that point.


 

You bet it's an attack on RK. No bones about that. He's a fool who deserves it. He's been attacking cavers on the forums lately because they won't play with him, and I'm fed up with it.

 

I'm heavily involved in cave conservation...restoring local caves that have been vandalized, cleaning up the garbage people throw in them, and helping prevent developers from paving them over.

 

I've set up a couple of virtuals for local caves that have protection to stop people from going in. I see no problem in that. However, having the general public entering wild caves is another matter.

 

Not many are prepared for the possible hazards...pits, carbon dioxide, and flash flooding are just a few.

 

Then there's the conservation aspect of damaging speleothems or wildlife. Disturbing bats during their hibernation may well sentence them to death.

 

It's not that hard to get involved in caving. Local grottos are more than happy to show you the ropes and get you started responsibly and safely. But if you approach them with an attitude like RK, they won't want to do much with you.

 

George

 

[This message was edited by nincehelser on July 14, 2003 at 07:19 AM.]

 

[This message was edited by nincehelser on July 14, 2003 at 07:22 AM.]


 

Fair enough I guess. I have more questions and concerns but I will send you an e-mail concerning those.

 

Thanks.

 

texasgeocaching_sm.gif

"Trade up, trade even, or don't trade!!!" My philosophy of life.

Link to comment

Every special interest group has its own set of elitists that look down their noses at mere mortals. Caving is no exception.

 

Caves have many unique feature, but so do many ecosystems. Caves are no more 'delicate' or susceptible to disturbance than other areas. Each has the their own level of tolerance. To claim caves are so delicate only the priviliged few are allowed access is the height of arrogance and eco-centrism.

 

all sensitive areas deserve care by all users. Geocaching in caves is no exception, and no more unique than geocaches in bogs, wilderness areas, or old growth forests.

 

===========================================================

"The time has come" the Walrus said "to speak of many things; of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and Kings".

Link to comment

quote:
Originally posted by Dave54:

Caves have many unique feature, but so do many ecosystems. Caves are no more 'delicate' or susceptible to disturbance than other areas. Each has the their own level of tolerance. To claim caves are so delicate only the priviliged few are allowed access is the height of arrogance and eco-centrism.


 

Not true. Some caves have very fragile formations that will break quite easily. Unlike plant life, they will take thousands of years to recover, if at all.

 

Waking bats at the wrong time can result in a large die-off. Some of these bats (and other cave critters) are protected by federal law and stiff penalties.

 

Some caves are so sensitive that they are generally off-limits to cavers. Unless you have some scientific reason to be there, you aren't authorized. Cavers in general don't have the free access to caves some people think they have. It takes a lot of hard work by cavers to get and maintain access to caves.

 

George

Link to comment

nincehelser now that you have arrived this thread is complete.

 

Here is where my take comes from. I'll keep it short. We humans will be here on this planet until sometime between now and forever. Add that with the fact that things should do the most good for the most people over the longest amount of time and you have the basis for a philosophy.

 

Geocaching seem to do a lot of good for a lot of people. It's relatively benign and any problems can be quickly corrected. It is by nature open to everyone who is willing to get out and give it a try. The skills involved run the gamut of what people like to do, because of the sheer diversity of people who like this hobby.

 

Caving as portrayed by about half the grotto clubs and cavers I've met does not do the most good for the most people. It actually does a lot of good for a very few people. That in and of itself doesn't bother me at all. We all have hobbies and we are free to pursue them to the best of our abilities.

 

Where the clash happens is when cavers say "Caves are not compatible with Geocaching and so no caches should be near caves" Now you have a small group of people running interference on a larger group.

 

I need to digress a bit. The skills that make a good caver can be learned outside of the caving world. Rock Climbing, Scuba, Leave No trace, etc. There are no doubt a few final things that can only be learned in a cave. But for the most part I can all by myself learn what I need to know, start my own grotto club, go forth and cave crawl. In a short time my caving buddies and I would be able to keep adding to our reasonable limits when it comes to our abilities. I'll grant it would be quicker, and easier to join an existing grotto and learn from their experience, but the point is I have skills of my own that come into play.

