Carlsbad Caverns Queens Chamber CFRPs 1000th Repair

The 1000th Repair 📷 Devra Heyer
The 1000th Repair 📷 Devra Heyer

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Connect with the Cave Formation Repair Project on Facebook to meet more volunteers and see photos from recent trips.

The Cave Formation Repair Project (CFRP) is an all volunteer project that had begun with a stalagmite repair in Black Cave, Lincoln National Forest, NM on June 2, 2018 by Michael C. Mansur, CFRP Leader and Founder. As of April 9, 2024, the CFRP has made repairs to 1018 broken formations, and has volunteered 4462.5 in cave hours. The participant volunteers have traveled 263,205.5 miles round trip from home to work on the Project.

Mike has invented many of the devices that the team uses to support broken formations like stalactites soda straws, draperies, and helictites. Some of the tools he has invented and named are the Stalactijack, Speleoclamp, Speleocup, Speleorack, and Soda Straw Stand to name a few. Details on how to make these devices can be found in Mike’s new book The Cave Formation Repair Project: Restoring the Beauty of America’s Great Caves.

Interview with Mike Mansur about the Cave Formation Repair Project’s 1,000th formation repair

The repair process involves drilling holes in many of the broken formations to insert stainless steel all-threads which reinforce epoxied joints. So far, the CFRP has made repairs to broken cave formations in 6 states, including NM, TX, CO, NV, SD, and WV.

Mike has taught Cave Formation Repair Workshops in Great Basin NP, Carlsbad Caverns NP, the 2022 NSS Convention in Rapid City, SD, and the 2023 NSS Convention in Elkins, WV. He will teach a Speleothem Repair Workshop in this year’s NSS Convention in Sewanee, TN.

The Third Edition of The Cave Formation Repair Project: Restoring the Beauty of America’s Great Caves, which is sold at the NSS Bookstore, Speleobooks, and at the Carlsbad Caverns Visitor Center Bookstore, will be released on April 20, 2024. Cavers can learn more in the NSS Webinar, “Preservation, Restoration, and Repair: Projects and Considerations in the Southwest”, which features Mike as a moderator and speaker.

The 1000th formation repair trip was a special one that Mike originally scheduled in January, 2024 because he had hip replacement surgery that month and needed time to recover. The CFRP formation repair count at that time was 987, so he knew the CFRP was close enough for the trip to be scheduled on that date. Mike had also scheduled a CFRP trip to the Music Room for the team participants to hopefully make enough repairs to get to 999. That day, the team easily reached that number. In fact, they had to stop at 999 early in the afternoon, so as not to hit 1000. Jo Ann Garcia, Volunteer Coordinator for the Park, had planned a wonderful reception for us in the Visitor Center at 11:00AM. The team had to get in to the Queen’s Chamber, where we had selected for the milestone repair, by 9:00AM. They then needed to set up, make the repairs and pack up before the first Ranger led visitor tour came in at 10:30AM.

Carlsbad Caverns is a premier National Park, which is visited by over a million people each year, is a must see for cavers and non-cavers. Mike selected Carlsbad Caverns as the location for the CFRP’s 1000th repair because the team has repaired over 165 broken formation repairs in the Caverns, as well as other caves located within the Park: Spider, Lake, and Slaughter Canyon Cave.

The team for the 1000th repair was pre-selected from the first folks who replied to Mike’s request for volunteers. Mike had also asked for volunteers to work on the 1001, 1002, 1003, 1004 repairs. There were a number of folks who wanted to be present at this event. All but three of the volunteers present had participated on previous CFRP trips: the new park intern, Em Michaels, and Sharon’s parents who had not been on a previous CFRP trip but had a great time sharing the moment with the team.

The team had gathered in the Visitor Center at 8:30AM, and headed into the cave at 8:50AM. They had got everything set up in the work area by 9:20AM. Mike, Alison, Vanessa, Jesse, Sharon, Minori began setting up the Stalactijack and mixing the epoxy. Mike had asked John Cochran to do all the video and some photos for the event, and he finished setting up as the team was beginning the 1000th repair. They had finished the repair by 9:45AM, and then switched teams. Devra, Joe, Dan, and LP then completed repairs # 1001, 1002, 1003, and 1004.

Everyone was able to take photos of the finished repair. Thanks to Ryan Palmer (NPS) for being there to unlock the gates for the team and being part of the event. The team also welcomes Intern Em Michael to the Park.

John had conducted an interview of Mike before we left the room. The team members all had fun taking photos with one another there.

The team then went through the King’s Palace and stopped on the trail next to the famous Brad Pitt Stalactite repair that they had completed last summer so John could take a group photo.

The team then met back at the room in the Visitor Center where Jo Ann Garcia had set up with refreshments. She then presented all the participants with NPS Certificates of Appreciation for their Volunteers In the Park (VIP) work in the Park under the Cave Formation Repair Project. Thank you very much Jo Ann for this wonderful event!

After the presentations, Mike took a number of folks in the team on a tour of the cave starting at the natural entrance to show them areas of restoration and formation repairs that they had done in the past.

Mike would like to thank everyone for a wonderful and memorable day!

Releasing the Grip 📷 Alison Hafner

March 9, 2024 CFRP Team Roster: Mike Mansur (TL), Alison Hafner, Sharon Minnix, Vanessa Meschke, Jesse Adamczyk, John Cochran, Minori Yoshida, Dan Sullivan, LP Sullivan, Joe Bartusek, Devra Heyer, Michael Moffitt, Carrin Rich, Lois Manno, Ryan Palmer (NPS), Em Michaels (NPS)

Connect with the Cave Formation Repair Project on Facebook to meet more volunteers and see photos from recent trips.

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