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Western Region Business Minutes
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Western Region of the National Speleological Society Business Meeting
Berkeley Tuolumne Camp
September 15, 2001
Recorded by Peri Frantz

Accepted at the Western Regional Business Meeting, 29 Palms, California, October 19, 2002

Western Region Chair, Lynn Fielding called the meeting to order at 5:14 PM.

Regional Officers present: Lynn Fielding, Chair; Larry O’Brien, Vice Chair; Peri Frantz, Secretary Treasurer.

A grotto roll call was conducted, a quorum was established, and the number of votes allocated to each grotto was determined. Eight out of 10 grottos were present, with a total of 22 votes. Regional officers were present with a total of 3 votes.

  • Desert Dogs (DD) -
  • Diablo Grotto (DG) 3
  • Mother Lode Grotto (MLG) 3
  • San Diego Grotto (SDG) 3
  • San Francisco Bay Chapter (SFBC) 3
  • Shasta Area Grotto (SAG) 3
  • Southern California Grotto (So Cal) 3
  • Southern Oregon Grotto (SOG) 2
  • Stanislaus Grotto (Stan) 2
  • Willamette Valley Grotto (WVG) -
  • Officers (LF, LO, PF) 3

The minutes of the September 23, 2000 Meeting at Yenis Hante Camp, Greenhorn Mountain Park, were reviewed, and one issue was discussed. Cindy Heazlit stated that her offer to do a quarterly self rescue column was declined. Lynn Fielding stated that this was one of several offers which she acknowledged, but explicitly neither accepted nor declined. Larry O’Brien mentioned that Lynn was noting, without any specific comments, all suggestions made in regard to the California Caver. Lynn further stated that she will accept a self rescue column if Cindy submits it. The minutes of that meeting have been amended to reflect this differing interpretation of events.

The corrected minutes will be posted on the Western Region web site.

Treasurer’s Report
Peri Frantz presented the following statement of net worth. A more complete accounting was printed in the California Caver, issue Number 220, pages 11 - 13.

Net Worth by Fund 8/31/00 8/31/01 Change
General Account 8581.42 5719.06 -2862.36
WRTC 2884.92 2766.20 -118.72
WR Grant Fund 2239.52 2330.24 90.72
California Caver Endow. 1403.58 1516.67 113.09
Total Assets 15,109.44 12,332.17 2777.27

NSS Award Nominations
Gale Beach announced that the call for NSS award nominations for 2002 is in the September NSS News. She described each of the awards and encouraged Western Region members to make appropriate nominations. Gale is available to help anyone who has questions and she also mentioned that nominations are not carried forward from one year to the next, and need to be repeated annually.

Inter Grotto trips
Larry O’Brien suggested that, in order to promote cooperation and camaraderie between the grottos, each grotto should sponsor a few trips each year that are open to members of other grottos. These inter grotto trips can be advertised and coordinated via the region’s mailing list and the Western Region Calendar on the web site. The sponsoring grotto could impose size limits and other safety rules on these trips. It was noted that this is already happening on a small, informal scale. Larry encouraged the grottos to expand their inter grotto activities and actively promote them.

Grant Funds
There is currently $2,330.24 in the Grant Fund. No one has applied for either a science or conservation grant in the past several years. Larry O’Brien suggested if the region is not going to use these funds, they should be transferred to NSS Science Grant, where they cold be put to good use. A discussion of the Grant Fund rules followed.

The Mother Lode Grotto may be making a science grant application for a beetle project in the near future. There was also a suggestion that the Western Region suggest research or conservation projects that could be undertaken.

Since Roger Mortimer is returning to California later this year, and will be resuming responsibility for these funds, there was general consensus that no changes should be made at this time. This would give Roger a chance to promote the program again.

Region Events
There was a spirited discussion of the trade off between cost and facilities for the annual Western Region Meeting, and the need to increase participation in this event. This cost was spurred by the relatively high cost of this year’s meeting, and the question of whether we could make do with simpler accommodations. Major, and sometimes contradictory, points made during this discussion follow:

  • High fees discourage members from attending. Members who can not, or do not want to, spend a lot should be able to camp inexpensively and to cook their own meals at the meeting site.
  • The Berkeley Tuolumne Camp is worth what we pay for it, but the cost drives some people away. Do we really need a facility that offers all of the amenities of this camp?
  • Every Regional is different, and inflation is a fact of life which should be accepted.
  • Grottos should be encouraged to discuss this issue locally, and then conduct a poll to determine what the membership really wants.
  • Available resource constrain what facilities are available in any particular area.
  • A few members would like to return the to the 3 day Western Region Meeting. A poll taken last year, showed a preference for sticking with 2 day weekends, with possibly some Friday caving activities. Some subsequent e-mail seems to have favored 3 day weekends. If a 2 day weekend is used, the host grotto should avoid trying to cram 3 days of activities into it.
  • There is a need to increase participation by younger and potentially more active cavers.
  • Each grotto should make an oral report on its activities at the meeting.
  • The relationship between cost and attendance should be correlated. Currently, the Region does not have the data necessary to make such a correlation because the meetings are sponsored by the grottos. Peri Frantz will contact the grottos and try to assemble this data.
  • Date and location of the next Western Region Meeting should be determined by the current meeting if at all possible. Late scheduling leads to conflicts.
  • The business meeting should have prime scheduling during the week end, and should not be scheduled against other activities. In the past there have been complaints about morning meetings, which conflict with other activities. On the other hand, late afternoon meeting get squeezed when activities run longer than expected. Survey results favored afternoon meetings.
  • Do Region Meetings really have to include cave trips? It is hard to fit them into a 2 day weekend, but some members will not come if there is no caving available.
  • Should the profits from one Region Meeting be used to seed the next? There was general consensus to stay with the current system, where each grotto keeps the profit it makes.