 

This digression applies to everyone including geocachers. The upshot is that I don't see anything exclusive about caves that would rule out a geocacher, or a random hiker checking out the scenery. We all have our limits and we all have to learn to live within them. It's also true that we all have a responsibility to protect these resources for other responsible people.

 

Other responsible people is a key point. My experience has been that half the cavers would deny everyone but card carrying members of a sanctioned grotto from visiting caves. The other half seem to realize that there is a balance between doing the most good for the most people and protecting a resource to the point that nobody can enjoy it.

 

Giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming that you are moderate in your views, I really do not want to risk grotto clubs such as would have members like you any stewardship of any caves on public lands. I'd rather take my chances with an underpaid BLM/Forest Service Intern. Lets hope that most cavers are reasonable and it's only vocal ones such as yourself who are over-represented.

Link to comment

As usual, you just don't understand the situation, RK.

 

In this area, local caves are very important with regards to having a supply of clean drinking water. I think maintaining that clean supply is of importance to more people than geocaching. I've mentioned this before, but you've ignored it.

 

Caves are habitat to untold numbers of bats, who eat even more untold numbers of mosquitoes. Now think about the West Nile Virus. Still see no value?

 

I could go on, but I won't. It's clear that you won't study or consider the role of caves and the environment. You just see them as holes in the ground for your enjoyment.

 

Fortunately, you seem to be in a very small minority. These threads have generated several productive off-line discussions by people who understand the issues. We're also getting a few more non-geocaching cavers in the act, which is good.

 

Strangely enough, you're the only one who seems to be advocating a people's uprising to wrest the caves from the selfish cavers. Will this uprising occur before or after you take over the archaeologists who are also hiding things from you? Please let me know so I can adjust my schedule accordingly.

 

The only thing I can suggest to you is that you go out and learn about caves and caving through local cavers. They aren't the elitist snobs you make them out to be.

 

When you go, check your attitude at the door...maybe you'll learn something.

 

George

Link to comment

quote:
Originally posted by Renegade Knight:

 

Here is where my take comes from. I'll keep it short. We humans will be here on this planet until sometime between now and forever. Add that with the fact that things should do the most good for the most people over the longest amount of time and you have the basis for a philosophy.

 

Geocaching seem to do a lot of good for a lot of people. It's relatively benign and any problems can be quickly corrected...

 

<snipped>

 

Caving as portrayed by about half the grotto clubs and cavers I've met does not do the most good for the most people...


 

Consider this: caves are irreplacable finite resources. The caving philosophy stated in the opening line applies here. Cavers generally are trying to save caves for everyone, including the infinite humans in the future. Generating traffic at sensitive caves is NOT benign and generates PERMANENT damage.

 

According to the stated philosophy, in a long-term view and considering the entire population as well as wildlife, the caving philosophy does the most good for the entire ecosystem while promoting increased traffic to sensitive caves offers temporary entertainment to a limited few and permanently may eliminate healthy benefits, future entertainment and scientific advancement for all time.

 

quote:

Where the clash happens is when cavers say "Caves are not compatible with Geocaching and so no caches should be near caves"


 

Those are R.K.'s words--NOT those of any caving community or group I belong to or have heard.

 

The NSS encourages virtual caches at caves and doesn't allow physical caches on it's private lands. As for any other caves, that's obviously up to that property owner.

 

Realize also that caves generally fall into one of three categories. Sensitive caves are protected, and even people like me who've caved my ENTIRE life (was even bottle-fed in a cave) can not access them. Sometimes these caves are gated, but given the extreme cost, often secrecy is used. Trashed/party caves have the remains of broken formations, broken beer bottles and graffiti... Typically well-packed trails lead to their entrances. Then the majority of private caves in the U.S., not advertised publicly, supporting wildlife and the local water-table, sometimes with beautiful formations that took thousands upon thousands of years to "grow". Amazingly fragile, the slightest touch leaves oil residues preventing future growth. A slightly greater touch breaks it entirely, thereby ruining forever.

 

Talking about skills and responsibility--one aspect of responsibility is proper management for the benefit of all, not just the tiny geocaching community (as compared to the huge caving community that is trying to shelter caves for the benefit of ALL humans/wildlife/etc.).

