May 12-14, at the Beetle Rock Education Center in Sequoia National Park
The Western Region of the National Speleological Society is pleased to present Speleo-Ed 2017 at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
near Three Rivers, California from May 12 to 14. This year’s offerings focus on a wide range of cave science across many disciplines.
With many new speakers and lots of field trips, this seminar should offer something for everyone. We hope you can join us!
Speleo-Ed 2017 is presented with the cooperation and assistance of:
About the Seminar
Speleo-Ed seminars are an outstanding way to learn more about cave exploration and science while enjoying a fun and social weekend with friends from across the western states. This year’s seminar is roughly divided into two tracks - Physical Sciences and Canyoneering Techniques. With the gracious assistance of many volunteers and organizations, we have worked together to deliver a great spring weekend to kick off your summer caving season.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
These parks are home to giants: immense mountains, deep canyons, and huge trees. Thanks to their huge elevational range, 1,500’ to 14,491’, these parks protect stunningly diverse habitats. The Generals Highway climbs over 5000 feet from chaparral and oak-studded foothills to the awe-inspiring sequoia groves. From there, trails lead to the high-alpine wilderness which makes up most of these parks. Beneath the surface lie over 200 fascinating caverns.
Camping and Accommodations
With the gracious assistance of Sequoia National Park, we have reserved space in Lodgepole
Campground for the 2017 Speleo-Ed seminar. Recent warm weather has definitely helped clear the heavy snow from this past season! There is ample space
at each site, so cavers will be asked to share sites depending on attendance. We will have pit toilets available in the campground, but no shower facilities.
Depending on how warm it gets, there is a possibility of wet or muddy conditions so you may want to bring a ground tarp for your tent. Be prepared for cool or cold evening temperatures.
All camping and park entrance fees are included in your registration. Sessions will be held at the Beetle Rock Education Center - about a 10-minute drive from the campground. Please carpool from the campground to the sessions! Parking will be limited at the education center. There is no electrical power at the campground. Day use rates are available but do not include camping, Sunday’s field trips or evening activities.
The nearest hotels are located in Three Rivers, California. Click here for a list of establishments.
All campers must be registered participants in the Speleo-Ed seminar.
Meal Plan & NCRC
The National Cave Rescue Commission will provide an optional meal plan on Saturday. The plan includes breakfast, lunch and
dinner on Saturday only. This optional event helps support the many programs the NCRC offers to provide cave rescue training
in the western states. All meals will be served at Beetle Rock Education Center.
Western Region Business Meeting
The executive board of the Western Region will hold a business meeting on Saturday evening following dinner.
Physical & Life Sciences Track
From speleology to canyoneering to fine arts, Speleo-Ed 2017 promises to offer something for everyone!
Several new presenters will share information from the National Park Service, the US Geological Survey, UC California
at Merced, the Western Cave Conservancy and more.
Click here for a full schedule!
All sessions will be held at Beetle Rock Education Center in the park.
Our sessions this year include:
Redwood Canyon & Lilburn Cave Project Update
Growth Without Compromise: How to Build a Grotto
Introduction to Bat Biology & White Nose Syndrome Update
Ritual Cave Use in the American Southwest
Underground Cave Gardens of Rapa Nui, Easter Island
Western Cave Conservancy Update;
Things You Can Catch in the Dark
Exploring Paleo Earthquake Signals from Caves
It’s All One Cave: Mapping the World’s Densest Network of Cave Passages in Quintana Roo
Best Practices in Speleothem Sampling for Paleoclimatology Studies
The Visual Saliency of Cave Formations and its Implication for Cave Archeology
Video: Sir David Attenborough narrates the story of Rodrigo Medellin - "The Bat Man of Mexico"!
All day Saturday
The Canyoneering for Cavers track will offer an in-depth look at the similarities and differences of the techniques used in canyon
exploring. Classes and exercises will be specifically designed for cavers. Morning sessions will be held on the outside deck at
Beetle Rock Education Center.
Elements of this track include:
Canyoneering methods & best practices.
Skills practice at nearby outdoor area. Vertical gear and helmet required. Boots/approach shoes with grippy soles strongly preferred.