The Willamette Valley Grotto is in the rotation for the net Regional. Lynn Fielding will contact them and find out if they want to host the next Western Region Meeting. The Dessert Dogs, and Diablo Grotto are next in line after Willamette Valley Grotto.

Election of Officers
There was a continuation of last year’s spirited discussion about how the Western Region conducts elections. The Constitution and By laws are unclear, and even contradictory. Unanswered questions include:

  • Does the Regional Council include just the grottos, or the grottos and the officers?
  • In current practice, both the grottos and the officers vote for the new officers. Should this vote be restricted to just the grottos?
  • Is the current system, which limits each grotto to 3 votes, fair to the larger grottos?
  • Should the Western Region use a system more like the NSS, in which the members vote for a Board of Governors, which in turn votes for the officers?
  • What does the term "member" mean? The Constitution states that "Membership in this organization shall be open to all active chapters (grottos) and individual members," however the voting procedures allocate votes to grottos but not individual members.
  • The current bylaws state that "(officers) will be elected by the members of the Western Region by ballot as prescribed by the Regional Council." In this context, what does "members" mean?

There was general consensus that we should continue with the current practice (that is Grottos and officers vote for the new officers) until such time as the Constitution and Bylaws have been rewritten for clarity and process. No specific plans were made for such a revision.

California Caver
San Francisco Bay Chapter moved, and Shasta Area Grotto seconded, that the California Caver should be published quarterly, the first issue to be mailed by February 15th, with other issues being published every three months thereafter on the 15th of the month.

The discussion of this issue centered on several issues:

  • Annual renewals usually trail by several months. It would be better to wait until March or April for the first issue of the year, in order to have a relatively complete roster.
  • Should a sparse issue, just to meet this requirement, be published if no material is available?
  • The California Caver is published by volunteers and it is unreasonable to impose rigid constraints on them.
  • It would be acceptable if some issues of the California Caver contained only reprints from grotto publications or previous issues of the California Caver.
For Against
Desert Dogs (DD) - - -
Diablo Grotto (DG) 3 3
Mother Lode Grotto (MLG) 3 3
San Diego Grotto (SDG) 3 3
San Francisco Bay Chapter (SFBC) 1 2 3
Shasta Area Grotto (SAG) 3 3
Southern California Grotto (So Cal) 3 3
Southern Oregon Grotto (SOG) 2 2
Stanislaus Grotto (Stan) 2 2
Willamette Valley Grotto (WVG) - - -
Officers (LF, LO, PF) 1 2 3
TOTAL 8 17 25

The motion failed.

Lynn Fielding asked that each grotto appoint a representative to provide material from their grotto’s newsletter for a Grotto Review column and she would like someone to help index the last several years of the California Caver.

Auction Proceeds
Larry O’Brien expressed concern that the California Caver Endowment Fund is building up and not being used. He suggested that the region do something else with this year’s auction proceeds.

San Diego moved, and San Francisco Bay Chapter seconded, that 10 percent of the 2001 auction proceeds be donated to the Lava Beds Research Center, in lieu of the usual donation to the California Caver Endowment.

For Against
Desert Dogs (DD) - - -
Diablo Grotto (DG) 3 3
Mother Lode Grotto (MLG) 3 3
San Diego Grotto (SDG) 3 3
San Francisco Bay Chapter (SFBC) 3 3
Shasta Area Grotto (SAG) 3 3
Southern California Grotto (So Cal) 1 2 3
Southern Oregon Grotto (SOG) 2 2
Stanislaus Grotto (Stan) 2 2
Willamette Valley Grotto (WVG) - - -
Officers (LF, LO, PF) 3 3
TOTAL 23 2 25

The motion passed (01-01) There was consensus that the allocation of auction proceeds could be decided each year.

Cindy Heazlit asserted that many of her posts to the region mailing list are being censored, and some announcements concerning the NCRC and related activities did not go out. Bart Rowlett stated that the log files for the list do not show any messages that were not forwarded. Bart says he will investigate further if Cindy will provide specific examples of posts which were not properly handled.

Western Region Training Committee and Western Region NCRC
The Western Region Training Commission would like to provide up to $1,000 of its own funds to assist NCRC Western Region Coordinator, Mark Bowers, in establishing a treasury for the NCRC Western Region. (Note: The Western Region Training Commission has the authority to make this donation without formal approval, however, due to the sum involved, they preferred to inform the Western Region of their intent, and to seek the region’s approval.)

This request was approved by acclimation. (01-02)

Thank You
The Western Region thanked the Stanislaus Grotto for putting on a most enjoyable Region Meeting. Business Meeting adjourned at 7:15 PM.


Western Region of the National Speleological Society Business Meeting Yenis Hante, CA Greenhorn Mountain Park 9/23/00
Recorded by Gale Beach
Typed by Peri Frantz

Minutes approved at the 9/15/01 Western Region Meeting, Berkeley Tuolome Camp.