 

Just trying to share some more info and my views,

 

Randy

Link to comment

Randy and George are dead on with their attitude towards this and their knowledge of the facts.

 

As I mentioned above, 99% of the time it is wrong (for various reasons) to place a geocache in a cave or even near a cave entrance.

 

Renegade Knight, you don't seem to care about reasons. You just want to do whatever you desire and have no care for the impact or safety of those you lead towards that destination.

 

Your comments that "The upshot is that I don't see anything exclusive about caves that would rule out a geocacher" are wrong.

Link to comment

I rather liked Randy's post. George has reached a point of rubbing me wrong no matter what he says and vice versa.

 

However, don't go assuming. I really don't think Caves are any worse than all the other ways to kill yourself out there. It's up to you to know your limits. Not me, nor would I presume to know your skill level in an area where I don't have the skills myself. At best I am a caving neophyte and will remain that way. On the other hand I'm sure as hell not going to preach to the world that you are not capable of exploring anything without me as a guide. I'm not going to prejudge a persons ability to know their limits. From my standpoint you take your life in your own hands every time you manage to wake up. If you survive the morning trip to the bathroom you are off to a good start because that’s where you are most likely to get hurt.

 

Now the other topic is who should be allowed to visit a cave and when. That's another can of worms.

 

Let me make the next can of worms easy for you

 

1) Caves are sensitive environments. I agree

2) Vandals do a lot of harm. I agree.

3) Caves can be hazardous. I agree.

4) Caves are areas of amazing beauty. I agree.

 

I won't argue that caves are more special than other rare landforms though. The world is an amazing amalgamation of beautiful areas worth seeing. All are special, some are more sensitive than others. The issue is one of the balance of extremes. “Nobody visits the cave to provide 100% protection vs. Everybody visits and ruins it for all time in a very short time” Neither one does much good.

 

Help me out here. What exactly is wrong about a geocacher in a cave? Is it that they are in the cave to begin with? Is it that they don’t have a caving license? Is it that you are unsure of their personal ability to cope with the cave environment? Is it that they are not accompanied by an experienced caver? Is it that they might touch something and have an impact, more than a caver might have? Is it that caves must be preserved (for who exactly and when, see the preservation dilemma in the prior paraphrase). Perhaps it’s not the geocacher, maybe it’s the vandal that gives us all a problem? Is it the risk of a vandal?

 

Then again, why should cavers be allowed in caves? It’s not an issue of safety; like everyone else they are supposed to know their limits and the risks. True this being their hobby they are more aware (and more able to push their limits) of safety issues. It’s certainly not impact because while minimal there still is an impact.

 

What I think is that cavers want to go to caves for the same reason as geocachers. They are beautiful and there is just something about them. End of story. So no I don’t see anything exclusive to a cave and cavers that isn’t there for a geocacher. The balance between full access and perfect preservation not withstanding. The point of this thread is really that the balance pushed by the cavers I’ve met is much closer to the “No access” Extreme than I’d like to see. When you make it “No access except for cavers, and as guided by cavers” well that’s just salt in the wound so to speak. Read the forums on caves and you should get an idea of what I mean. It may not be reality as pointed out by Randy, but by and large it’s what’s perceived. In the world of politics its not the truth that matters it’s what people think is the truth.

 

Oh, and in my work I've added managed to help add two areas to the historical inventory of things to watch so they can be preserved. Don't go giving me the "I just want to do whathever the hell I want" crap. I just don't want to be punished because of the riff raff out there. I truly doubt anyone who has participated in this thread is the Riff Raff that causes these kinds of issues to begin with. Not Even George.

Link to comment

The admin. at Geocaching.com, just refused to post a virtual cache at a cave out here in Colorado. It was suggested to me that I place a physical cache, just outside the cave entrance.

Why would they refuse to post a cache. Was it because of the fact it was a virtual cache or because it was a cave cache. Out here, it is getting difficult to maintain some of these cave caches, as it seems the forest service has really targeted a lot of them for removal.