A skills practice will be held on Saturday afternoon. Bring your vertical gear!
Depending on interest and availability, a full day trip may be offered on Sunday.
See below for a full list of gear needed for the Sunday field trip. The trip is capped at 8 participants. Sign-ups will be available at Beetle Rock on Saturday.
On Saturday afternoon, NSS caver Elizabeth Rousseau will lead this course on how to paint natural scenes in watercolor.
This session will be held on the back deck at Beetle Rock on Saturday afternoon followed by an in-cave workshop on
Sunday. Art materials will be provided.
From the intersection of Highway 99 and California 198 near Visalia, head east on CA-198 toward the town of Three Rivers (about 35 miles). Stay on 198 through Three Rivers until you come to the park entrance station. When you arrive at the entrance station, please identify yourself as a participant in the Speleo-Ed seminar at Beetlerock Education Center. Speleo-Ed participants will be registered as park volunteers upon arrival at Lodgepole Campground allowing free access to the parks for this event.
From the entrance station, continue up the Generals Highway. Lodgepole Campground is located 2 miles from the Giant Forest sequoia grove and 21 miles from the Sequoia National Park entrance. The campground is located 1/4 mile from Lodgepole village along the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River.
It is very important that we minimize our footprint in the campground. At this early part of the summer season, not all camping spaces will be open. Cavers will be asked to share camp sites!
Our campsites during Speleo-Ed 2017 are marked in green. If you camp outside of these
areas, you will be subject to park fees. Click on the image for a larger map.
Massive snow fall from this past winter will cause the Kaweah River to be running swiftly during our seminar. The cold water can pose a significant danger to children and pets. Please be careful.
Field Trips & Cave Trips
Several trips have been arranged for Friday and Sunday to accommodate all skill levels. To sign up for a trip, please contact Julie Booker at firstname.lastname@example.org or (540) 922-2093. Sign-up sheets will be available at registration. If you would like to lead a trip, please contact the registration table on your arrival. Currently, the park does not allow any gear that has been used in any caves in White Nose Syndrome states. Please plan ahead if you intend to join any cave trips during the seminar.
When you Arrive
If you arrive at the park before midnight, please stop at the Beetle Rock Education Center to register before proceeding to the campground. The building is located across the street from the Giant Forest Museum. On GPS units, it is found at 47050 Generals Highway, Three Rivers, CA. Lodgepole Campground is located another 10 minutes past the education center. Registration will open at 6pm on Friday, May 12. If you arrive Saturday morning, please come to the Beetle Rock Education Center before setting up your campsite. ALL campers must be registered participants in the Speleo-Ed seminar. Limited RV parking may be available, but there are no utility hook-ups. Please plan ahead for your own needs.
What to Bring
Lodgepole Campground offers semi-improved camping facilities. Standard gear should suffice. A ground tarp under your tent would be a good idea. Sierra weather can be cold during this time of year, but daytime averages are typically pleasant. Be prepared for possible inclement weather. Each campsite features a fire pit, but there is no wood collection in the area. The Lodgepole Village store is located 1/4 mile away from the campground.
One of our new offerings this year is a canyoneering training course geared to cavers. This track will offer an in-depth look at the similarities and differences of the techniques used in canyon exploring. Classes and exercises will be specifically designed for cavers. Morning sessions will be held on the outside deck at Beetle Rock Education Center. If you wish to participate in the afternoon field trip, bring your vertical gear!
Gear needed for Sunday's field trip: vertical gear (harness, cowstails, descender), helmet, whistle, boots/approach shoes with grippy soles, full wetsuit (3mm minimum, 5mm preferred), neoprene socks, gloves (pref. not leather), pack with drybag (most cave packs ok), food and water. Plan on everything brought being splashed/briefly submerged (think rafting trip + vertical gear). Trip 5-10 hours, participants capped at 8. Sign up with trip leaders on Saturday.
Nature Journaling Course
NSS caver Elizabeth Rousseau is offering this course to teach cavers how to paint natural scenes in watercolor. This session will be held on the back deck at Beetle Rock on Saturday afternoon followed by an in-cave workshop on Sunday. Art materials will be provided.
For more information, please download the registration flyer by clicking