(Note: In accordance with a motion passed during this meeting, all motions that passed have been numbered, using the form "00-01" to indicate the first motion passed in the year 2000. Motions, such as "Thank You"s and approval of minutes, that do not require action and have no ongoing impact will not be numbered.)

Regional Chair, Lynn Fielding called the meeting to order at 4:10 PM.

Regional Officers present: Lynn Fielding, Chair; Marianne Russo, Vice-Chair; Gale Beach held a written proxy for Secretary-Treasurer, Peri Frantz.

A grotto roll call was conducted, a quorum was established and the number of votes allocated to each grotto was determined. Nine grottos were present with a total of 24 votes. Regional officers were present with a total of 3 votes.

  • Desert Dogs (DD) 2
  • Diablo Grotto (DG) 3
  • Motherlode Grotto (MLG) 3
  • San Diego Grotto (SDG) 3
  • San Francisco Bay Chapter (SFBC) 3
  • Shasta Area Grotto SAG) 3
  • Southern California Grotto (SoCal) 3
  • Southern Oregon Grotto (SOG) 2
  • Stanislaus Grotto (Stan) 2
  • Willamette Valley Grotto (WVG) Absent
  • Officers (LF PF MR) 3

Minutes: Copies of the minutes of the 1999 business meeting were distributed. No corrections were made. Minutes were approved.

Finance: Copies of the financial statement covering the period from 9/1/99 to 8/31/00 were distributed. No questions were asked. Detailed statements are attached to these minutes.

Net Worth by Fund 8/31/99 8/31/00 Change
General Account 8558.80 8581.42 22.62
WRTC 2123.71 2884.92 761.21
WR Grant Fund 2151.22 2239.52 88.30
California Caver Endow. 1290.36 1403.58 113.22
Total Assets 14,124.09 15,109.44 985.35

NSS Award Nominations: Gale Beach announced that the Call for NSS award nominations for 2001 is in the September NSS News. She encouraged nominations and offered to help anyone who has questions.

Western Region Grant Fund:

  • Roger Mortimer, Chair of the Western Region Grant Fund, is moving out of the Region, so a new Grant Fund Chair is needed. Roger presented a job description which included the evaluation process and work volume.
  • It was recommended that the position be advertised in the California Caver.
  • Barbara Ruble offered to complete Roger’s term.
  • Next term opening can be published in the California Caver to solicit volunteers.

    Motion: Bryan Lavender moved to appoint Barbara Ruble to complete Roger Mortimer’s term as Grant Fund Chair. Bill Papke seconded.

    The motion passed unanimously. (00-02)

    Lava Beds Research Center: Following the 1999 annual meeting, the Region voted by mail, to donate $1000 towards the Lava Beds Research Center Fund (00-01). This donation has not been made yet, because The Southern California Grotto offered the following motion.

    Motion: The Southern California Grotto moved that the $1000 donation be given on a contingency basis (i.e. as a pledge). If the financial goal is reached, the check for $1000 will be sent. If the financial goal is not reached, no money is sent. San Diego seconded.

    The discussion focused on those who did not like "half-way" donations and those who were concerned that if not all the money was raised, the money will be used as the Park sees fit (through the Natural History Association) with no guarantee that any of the money would benefit the caves.

    The motion failed, 13 Yes, 14 No.

    Regional Web Page: Gale Beach reviewed the Western Region website recommendations accepted at the 1999 meeting, and requested the subject be re-discussed to confirm the recommendations.


  • Should we advertise the position(s) in the California Caver so it will be open to everyone?
  • Should website positions be appointed by the officers, as is done with the California Caver?
  • Should we assign the responsibility to a specific Western Region Officer?
  • What if the officer does not want to do the website?
  • Does the officer assigned have to be technical?
  • Whoever is responsible, the webmaster must be responsive.

    Consensus: Accountability is key. We need an officer to be responsible but that officer can delegate: the officer can assign and remove staff as appropriate, but the final responsibility lies with the officer.

    Motion: San Francisco moved that the Vice-Chair of the Western Region will be responsible for the Western Region website and content including appointment of staff as necessary.

    The motion passed unanimously. (00-03)

    2003 NSS Convention: Lynn Fielding announced that a planning meeting for the 2003 Convention would be held on Sunday, 9/24, at 9:00 AM and requested that all attend to share ideas.

    California Caver: Mailing List Problems:

  • The California Caver is not getting through to all subscribers.
  • The mailing list is incorrect
  • Payment goes to the Secretary/Treasurer but addresses go to Jim Lakner, who maintains the mailing list.

    Jim Lakner gave an overview of the process that covered editing, printing, collating, and mailing. Jim summarized grotto responsibility;

  • Pay dues on time
  • Send updated address lists on time
  • Send new subscribers addresses on time (i.e. right after they pay).
  • Send mailing information to him as well as the Secretary/Treasurer.

    Group Suggestions:

  • Standardize the process.
  • The individual subscriber is responsible for notifying the Secretary/Treasurer of a change of address.


  • Grottos need to get address lists for subscribers to the Secretary/Treasurer and to Jim by March 31st each year.

    Potential Issues

  • Bulk mail is not allowed to contain advertising. What constitutes advertising is at the discretion of the post office. We occasionally sell items like t-shirts which technically may not be legal.

    Publication Issues:

  • A handout of the publication history (1994-2000) was distributed. The current mailing volume is 275
  • In the past six years, there have been 15 issues, or between 2 and 3 per year. Regional policy requires four issues per year, and most people want four issues.
  • Lynn Fielding stated she intends to publish four issues a year.