 

This brings me to a question I have. I was reminded today, while reading in the NSS news that it is illegal to post the coordinates for certain caves that have been nominated as significant, because they get protection under the Federal Cave Resource protection act of 1988. I have tried repeatedly to get a list of these caves as I don't want to post a Geocache in one of them and therefore break a law by publishing the coordinates. Maybe there is a caver out there that can shed some light on this. Is anyone familiar with this law??

Vader

Link to comment

Vader-

Regarding your virtual, I've done the same for two cave caches. The first was rejected, but when I explained it was in a cave preserve and that a physical can't/shouldn't be placed, it was approved.

 

For the second, I put in a note in the cache description addressed to the approver saying that a physical cache wasn't appropriate. He went and approved that cache right away, removed my note in the cache description, and sent me a note thanking me for giving him the extra info.

 

So, it sounds like if you explain to the approver up front as to why it should be a virtual, they'll go with it on the first try. It seems they are concerned about it being a virtual...I don't think they care at all that it is a cave, which is a shame.

 

My personal position on virtual cave caches is this: If the cave has protection (e.g. a gate), and is in an area surrounded by people (e.g. a city or suburban part), then a virtual is OK. I figure this kind of cache is a good chance to educate the public on the value of caves.

 

However, if the cave is unprotected, then no cache of any type is approriate. The same goes for rock art and other things of archaelogical interest. If they're unprotected, keep quite about them.

 

George

Link to comment

Interesting topic. I think that it has been established that a cave potentially represents a much more fragile ecosystem than that of your typical parkland or forestland. Forests seem a little more general in terms of adaptation while caves are quite a bit more specialized environments, much like reef systems.

 

But I don't think what has been made clear (at least in so far as it has been asked at least twice) is how the impact of the typical caver differs from the impact of the geocacher. If the ecosystem is that fragile, after all, then why are the cavers going into the caves?

 

To me the obvious conclusion comes from an extension to my first assertion that the ecosystem of the cave is more specialized. In a similar manner the Geocacher is a more generalized explorer of the outdoors. A caver is a specialist and as such is more familiar with the nature of cave systems, thier impact on the ecosystem, appropriate times to be in the caves, etc.

 

So, by placing a cache in a cave you have the potential to draw the generalist explorer to a specialized environment and thus have a more significant negative impact than would otherwise have occured.

 

So, why not place spelunker only caches? Well, geocaching seems to be a generalist kind of activity and so limiting caches to very specific groups like this would probably begin to head down a path that would be unattractive to many... but it would seem also that for folks that explore caves, the cave is itself the cache.

 

-=-=-=-=-=-

GPS_Brian

=-=-=-=-=-=

Link to comment

quote:
Originally posted by GPS_Brian:

I don't think what has been made clear (at least in so far as it has been asked at least twice) is how the impact of the typical caver differs from the impact of the geocacher. If the ecosystem is that fragile, after all, then why are the cavers going into the caves?


 

Many of the caves around here are off-limits even to cavers unless there is a scientific reason to go in.

 

If you want to go in these caves, you have to piggy back your visit when certain things need to be done. Like measuring the cave critter populations, humidity, temp, and other vital statistics. This is done periodically to determine if we're doing something that is badly impacting the cave environment.

 

Contrary to the belief of some, cavers don't have free access to all the caves out there.

 

George

Link to comment

quote:
Originally posted by GPS_Brian:

But I don't think what has been made clear (at least in so far as it has been asked at least twice) is how the impact of the typical caver differs from the impact of the geocacher. If the ecosystem is that fragile, after all, then why are the cavers going into the caves?


 

We don't.

 

There's the simple answer! The more complex answer is, it depends. It depends on the cave and the reason. Recreational caving and clean-up trips only tend to take place in caves that are already abused and can't be returned to a natural state. Caves that have pristine formations only tend to be visited to survey them, and travel is typically limited to certain areas, as simply tracking mud on shoes alters the growth. Caves with sensitive wildlife and other issues are off-limits to pretty much everyone as mentioned by Nincehelser. You are right in terms of specialization, I hadn't looked at it that way but it's true; however as I've just shown, there are varying degrees. Which is why I've repeatedly pointed out that already abused caves could have caches placed amongst the beer bottles... It's the other extreme that are dealt with so sensitively.

