Fall 2009 NRO Logo

Welcome to the Fall 2009 NRO
Hosted by the Central Connecticut Grotto
 At Camp St. Michael in Pittsfield MA
Friday, Sept. 11 Sunday, Sept. 13, 2009

Introduction

This NRO, held in Pittsfield Massachusetts, places you to right in the middle of the Berkshire Mountain’s finest caves. The campsite is within a 10 minutes drive of Lanesborough, the heart of Berkshire caving. It is also within a 30 minutes drive of the caves in West Stockbridge, Sheffield, and Alford.  Berkshire cave diggers have worked very hard over the past couple of years trying to find caves within a two hours drive of Hartford and have finally succeeded.
 
This year we will be holding all events at Camp St. Michael in Pittsfield Ma. This is the first time an NRO has been hosted here and the first time the cave on their property has been open for caving in many years. Campground features include a children’s playground, basketball courts, a small pond for swimming and kayaking, and a cave. Yes, there is cave on the property and you may set up your tent directly above it. Known as Great Radium Springs Cave, this cave drains a swamp to the north and feeds Hawthorne pond. No full map exists of the cave, but estimates put it at 750 feet in length. More details are in the cave section of the NRO guidebook. If you are new to caving, check out this guide to caving gear Caving Checklist.

There are a large number of non-caving activities in the Pittsfield area that many of you may check out. I highly recommend that everyone visit balance rock, only minutes from the campground. There is great hiking in Pittsfield state forest and great beer and food at the Pittsfield Brew Pub. In addition to fishing and kayaking on Hawthorne pond, I recommend visiting lake Onota and Pontoosuc, only minutes away. More info at: Lanesborough, MA -- Interesting links}

Registration

This is the registration form, which you may print, fill out, and bring with you.  Fall 2009 NRO Registration Form.pdf Of course we will have these at the NRO.
Everyone will be asked to sign a liability release. Please read and sign it in advance, as this will speed up registration NRO Field Event Waiver.pdf.

Location

Camp St. Michael in Pittsfield MA   The address is 1074 Cascade Street., Pittsfield, MA 01201

Detailed directions: NRO Fall 2009 Directions.pdf
Links to the Google map view of the site and area around it: Google Map of NRO site small scale  and  Google Map of NRO site large scale

Parking:
The entrance gate will be open for entire weekend: pull into the gravel driveway and cross the small bridge. Just inside the entrance there is a small parking area in front of the registration building. If you arrive late during the night, please park here (not on the grass) and move your vehicle when daylight comes. There is a larger grass parking area on the right side of the registration building. Please do your best to make most efficient use of the space available. RV and camper parking is available, check with registration for assistance.
 
Tent Sites and Setup:
Tents may be set up anywhere within the camp property (other than in parking areas).  I advise seeking high ground in the likely event that it rains.  Cars are not allowed beyond the parking area, so tents and other stuff will have to be carried a few feet to a few hundred feet, depending on where you camp. The best sites for scenic and shady camping and privacy are on the far side of the pond, and back in the wood near the cave insurgences. The grass field is closest to the meeting and food areas. I recommend walking the entire campground before choosing a spot.

Please come to the registration area when you arrive or as soon as you are set up.

Fees

Adult Basic NRO Fee: $4 
Youth Basic NRO Fee: $3

Campground Fees:
Adult Camping (ages 15 and older): $5 per adult per night  ($10 for entire NRO weekend)
Child Camping (ages 6-14) $3 per child per night ($6 for entire NRO weekend)
Adult / Child day pass $3 per person per day (valid only if not camping overnight)
 
Other:
Guidebook: $3
Pint Glass: $10 (Fundraiser for Merlin’s Cave Purchase)

Payment accepted in cash and check (make checks out to "Central Conn Grotto")

Meals

Saturday Breakfast: $5
Eggs, pancakes, bacon, sausage, a juice, coffee and tea.
 
