In 1971,the State of Iowa took out a 3-year lease on the land above Coldwater Cave on the farm of Ken and Wanda Flatland. For that time period, the state conducted and sponsored a number of different research projects in the cave. One of the objectives of the research was to determine the feasibility of developing Coldwater Cave. The recommendations at the end of that study were that the cave not be developed. In January of 1975, the lease expired and the land, entrance shaft, plus "improvements", reverted to the landowners. The State offered to seal the shaft if the Flatlands requested it. Fortunately the owners wished to continue to offer access to this truly unique cave.
Some of the founding members of the Coldwater Cave Project, top l-r Jeff Plache, Brad Olson, Bruce Coulter, Doc Lewis, bottom l-r Pete DeVries, Mark Rohn, Pat Kambesis, Mike Bounk (circa 1977),
In 1976, the Rock River Grotto of the NSS began the Coldwater Cave Project. This was envisioned to be a long-term project that was open to cavers who were interested in participating in exploration and survey activities in Coldwater Cave. The purpose of the project was to provide a cohesive structure in which to collect and process survey data, to support research and other activities, and to promote camaraderie among cavers. Since 1976, the Project has consistently met these goals while welcoming cave explorers from Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Arkansas, South Dakota and Kentucky to participate in project activities.
The Coldwater Cave Project is an official project of the NSS. In addition to exploration and survey, project work includes resources inventory, photo documentation and photo monitoring, restoration/conservation activities, and support of research in the main system and other related caves in the area.
The Coldwater Cave Project is open to all cavers who are interested in participating in the ongoing survey and study of Coldwater Cave and other caves in the county. For more information contact Coldwater Cave Project.
Project trips occur on the third weekend of every month. Work conducted includes survey/inventory, photodocumentation, restoration, and research support.
Off weekend trips are conducted for water sampling, dye tracing and dye receptor retrieval.
Mike Lace: Project Coordinator; surveyor, cartographer.
Larry Welch: Data management, computer cartography, experienced surveyor; has been dealing with data management for the Coldwater Project since 1992.
Chris Beck: Conservation/Restoration Coordinator. Extensive experience with cave restoration work in Carlsbad Caverns, Lechuguilla Cave, Mammoth Cave and many other caves in Iowa and Illinois.
Scott Dankof: Project photographer. Has been providing photo archives of the project since 1986.
Doug Schmuecker: Rescue logistics. Coordinates rescue training for the project.
John Lovaas: Science Support Coordinator. Coordinates and implements data and sample collection for science-related projects that require manpower and project resources Currently is collecting and replacing dye receptors for a basin delineation project, providing support in water sample collection for a water quality study, and collecting data for a cave water temperature study.
Coldwater Project Participants
R. C. Schroeder
copyright 2003 (C) Coldwater Cave Project