    We need to encourage people to provide articles for the California Caver.

  • Grotto publications are in competition with regional publications. Should grottos rank regional publications higher than local, and send good stuff to the California Caver? Or should articles be published in both, since most regional subscribers will not have access to local publications.

    The printer contributes to the delay:

  • The California Caver is compiled using MS Word. The printer cannot handle scanned images, making it necessary to collect and process prints from contributors.

    Printing: A discussion focused on the best method of production, both short term and long term.

  • All agree we need a printer who can handle digital technology.
  • Should we use a copier or a printer? Printing usually does a better job with photographs, however some of the new copiers do very well.
  • The 2000 Regional Guidebook was done on a copier, with good quality at a reasonable price. Bernie Szulalski will assist Lynn in looking for a better printing option.
  • We will use a copier as an interim production method.


  • If a printed California Caver fails to contain a time-sensitive announcement, put in an additional sheet and collate/stuff the announcement with the Cal Caver mailing.
  • Do a historical issue.
  • Cindy Heazlit volunteered to do a quarterly self-rescue column. 9/15/01: Cindy stated that her offer to do a quarterly column was declined. Lynn stated that this was one of several offers which she acknowledged, but explicitly neither accepted nor declined. Lynn further stated that she will accept a self-resuce column if Cindy submits it.>
  • Establish a firm publication schedule. Print the schedule and related deadlines in the California Caver, and post the same information on the web.
  • Determine and use the easiest integrated format: e.g. MS Word/JPEG.
  • First issue of the year should carry all submission specifications.
  • Use reproduction until we get a good technical printer.
  • Appoint an additional editor.

    Motion: The Southern California Grotto Moved that a guest editor be appointed to publish one issue a year. This would be one of the four quarterly issues.

    The motion failed: 7 Yes; 20 No.

    Western Region Training Committee (WRTC) Bylaws: Motion: Mark Bowers moved to table the WRTC Bylaws to next year. (A copy of the tabled WRTC bylaws is appended to these minutes)

    The motion passed: 18 Yes, 9 No. (00-04)

    Elections: The Bylaws were read. Bylaw One states that "In voting at Regional Council Meetings, each Western Region officer is entitled to one vote, and each grotto is entitled to the number of votes it was entitled to at the most recent Congress of Grottos,". Bylaw Six states that "The Chair, Vice-Chair and Secretary-Treasurer will be elected by the members of the Western Region". There was discussion as to whether Bylaw Six means that election of officers should be handled differently than other voting. Two major issues were raised: Should officers be elected by votes of individual members rather than by the members voting through their grottos? Should officers be able to vote for officers? Following a discussion of these issues, it was decided to follow the practice of the last 10 or more years, and elect Western Region Officers in accordance with Bylaw One.

    An election was then held in accordance with this decision.
    Chair: Lynn Fielding 21; Dell Quick 5.
    Vice Chair: Larry O’Brien 17; Scott Smith 8.
    Sec/Treas: Peri Frantz 19; John Link 5.

    The meeting was temporarily adjourned until after dinner.

    New Business:

    Motion: SFBC moved that all motions which pass be numbered and dated and kept on a separate list. Stanislaus seconded.

    The motion passed: 24 Yes, (San Diego was absent) (00-05)

    Mailing List (nss-west@altadena.net): Discussion:

  • Is this an "informational" list, to be used only for general announcements, calendar events, meeting, etc., or is it a discussion list as it has become recently.
  • Several people felt that the current open discussion format was hurting the Region because of attacks on specific people.
  • Several felt open discussion, with no censorship, was critical to communication, and if a job is not being done correctly, criticism is legitimate.
  • It was suggested that the nss-west site be only for announcements/news items and that another list server be opened for discussion.

    Motion: Mark Bowers moved to convert the current list (nss-west@altadena.net) to a moderated list, with a moderator appointed by the Western Region officers, and create a new, unmoderated list for open discussion. Bryan Lavender seconded.

    The motion passed, 26 Yes, 1 No. (00-06)

    Amy Poinsetti and Mark Bowers volunteered to be moderator(s), and will work out the details with each other and the Western Region officers.

    Motion: The Southern California Grotto moved that every one on the moderated list (nss-west@altadena.net) automatically be subscribed to the new unmoderated list. SFBC seconded.

    The motion passed; 25 Yes, 2 No. (00-07)

    Motion: SFBC moved that in order to avoid conflict of interest, members of Western Region Executive Committee may not hold any other executive position on any of the Western Region subcommittees. Stanislaus seconded.


  • In the NSS, Executive Officers are not permitted to chair committees.
  • What is a Western Region subcommittee? Are the WRTC and the Grant committees "subcommittees"?
  • Is the Editor of the California Caver considered to be an "executive"?
  • This issue is important, and should be sent to all grottos for discussion and a vote.

    Call the Question: The Call failed: Yes 1, 7 No, 1 Abstain:

    Amendment to the Motion: SFBC moved that this motion be sent to the grottos and officers of the Western Region to be voted on by December 31, 2000.

    The Amendment passed 11Yes, 1 Abstain.

    The motion, as amended, passed: 23 Yes, 3 No, 1 Abstain. (00-08)

    Lynn Fielding and all assembled thanked the Southern California Grotto for hosting the Region Meeting.

    The Stanislaus Grotto will host the 2001 Western Regional Meeting.