 

A good example in recreational caving might be bats. I was taught as a child not to shine a light on them too long (might warm them and wake them), not to get too close, and not to breath in their direction--the concept being that a bat woken from hibernation in late fall won't find insects to eat and might starve to death! Pretty heavy responsibility. Certainly not something I'd want put on the shoulders of people who feed the geese at local parks vitamin enriched bread, which causes their skeleton's to out-grow their muscles such that they're in constant pain.

 

You're analogy to a reef system is wonderfully accurate.

 

You should have seen the huge uproar when rock-climbers started climbing in caves a few years ago! That bordered on warfare!

 

Thanks to all for sharing and understanding,

 

Randy

 

PS: We should probably compile a FAQ, as we've been repeating this process every six months or so!

Link to comment

quote:
Originally posted by Vader:

....This brings me to a question I have. I was reminded today, while reading in the NSS news that it is illegal to post the coordinates for certain caves that have been nominated as significant, because they get protection under the Federal Cave Resource protection act of 1988. I have tried repeatedly to get a list of these caves as I don't want to post a Geocache in one of them and therefore break a law by publishing the coordinates. Maybe there is a caver out there that can shed some light on this. Is anyone familiar with this law??

Vader


 

I'm not familiar with the caves or the law. But it does sound like a "catch 22" - "posting of location information is illegal; we can't tell you which locations not to post, because that would be illegal. But if you post those locations, you will be arrested..."

 

"...clear as mud?"

Link to comment

I woudn't want to test this law and see if it can be enforced, however some day I might do it on acident by posting the wrong cave location. I know of a cave location that was posted, and from what I here this cave had already been nominated as significant. It was on the Geocaching sight for about a year and, The individual was never approched by law enforcment. The location of this cave is also show on many different types of maps, including a USGS 7.5 minute topo and a Forest Service map. Does this mean the government is going to procecute the government for giving out the locations of significant caves.

WHAT ??????

Link to comment

quote:
Originally posted by Vader:

I woudn't want to test this law and see if it can be enforced, however some day I might do it on acident by posting the wrong cave location. I know of a cave location that was posted, and from what I here this cave had already been nominated as significant. It was on the Geocaching sight for about a year and, The individual was never approched by law enforcment. The location of this cave is also show on many different types of maps, including a USGS 7.5 minute topo and a Forest Service map. Does this mean the government is going to prosecute the government for giving out the locations of significant caves.

WHAT ??????


Link to comment

I think the idea of virtuals and maybe even physical caches may not be that bad in a cave. That stated, I dont feel that ANYONE should enter a cave without the proper training and experience. While I have done a small amount of caving I am in no way prepared to enter a cave without an experienced caver (& I have plenty of experience with rope and confined space rescue situations).

So here is you problem. You post a cache inside a cave and state that only experienced cavers should attempt the cache. What happens? All of the sudden everyone is an experienced caver. How many times do you see caches that have safety warnings posted only to read the logs that state the finder ignored them or did not read the cache page at all.

There a a few great locations I would love to hide caches in but never will for this reason. I dont want to evac someone that could not read and follow a warning in a cache discription.

Link to comment

I respect the opinions of search rescue dog, however I must say I firmly believe you can't save people from themselves. I spent some time in a county SAR team and idiots are everywhere. People will do things they are not qualified to do, just because someone tells them not to. They will find trouble some other place if not here at this web site. I don't think Those who are qualified to do these tougher caches should be penalized because of it. That said, Warnings sould be included in the cache descriptions, such as 3 light sources, dress for conditions, don't push it and get yourself in troulbe, ect.

 

A Man ( or Woman ) as got to know his limitations. Clint Eastwood

Link to comment

quote:
Originally posted by StarshipTrooper:

But it does sound like a "catch 22" - "posting of location information is illegal; we can't tell you which locations not to post, because that would be illegal. But if you post those locations, you will be arrested..."

 

"...clear as mud?"


