History

In the middle to late 1960s, a loose-knit group of high school-age cavers started doing a lot of project caving together in southern Indiana. Some of the members lived in that part of the state, while others commuted back and forth from Purdue and other out of state locations after they went off to college or were serving in the military. Although they never applied for charter as an internal organization of the NSS, they did incorporate and register with the State of Indiana for a brief time period in the mid to late 1970s. After that, the group continued on as it had before then, although with a smaller core, right up and through to the present time.

In 2008, long-time ISS caver Gary Roberson wrote and published an extensive account of the group’s history, focusing on their efforts to explore and survey more than 15 miles in Binkley Cave, making it Indiana’s longest at more than 22 miles. One of the cavers who helped take photos for the book fell in love with the cave and general area, and after realizing not only how much the ISS had already done, but upon visualizing how much more there remained to do and with support of the older ISS members, he started to organize continued exploration and mapping. It didn’t take long before other cavers got just as interested and committed as he had, and the project to continue working in the caves of the sinkhole plain south of Corydon has been going strong nearly every single Saturday for over two years, with several cavers driving more than two hours each way to participate. Not only has the project gotten the attention of many different cavers, but the senior ISS members who are still around have also been involved with the efforts in various ways, including Gary, who regularly participates on mapping trips. As a result, nearly 10 miles of passage have been added in the caves of the system, with hopes of connecting them, which would result in a combined system of at least 30 miles of mapped passage, and likely more.

In summary, the ISS has existed for many years, in spite of not having official status. In the process of carrying on more than 50 years of their effort, the newer participants in the project believed it was only fitting that the group become official once again. This isn’t just for the fun of it, since a lot has changed in 50 years. It is of greater importance now more than ever to be an organized, recognized group. In efforts to conserve and preserve the Binkley Cave system and the land over it, one of the long-term goals of the ISS is property acquisition, or at the very least, entrance management in the form of leases. Additionally, much scientific study needs done, and the possibility of an organization versus a loose-knit group of individuals being awarded grant money is far greater.

Prepared 6 June 2011 by Dave Everton NSS25891RE (CM-FE)