    The Meeting Adjourned.

    Attachments: Financial Statements, California Caver History

    Draft History: V.1 Reviewed by Lynn Fielding, Larry O’Brien and Gale Beach. Minor corrections for typos were made.


    Western Region Business Minutes recorded by Peri Frantz on September 25, 1999 at Hat Creek Campground, California

    Lynn Fielding opened the meeting at 1:10.

    All three Regional Officers were present (Lynn Fielding, Chair; Marianne Russo, Vice Chair; and Peri Frantz, Secretary-treasurer). A Grotto roll call was conducted, a quorum was established, and the number of votes allocated to each Grotto was determined. Based on 16 Grotto votes, plus one vote for each of the three officers, a total of 19 votes were present.

    • Desert Dogs (DD) Absent
    • Diablo Grotto (DG) 3
    • Motherlode Grotto (MLG) 3
    • San Diego Grotto (SDG) Absent
    • San Francisco Bay Chapter (SFBC) 3
    • Shasta Area Grotto SAG) 2
    • Southern California Grotto (SoCal) 3
    • Southern Oregon Grotto (SOG) 1
    • Stanislaus Grotto (Stan) 1
    • Willamette Valley Grotto (WVG) Absent
    • Officers (LF PF MR) 3
    TOTAL 19

    Minutes: The Minutes of the 1998 business meeting, held at Camp Marston were approved as printed in the California Caver #210.

    Finance: Peri presented a brief summary of the region’s financial status. A more detailed report will be printed separately in the California Caver.

    Net Worth by Fund 9/1/98 8/31/99 Change
    General Account 7783.28 8558.80 775.52
    WRTC 2328.60 2123.71 -204.89
    WR Grant Fund 2102.78 2151.22 48.44
    Cal Caver Endow. 1115.87 1290.36 174.49
    Total Assets 13,330.53 14,124.09 793.56

    Western Region National Cave Rescue Commission (NCRC) Coordinator: Lynn introduced Mark Bowers, the New Western Region NCRC Coordinator. Mark briefly described several changes he plans to make in Western Region rescue organization. Foremost, he is working with county sheriffs in relevant counties, to enable cavers who are not Search & Rescue (SAR) members to participate in rescues. Several sheriffs are supportive, and Mark will be setting up call out chain to facilitate this activity.

    1999 NCRC Seminar, Tulelake: Lynn and other participants reported on the NCRC 99 Seminar, held at Tulelake Fairgrounds and Lava Beds National Monument. Overall the seminar went well, with only minor glitches. All the bills have been paid, and the bank account has been closed. A small surplus of $479.89 has been turned over to the Western Region Training Committee (WRTC) for use in cave rescue training. The WRTC now has a modest cache of equipment, purchased for this and previous seminars, available for training and for lending to county sheriffs for rescues. The cache is stored at Roger Mortimer’s in Fresno.

    Self Rescue Group: Mark reported that the Self Rescue Group (SRG), under Cindy Heazlit’s leadership, was working to address self rescue concerns in the region, and planned to hold several self rescue trainings. He also announced that he would be demonstrating a pick-off following the meeting.

    NSS Annual Awards: Gale Beach discussed the annual NSS Awards. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of Western Region members receiving recognition, and Gale would like this trend to continue. She urged members to continue to nominate fellow cavers, and called particular attention to the Science Award. Historically, recipients have also been Honorary Members, although the original intent of this award was to recognize younger members actively doing cave science. If you make a nomination for this award, be sure to include a description of the nominee’s current work. See the NSS News for the call for nominations, and the Members Manual for a description of the awards, and to identify current Fellows.

    Western Region Grant Fund: Roger described the Western Region Grant Fund, which was created to support scientific research and conservation activities. Grants of up to $200 can be made for research projects in the Western Region, or to Western Region members doing research elsewhere. Matching grants are also available for conservation activities. The most recent recipient was the SoCal Grotto, for the printing of conservation information cards to be left in caves. Grant Recipients are required to provide a report to the California Caver.

    The Church Cave Survey: Church Cave Survey, headed by David Engel, is being asked to renew their permit, which is over 5 years old. David asked the Region for a letter of support.

    The SoCal Grotto moved, and Diablo seconded that "The Western Region supports the Church Cave Survey, and will send a letter of support to the Forest Service." After clarification that the data generated by the survey would be shared with other cavers, and that no money was involved in the request, the motioned passed unanimously.

    Lava beds Research Center: Janet Sowers made a report on the Lava Beds Research Center Capital Campaign. This campaign is a joint effort of the Cave Research Foundation (CRF), the Lava Beds Natural History Association (LBNHA), and the Lava Beds National Monument (LABE), to raise funds for the construction of a Research Center in the Monument. This facility would provide workspace, housing and storage for volunteer researchers in multiple disciplines, and would enable CRF to expand it’s activities, which for the last 10 years have been primarily limited to the winter months, when seasonal housing is available. To date $56,000 cash has been raised, plus another $50,000 of in-kind services. The goal is to raise $200,000 (including the in-kind). Janet asked that the Western Region support this project, both with the use of its name, and with a $1,000 donation.

    Following a discussion of multiple concerns, two motions were made, and passed as follows.

    Diablo moved, and MotherLode seconded, that the "Western Region of NSS supports the construction of a Lava Beds Research Center, and consents to the use of its name in fundraising material."