Saturday Dinner: $7
Hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken patties, and veggie burgers with beans, potato salad, macaroni salad, sour krout
fixings will be; lettuce, tomato, onion, bacon, cheese, mayo, ketchup, relish, buns
plus coffee, bug juice, soda (cans)
 
Sunday Breakfast: $5
Eggs, pancakes, bacon, sausage, a juice, coffee and tea.

Camp Fires

Camp fires are allowed in the fire pit between the registration building and the pond, and in the fire pit located back in the forest.  We plan to stock both spots with wood for the weekend.  You also may burn any dead wood found on the property.  Do not cut anything alive down.
 
Bathrooms
Men’s and Women’s bathrooms are located on either side of the main building.  Sinks and toilets with running water are available for our use.  Note, we are responsible for cleaning these facilities.  Showers are not available.  Use the pond or the hose located at the gear decontamination area.

 Caves Open for NRO

(See Registration for Details, some are fully open, some are lead trips only)
1)    Masshole: Lead Trips only*
2)    Jug End Karst (Bat’s Den, Crystal Pool)
3)    Coonhound Karst (Shepard’s Cave) Lead Trips Only*
4)    Devil’s Den*
5)    Great Radium Springs*
6)    Bakers Quarry (and area)
7)    Coon Hollow (and area)
8)    Convention Cave: Lead trips only*
9)    McMaster’s Cave
10)  Skeleton Cave: Lead Trips only
11)  Pettibone Cave: Lead Trips only*
12)  Bentley’s Cave
13)  Snow Hole and Williams Caves
*Open only for this NRO weekend
Are you leading a trip? If so please, print the sign up form complete it for your trip NRO Trip Signup.pdf

Northeastern Cave Conservancy (NCC) Auction

Please plan on attending the NRO auction, with proceeds going to the goals and projects of the NCC. Please donate items to the auction, preferably items of interest to most cavers, and of value. In other words, nice stuff, either new or used. Check out the NCC at  http://www.necaveconservancy.org

Saturday Evening Presentation on Berkshire Caves

The Saturday night program will be a slide show and commentary on caves the Berkshires with emphasis on recent explorations.

WNS and Decontamination

As most of you are aware, the Northeast’s bat population has been severely reduced by the White Nose Syndrome (WNS). We ask that all of you follow the decontamination procedures described later in this guidebook (and listed on www.necaveconservancy.org). We will have the NCC decon recommendations posted at registration along with a decontamination station. In addition, we ask that if you encounter bats in any of the caves this weekend to avoid close contact with them. If any bats are found on your trip, please report the sightings to registration.

Spare Caving Gear Wanted for Beginners

Do you have extra caving gear that others can borrow? If so, please bring the gear to this NRO where is may be loaned to beginner cavers who don't have gear. We will do our best to keep track of the items using a sign-out sheet.

Raffle to Fund Cave Purchases and Management

Raffle tickets will be sold to raise funds for local cave purchases and management. Items and gift certificates have been donated by businesses, including Dion Snowshoes  and B&C Wunderwear. Raffle tickets will be sold from Friday evening until the drawing on Sunday morning.

Schedule of Events

Friday, Sept 11
noon Campground opens for setup
2 pm Campground opens for attendees
4 pm Registration opens
   
Saturday, Sept 12
7:30 am-9:00 am Breakfast by Steve Janesky
All day Caving
All day Vendors
All day Vertical Practice
6:30 pm-8:00 pm Dinner by the CCG
7:30 pm NCC auction and 50/50
9:00 pm Presentation by the Rockeaters
 
Sunday, Sept 13
7:00 am-8:30 am Breakfast by Steve Janesky
Morning Vendors
9:00 am Raffle
9:10 am NRO business meeting
All Day Caving
3:00 pm Campground closes

Camp St. Michaels Pittsfield site plan

Camp St. Michaels Pittsfield site plan