There are new parking rules for Whiting's Neck Cave in Berkeley County, WV. Parking near the cave is a serious problem and all cavers should comply with the request to not park on private land or along the road near the cave. Failure to do so may result in mad landowners and police ticketing.
An agreement has been worked out with the Potomac Valley Audubon Society (PVAS) to extend the use of the Yankauer Nature Preserve parking lot to cavers (the lot is located on Newton School Road - turn right at 4-way stop, 5/10ths of a mile south on Newton School). The Yankauer lot is graveled and presents an easier site for the off-loading of equipment and suiting-up of clothing. In summer, the Audubon folks place a portable toilet at the parking lot, too. There are, in addition, some exciting things that are happening at the Yankauer preserve that cavers -- as outdoor people interested in the environment -- might want to pick up on, as well.
Update about parking at Whiting's Neck, Berkeley County, WV
PVAS is happy to accommodate cavers as much as possible but parking large buses at their nature preserve causes major problem for the organization. The preserve's parking lot is not very large, and such vehicles take up a great amount of space. Therefore the PVAS would greatly appreciate it if cavers would not use large buses for transportation to the site or, if they must use such vehicles, make arrangements for the drivers to park them at some more suitable location for the day, such as somewhere in the nearby city of Martinsburg.
Mike Dore, the owner of Scott Hollow, has had ongoing problems with cavers not abiding by his access policies. In particular, some non-NSS members were not getting the required advanced permission and certain NSS cavers have not been filling out the required waivers. Mike and Pat Dore are very committed to keeping Scott Hollow completely accessible to NSS members, but they have had to change the rules because of the infractions.
Therefore as of October 1, 2003, the house over the cave entrance has been kept locked. Only NSS cavers are now allowed in Scott Hollow, and they must see Mike or Pat before going to the cave. Mike regrets having to take this step, but it should not really affect most of us. Mike can be contacted at Mike@WildCaving.com for more info.
This just underscores what many of us know and practice: know the access policies of the caves you visit, and follow them. It is the only way to protect access to the caves we love.
See the Links Page for links to closed cave listings. Thanks.
Bowden Cave (Randolph County, WV) recently suffered a collapse in the middle of the cave and the cave was closed for some time due to this collapse. However, the cave is now open ...
From Bob Hoke ...
The front section of Bowden Cave is again open to cavers.
Much of the front section of the cave was closed due to an unstable collapse just upstream from the Water Course in 2002. The Forest Service, which owns most of the cave, closed their part of the cave for safety reasons until a barricade could be constructed to keep fools from digging at the collapse.
The barricade was completed in October 13 and the front section of the cave is again open. The barricade is located just upstream from the Water Course and the collapse is visible (but inaccessible) from it.
The barricade was constructed with the help of a large group of cavers who hauled over 1,500 pounds of steel to the site 1,800 feet into the cave. They also hauled welding equipment, generators, tools, etc. to the site. The barricade is a standard BCI design that is bat friendly and it is very impressive.
The rear section of the cave and the rear entrances are currently still closed, but they will be reopened as soon as the forest service installs a warning sign near the collapse telling visitors arriving from the rear entrances that the collapse is unstable and that there is an impassable barricade immediately on the other side of it. The sign should be installed in the next few weeks, but in the meantime only the front section of the cave is open.
The private land containing the main Bowden entrance and the parking area has been leased by a hunting club and is now posted. However, the club president has said that the posting does not apply to the cave entrance or parking area, and that visitation to the cave is not affected.
I'll let everyone know as soon as I hear that the back entrances are open again.
Please let me know if you have questions. Also, please feel free to disseminate this message within the caving community.
The owner of Russell Lawrence Domepit (aka Fieldhouse Cave) in Pendleton County, West Virginia, asks cavers to abide by two new conditions of access to the cave: announcing your presence and parking in a new location.
Before entering and after leaving the cave visitors are to stop by Mr. Harper's residence to inform him of their arrival and departure. If no one answers the door then leave a note with the names in your party and the time when you expect to depart the premises.
Parking along Germany Valley road and crossing the fence to the cave is no longer permissible. Instead, cavers should turn onto the gravel road 1/4 mile south of the "usual" parking area and proceed 200 feet to a power line cut through the trees. Turn left into the cut and follow it to a large sinkhole. Park by the sinkhole and follow the flagged trail to the cave. This parking area is superior to the original because it accommodates more vehicles, offers greater privacy for changing clothes, and avoids damage to Mr. Harpers new wire fence.
A map to the new parking area and Mr. Harper's residence may be found at the PSC Web Site
Due to the inconsiderate actions of some certain cavers, access to Lemon Hole (Westmoreland County, PA) will now have to be made via the Bear Cave parking lot.
Until further notice, please consider J4 Cave and Sharer Cave (Centre County, PA) closed. Do not attempt to access these caves or bother the owners.
MacGillivray Freeman Films, one of the largest and well-known IMAX filmmakers, has made a new film on cave exploration. This unique film follows Nancy Aulenbach and Dr. Hazel Barton, both directors of the NSS, as they explore several caves from the ice caves of Greenland to the underwater caves of the Yucatan Peninsula to a cave in the canyon walls of the Little Colorado River Gorge in Arizona.
Journey into Amazing Caves is now showing in IMAX Theaters around the country. For more information on this exciting film and to find out when it will open in your area, check out the Amazing Caves Web Site
Journey into Amazing Caves is also now available on VHS and DVD at Amazon.com and other places for about $20. Check them out and buy your copy today!