    GrottoFor Against
    Diablo 3
    Motherlode 3
    San Diego Absent
    San Francisco Bay Chapter 3
    Shasta Area 1 1
    Southern California 3
    Southern Oregon 1
    Stanislaus 1
    Willamette Valley Absent
    Officers (LF PF MR) 3
    TOTAL 18 1

    SFBC moved, and SOG seconded that "Consideration of $1,000 donation by the Western Region to the Lava Beds Research Center shall be referred back to the grottos for discussion and voting. The results must be sent to the Western Region Secretary by January 31, 2000. The secretary is directed to formalize the wording and provide each grotto with a ballot and information on the issue. Grottos not responding will be treated as abstentions."

    GrottoFor Against
    Diablo 3
    Motherlode 3
    San Diego Absent
    San Francisco Bay Chapter 3
    Shasta Area 2
    Southern California 3
    Southern Oregon 1
    Stanislaus 1
    Willamette Valley Absent
    Officers (LF PF MR) 3
    TOTAL 19

    Western Region Web Site: Gale Beach summarized the written report the Web Committee had prepared for the officers. The initial task of creating a web presence for the region is mostly complete, and about half of material has been posted for review by the regional officers. Technical problems have interfered with posting the remainder, and the committee is working on resolving them.

    Gale Beach recommended that for future web site development, a coordinator and a webmaster be appointed to maintain the web site, with new content being provided by individual contributors.

    In the discussion that followed, the following points were made.

  • The web pages should be opened for review, even though they are not complete, and the membership should be asked to provide feedback.
  • The Western Region web pages will effectively constitute a second Western Region publication.
  • Gale Beach strongly felt that the coordinator should be one of the Regional Officers, possibly the Vice Chair.

    There was a general consensus that the Vice-Chairman would be the coordinator, and that the details of organization for future development of the web site should be deferred to the regional officers.

    Historic Records: Peri reported that she is about half way through the task of organizing the historical Western Region records, and is compiling a current version of the Constitution, Bylaws and Policies.

    Thank You Shasta Area and Southern Oregon Grottos: A motion to thank the Shasta Area and Southern Oregon Grottos for hosting a most excellent regional was passed by unanimous acclaim.

    NSS Convention 2003, Porterville California: Peri announced that the NSS Board of Governors (BOG) had accepted a bid by an informal group of western cavers to host a national convention in Porterville, August 4-8, 2003, with Peri as Chair, and Lynn Fielding as Vice Chair. Peri asked that the Western Region officially support this effort. A copy of the bid was given to a representative from each grotto present, and will be mailed to the absent grottos.

    SFBC moved, and Diablo seconded that "The Western Region voices it’s support of the 2003 Convention, to be held in Porterville, with the idea of encouraging regional participation in the implementation of the Convention"

    A discussion of the pros and cons of the convention site and of the region supporting the effort followed. Concerns about the site were centered on the relatively low number of caves, as compared to recent conventions, the difficulty of getting to them, and the likelihood of overuse. Ann Bosted had prepared a chart of the caves in the general area, the driving and hiking times to get to them and their vulnerability to damage. Peri’s response was that this convention would emphasize the scientific and technical program, and de-emphasize caving, and that Joel Despain, cave specialist for Sequoia National Park, would be developing a plan for managing caving during the convention.

    GrottoFor Against
    Diablo 3
    Motherlode 3
    San Diego Absent
    San Francisco Bay Chapter 21
    Shasta Area 2
    Southern California 3
    Southern Oregon 1
    Stanislaus 1
    Willamette Valley Absent
    Officers (LF PF MR) 3
    TOTAL 18 1

    The motion carried.

    2000 Western Regional: SoCal Grotto will host the 2000 regional meeting. Stanislaus is in line for 2001, and Willamette Valley for 2002.


    Western Region Business Minutes recorded by Peri Frantz on October 10, 1998 at Camp Marston, California

    Western Region Chair, Lynn Fielding, convened the meeting, and a quorum was established. Vice Chair Marianne Russo and Secretary Treasurer Peri Frantz were both present. Grotto Roll call, and the number of votes allocated to each:

    • Diablo 3
    • Mother Lode 3
    • San Diego 3
    • San Francisco Bay Chapter 3
    • Shasta Area -
    • Absent
    • Southern California 3
    • Southern Oregon -
    • Absent
    • Stanislaus 1
    • Willamette Valley -
    • Absent

    Additionally, in accordance with the Bylaws, each officer of the region receives one vote, bring the total possible votes to 19.

    Lynn announced that she had received a letter from the Desert Dog Troglodytes requesting regional membership. The request was granted by unanimous acclamation even though Desert Dog Troglodytes did not have a representative at the meeting (at this time).

    Minutes of the 1997 Business Meeting, as printed in California Caver, Number 209, were reviewed and two corrections were made;

    • Ernie Coffman (in abstensia) reported that the Southern Oregon Grotto WAS present, and that Shasta Area Grotto was not.
    • Cindy Heazlit found an inconsistency between the financial summary printed in the minutes and the detailed financial report in California Caver, Number 208. Following the meeting Peri investigated, and determined that two typographical errors had occurred. The correct financial summary follows.
    Income Summary September 1, 1996 to August 31, 1997
    Balance 9/1/96  12,327.37
    Net Income 44.20
    Balance 8/31/97 12,371.67

    Balance Sheet As of 8/31/97
    Western Region General Fund 7,718.68
    Western Region Training Committee 1,661.75
    Western Region Grant Fund 2,014.22
    California Caver Endowment 976.92
    TOTAL Western Region Funds 12,371.57

    1997-1998 Financial Report: Peri summarized the 1997-1998 finances.