 

It is a catch 22 of sorts. First of all secrecy only buys time to solve the real problem. The real problem is how to protect the resouce and still allow people to appreciate it's beauty. Population pressure, word of mouth, a growing population of geocachers not afraid to hike, hunters, and the sprawl of vacation homes will all make caves easier to access.

 

It's not just the internet that will make cave locations known. Today at work I figured out a technique that would make finding potential caves over a large area fairly simple. Cheap is another story entirly.

 

In an ironic twist of fate I found out that it is even possible that should one of my projects find a cave and I'd have to help put it on the 'secret' list and I would be involved in the process of determining if it should be listed or not.

 

That list so far as I know is secret from cavers also.

Link to comment

quote:
Originally posted by Renegade Knight:

quote:
Originally posted by StarshipTrooper:

But it does sound like a "catch 22" - "posting of location information is illegal; we can't tell you which locations not to post, because that would be illegal. But if you post those locations, you will be arrested..."

 

"...clear as mud?"


<snipped for brevity>

In an ironic twist of fate I found out that it is even possible that should one of my projects find a cave and I'd have to help put it on the 'secret' list and I would be involved in the process of determining if it should be listed or not.


 

See my post: http://ubbx.Groundspeak.com/6/ubb.x?a=tpc&s=5726007311&f=4016058331&m=63660227

 

(It immediately got sucked off-topic, but stands alone...)

 

As you can see, there isn't a "secret" list within the Department of the Interior, but rather a specific individual in each land management agency.

 

When you seek permission to place a cache, that person, responsible for the caves, would be the one who'd inform you that it can't be published. Since NPS lands already prohibit caches, the issue is mostly moot.

 

To expand on the info, anyone can submit nominations, evaluations will be carried out in consultation w/reps of the caving community, and denied nominations can be resubmitted as appropriate...

 

R.K., you certainly would NOT "have to help put it on the 'secret' list". You're employers might want you to nominate a cave as such, were it in the Federal lands covered by the act, and were it determined to have criteria appropriate to warrant the distinction, all of which would take a lot of time, study, and exploration to learn. The chances of discovering new caves in the U.S. are relatively slim anyways.

 

Although I don't have them to reference, I can tell you that the implementing rules are in Part 37, Subtitle A, Title 43 of Public Law 100 - 691, "The Federal Cave Resource Protection Act of 1988".

 

I know the State of CT has all the statutes online, anyone know of such for the Feds?

 

Enjoy,

 

Randy

 

PS: R.K., if you truely have discovered a method to reliably discover cave's in karst, such would be widely welcomed for use in Central and South America, where new cave discoveries are currently most active.

Link to comment
Originally posted by RJFerret:

As you can see, there isn't a "secret" list within the Department of the Interior, but rather a specific individual in each land management agency.

 

There really is a list. These things have to be inventoried. You are right in that there is a key person but they don't just memorize this stuff and eat the paper. My experience is specific to archiological sites, however you do have to know what's protected. We have to get information for each specific project and we only get information on anything in the immediate vicintiy. We have staff who's job it is to interface with these people so project managers such as my self will not become 'armed' with this knowledge. I don't make the rules up. I just live with them.

 

R.K., you certainly would NOT "have to help put it on the 'secret' list". You're employers might want you to nominate a cave as such, were it in the Federal lands covered by the act, and were it determined to have criteria appropriate to warrant the distinction, all of which would take a lot of time, study, and exploration to learn. The chances of discovering new caves in the U.S. are relatively slim anyways.

 

My employers would require me to arrange to have the cave assessed for whether it's significant. Once that assessment is made then it would be up to others to list the cave or not. Once my team knows it would qualify as significant even if nobody chases down the application we would then mitigate any damgage my project might cause the cave or avoid the cave entirely. If the cave proved to be unworthy we might just bulldoze it but the odds of that are as slim as actually finding a cave on one of my projects.

 

I know the State of CT has all the statutes online, anyone know of such for the Feds?

 

I tried to find one and came up with several sites that list the code of federal regulations is online. The CFR is how agencies implement the law it's not the law itself even though regulations end up having the force of law. I had no luck finding the law itself.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Followers 0
×
×
  • Create New...