    Income Summary September 1, 1997 to August 31, 1998
    Balance 9/1/97  12,371,57
    Income 3,620.74 
    Net Income  958.96
    Balance 8/31/98  13,330.53

    Balance Sheet As of 8/31/98
    Western Region General Fund 7,783.28
    Western Region Training Committee 2,328.60
    Western Region Grant Fund 2,102.78
    California Caver Endowment 1,115.87
    TOTAL Western Region Funds 13,330.53

    Lynn announced that Merrilee Proffitt was working on a Western Region Web Site. Cindy Heazlit reiterated that she and Robert Mudry both wanted to participate in development of the site, and suggested that a web site committee be formed. Discussion ensued, and a consensus was reached that a moderator might facilitate the coordination of the project. Gale Beach was appointed. The committee, consisting of Gale, Cindy, Merrilee and Robert, will have free reign over the design and implementation of the site, subject to the final review and approval of the Western Region Officers.

    Gale Beach made a brief presentation concerning NSS Awards, and encouraged region members to nominate people who deserve recognition for the various awards. Since next summer's convention is in Idaho, Western Region attendance should be high, and having many western recipients would be especially nice. Nominations should be sent to the chair of the appropriate awards committee. A description of each of the awards, and the name of the chair, can be found in the NSS Members Manual.

    Scott Schmitz inquired about the status of a grant proposal submitted to the Western Region Grant Fund, by the Southern California Grotto to cover the cost of printing conservation oriented Cave Law Cards for distribution at commercial caves, cave registers, and to the general public. Bill Frantz stated that the proposal had been reviewed, but that since chair Roger Mortimer was not present, the official outcome was still unknown. (Roger arrived after the meeting and announced that Southern California had been granted $50 to cover printing expenses.)

    Cindy Heazlit announced that a new Self Rescue Group has been formed. The SRG is an independent organization, operating separately from the Region and the WR Training Committee. The SRG's objectives are to develop, write and teach self rescue at a grotto level. The SRG currently has five members and they are looking for additional participants. There is a link to the SRG's web site from the NCRC site (http://www.caves.org/io/ncrc/). The SRG site contains 7 modules that the SRG is available to teach. Contact Cindy if you are interested in this training.

    Joel Despain, Cave Specialist for Sequoia National Park, reported on the Sequoia Kings Canyon (SEKI) Management Plan which is currently being developed. Management Plans form the framework within which the park makes decisions, and are updated approximately every 20 years. The proposed plan will be available for public comment in about 6 to 9 months, and Joel wants the caving community to be active in the review process. He is concerned about two potential components of the plan. First, the business community wants to encourage cave for pay, with potentially devastating impact on the caves. On the positive side, cavers are being asked to support plans for designating some caves as Wilderness Areas.

    San Francisco Bay Chapter moved, and Southern California seconded that: "The Western Region will publicize the need for public comment at the appropriate time, and will encourage all Western Region members to write letters." The motion passed unanimously by acclaim.

    Peri Frantz reported that a self appointed committee of western cavers is exploring the possibility of hosting an NSS Convention in Porterville in either 2003 or 2004. Preliminary discussions with Porterville College and the Chamber of Commerce have been favorable. Peri would like to be convention chairman and would like the Western Region to be the sponsor. She is looking for committee chairmen from all Grottos in the Region. There was discussion about the potential impact on caves, both during and after the convention. Joel believes the Park will be able to develop a suitable management plan to minimize convention impact on park caves. Additionally, there are caves outside the Park, such as Greenhorn, that can sustain high usage without impact. People who are interested in helping with another California convention, please contact Peri.

    Bill Papke expressed concern about the relatively low attendance at this regional. Approximately 75 to 80 people participated in contrast to 120 to 150 at other recent meetings. Since the business meeting is the only Regional Meeting each year, every effort should be made to maximize participation. Several contributing factors were identified; the remote location, the cost, the lack of a non food and camping option, and limited publicity. This was the first Regional sponsored by the San Diego Grotto, and they had limited guidance in planning the event. Carl Diaz has volunteered to write a "Guide to Putting on Regionals" so that other grottos can benefit from this experiences. The Regional officers will help review and revise the guide. Anyone interested in helping should contact Carl. The Western Regional Chair will be responsible for making sure that the grotto sponsoring each regional has the guide. There was also general agreement that a direct mailing to all western Region members is needed, since publication of the California Caver is limited. The Western Region will pay for the postage for this mailing, and the sponsoring grotto will be responsible for producing and duplicating the contents.

    Shasta Area Grotto is next in the rotation to host the 1999 Regional, however since they were not present, Peri will contact them to confirm.

    Several Mother Lode caves, including Rippled, Violin, Fiddler, and Alabaster may be for sale in the near future Bill Papke suggested that the Western Region consider purchasing and preserving these caves. Based on her investigations when the White Chief property was under consideration, Cindy Heazlit stated that any group seriously considering acquiring a cave property should incorporate as a separate 501(c)(3) organization, and suggested contacting Bill Putnam of the South Eastern Cave Conservancy for information. Bill Frantz expressed concerned about how a cave property would be managed. Ray Beach also favored a separate organization, due to liability concerns. No objections were voiced to Bill Papke pursuing the idea of an independent Mother Lode Cave Conservancy, and the Western Region expressed a willingness to support the effort.

    ELECTION of Officers

    Doug Billings of the Desert Dogs arrived at the start of elections, and the Desert Dogs were determined to have 1 vote, bringing the total possible votes to 20.

    Chair: Candidates were Lynn Fielding and Cindy Heazlit. Lynn was reelected.

    Vice Chair: Marianne Russo was reelected by acclaim.


  • Treasurer: Peri Frantz was reelected by acclaim.

    Lynn Fielding thanked the San Diego Grotto for hosting the regional meeting this year. Meeting adjourned at 2:55 PM.


    Recorded by Peri Frantz on October 25, 1997 at Avery Ranch, California

    Representatives of the following Grottos were present:

    • Diablo Grotto
    • Mother Lode Grotto
    • San Diego Grotto
    • San Francisco Bay Chapter
    • Shasta Area Grotto
    • Southern California Grotto
    • Stanislaus Grotto
    • Willamette Valley Grotto
    The Great Basin Grotto was also represented, but not with an official representative.

    Southern Oregon Grotto was absent. The Grottos officially represented constituted a quorum, so the meeting could proceed.

    Western Region Chair Lynn Fielding called the meeting to order.

    Lynn stated that since the Western Region Training Committee (WRTC) had a separate meeting scheduled following the Business Meeting, WRTC issues would not be addressed at the current meeting.

    The Minutes of the 1996 Annual Business Meeting were approved as printed in California Caver, Number 206.

    Western Region Secretary/Treasurer, Peri Frantz, presented a Treasurer's Report (subsequently printed in California Caver, Number 208).

    A summary follows:

    Income Statement
    Balance 9/1/96 12327.37
    Income 9/1/96 to 8/31/97 15533.07
    Expenses 9/1/96 to 8/31/97 14588.97
    Balance 8/31/97 12371.57

    Balance Sheet
    Western Region General Fund 7,718.68
    Western Region Grant Fund 1,661.75
    California Caver Endowment 2,014.22
    WRTC Funds 976.92
    TOTAL Western Region Funds 12,371.57

    Gale Beach made a short presentation about the NSS Awards process and encouraged members to nominate candidates for the many awards presented each year.

    Roger Mortimer gave a report on the Western Region Grant Fund. There have been no applications in the last year. Grants are available to aid scientific research and conservation activities by Western Region members. All Western Region members are eligible to apply for grants. All persons receiving grants are required to submit a written report to the California Caver.

    Lynn Fielding distributed copies of the new Western Region brochure. The brochure provides information about the region, pointers to Western Region and NSS web sites, and an application form.

    The brochure was designed with space for a Western Region Logo, however there is currently no official logo. Bill Papke presented artwork for a logo the Region has used in past years, and additional artwork for several new versions. Roger Mortimer (Diablo Grotto) moved: Western Region shall poll members on the various options for a logo and adopt the most popular. The motion passed by acclaim. The various logos will be posted in the registration area for the membership to vote on.

    Joel Despain, Cave Management Specialist for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, made a report on White Chief Cave. The cave is in a private 21.5 acre in holding, completely surrounded by the Park. There are 12 other caves in the area, but White Chief is the largest with over a mile of passage. The Park wants to purchase the property, but has not yet reached agreement with the owner over price and terms. Options for helping the Park make the purchase or for assistance by third party such as the NSS or the Nature Conservancy are being explored.

    (Note: On 5/15/98 Joel informed us that the purchase of White Chief was complete.)

    Dave Engel reported on the Church Cave mapping project. The season got of to a slow start because winter rains had destroyed the road, however since the road reopened there have been weekly surveys. The surveyed depth is now 517.2 feet and the length is 3.45 miles. Dave would welcome new participants; he can be contacted by electronic mail at: dengel@earthlink.com.

    Ann Bosted initiated a discussion about the Forest Service's plans to charge for recreational activities, including caving. The intent is to raise money to cover the loss of funding from Washington, and is likely to result in increased publicity about caves, and increased traffic as the Forest Service tries to maximize income. The NSS has already expressed its objections to the Forest Service. Ann (SFBC) moved: If the Forest Service continues to pursue plans for charging for caving, the Western Region is authorized to contact Congress and express our opposition. The motion passed by acclaim. The region will also copy Dave Jagnow on any such correspondence.

    There was a report on the Cave Gulch Area, Santa Cruz. The Grey Whale Ranch property has recently been acquired by the State Park system, and they are considering how to manage the caves. Lysa DeThomas has spearheaded an effort to educate the park about cave conservation and safety issues, and to establish the credentials of WR members as resources on cave related issues.

    Matt Bowers made a report on New Melones. The management plan for the lake was rewritten several years ago. Plans to make trails to the caves were deflected.

    The 1998 Regional will be hosted on October 9

  • 11 by the San Diego Grotto at Camp Marston, near Julian, and about an hour east of San Diego.

    Ernie Coffman announced that the NSS Membership Committee is looking for ideas on how to retain current members and attract new ones. Talk to Ernie if you have any ideas.

    The meeting was adjourned at 2:55 PM.

    The URL for this page is <http://www.caves.org/region/western/minutes.html>.
    If you have any questions, comments, or corrections about this document, please contact: mproffit@nyx.net
    Last update: 21 November 2002