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PostPosted: Aug 28, 2006 12:18 am
by fuzzy-hair-man
graveleye wrote:
Slap me down if I am wrong, and I am probably contradicting my own better judgment, but I would take a sandblaster to White River Cave in Georgia in a heartbeat, then gate it up and lock it up like Fort Knoxx. There's nothing left in there that a sandblaster is going to hurt imho. All the formations are long gone. The first room in that cave is COMPLETELY covered in spraypaint.

The well used and abused caves serve a purpose the general public can access them and do thier exploring, lock them up and they are forced to find other caves to do thier exploring and/or vandalism in, which means these caves will inevitably become trashed as well. IMO clean them up if you want to but if they are a lost cause in that they have sustained just about as much damage as they can then keep them open, as unpleasant as it is they become sacrifical caves but they stop the damage from spreading further IMO.

PostPosted: Aug 28, 2006 6:19 am
by barcelonacvr
Perhaps the NSS can be petitioned to purchase a unit such as this or cavers can petition the company to donate a test model for removal purposes.The dust produced could easily be vacuumed up during the process,of course with scientific oversight and consultation beforehand.

http://www.llnl.gov/str/pdfs/04_96.3.pd ... removal%22


http://www.cnn.com/TECH/9604/29/laser.g ... index.html

PostPosted: Aug 28, 2006 5:57 pm
by Grandpa Caver
fuzzy-hair-man wrote:The well used and abused caves serve a purpose the general public can access them and do thier exploring, lock them up and they are forced to find other caves to do thier exploring and/or vandalism in, which means these caves will inevitably become trashed as well. IMO clean them up if you want to but if they are a lost cause in that they have sustained just about as much damage as they can then keep them open, as unpleasant as it is they become sacrifical caves but they stop the damage from spreading further IMO.


That is exactly the logic that led Buckner Cave to become Indianas most heavily vandalized cave. Buckner is surrounded by scores of caves. There are far fewer of these surrounding caves open to cavers than there were just a couple decades ago. Why?

When I started caving some 30 years ago, mostly in the Buckner area, I would often run into flashlight "spelunkers" in these other caves. It was a rare occurance to find any of them with any respect for caves or the caves owner. It was not rare however to find thier disrespect had been developed and nurtured in Buckner!

While access to Buckner has been restricted for only a couple years now (hardly enough time for an objective oversight), I have neither seen or heard of any increase in vandalism to the surrounding caves. In my opinion, the ongoing cleanup of Buckner has served to protect other caves more through education and example than it's decades old status of "Sacrifical Cave" could ever have accomplished.

PostPosted: Aug 28, 2006 7:14 pm
by fuzzy-hair-man
Grandpa Caver wrote:That is exactly the logic that led Buckner Cave to become Indianas most heavily vandalized cave. Buckner is surrounded by scores of caves. There are far fewer of these surrounding caves open to cavers than there were just a couple decades ago. Why?

While access to Buckner has been restricted for only a couple years now (hardly enough time for an objective oversight), I have neither seen or heard of any increase in vandalism to the surrounding caves. In my opinion, the ongoing cleanup of Buckner has served to protect other caves more through education and example than it's decades old status of "Sacrifical Cave" could ever have accomplished.


I know that over here we just don't have the resources to gate every cave, so if we restrict access to the most visited caves the others will cop it. For a large part these are not hard to find. Different to what your experience seems to be our caves are exposed to damage more because of overuse and unknowledgable people visiting them and causing damage. We see far less of the obviously intentional damage such as spray painting. There are a fair few initials scratched or smoke burnt to walls, and I'd suspect a lot of formations have been removed and or smashed. Despite this these caves still give beginner level cavers a taste of caving without leaving a sour taste in thier mouth, indeed as my club is a university club and deals with a lot of first time cavers we frequently use these caves as beginners trips and to teach conservation values before progressing to more sensitive caves.

If we seem eliteist to the general public and especially our National Parks and Forestry organisations we will loose a lot of the co-operation that we rely on for access and conservation. It is also worthy to note if we loose National Parks and forestry co-operation it is likely that these organizations (here at least) will have little karst specific knowledge and this could only be bad for cave conservation. These organisations exist for the general public not just for cavers so there is an access line that needs to be trod.

The easiest accessed / least difficult caves are also the most visited push people away to more difficult caves and it's likely to increase accidents and rescues, rescues which are going to be correspondingly more difficult.

PostPosted: Aug 28, 2006 8:55 pm
by Teresa
I'm pretty much against any destructive powered means in a cave. Even with a wire brush (which we used to good effect yesterday) the wielder can control the pressure, the direction, and has a second by second update on what he/she is doing, as opposed to grinders/sandblasters, where you have to let the dust settle some before you can see what you've done. It strikes me it's a whole lot easier to make an 'oops' with a power tool, than a brush at the end of your hand. Someone offered a battery powered grinder yesterday, and I declined.

Rock 'patina' is also known as a weathering rind. It happens more as a result of chemical exposure to substances (including oxygen) in the air, than to microbes, at least in non-sulfuric limestone caves. The difficulty with removing it is the rock below is often much softer, hence the concept that taking off the rind will cause the rock below weather--sure it will, but with a few exceptions (some sandstones come to mind), removing a thin layer of patina isn't that deletorious to the rock in a damp cave. It will reform fairly quickly. Dry caves are different, of course, and need more care. Now, the problem JDmentioned is that most petroglyphs, pictographs, etc, are strictly a surface phenomenon--remove the surface, and they're history.

What is 'historic'? Anything over 50 years old, so it is a moving target. You may notice that the FCRPA says something needs to be historic AND significant for it to come under its protection--the signature of A. Lincoln isn't preserved so much because it is historic per se, as it is signficant. Who decides what is significant?

Obviously a properly informed person, but it is there the question gets murky. Obviously, a scrawled signature of an 'unknown' becomes signficant if it is one of the discoverers, or an early owner, or a relative of yours, in addition to things which are considered generally of significance to the average layperson.

It's not generally a good idea to preserve everything. Neither is it a good idea to preserve nothing. The owner's wishes have to be considered--after all he/she in America has legal custody of the cave and its contents for his or her ownership.

Meanwhile we took grafitti off two heavily traveled by non-caver caves, on the theory that grafitti begets grafitti. Even so, for the traffic these two caves get, they are amazingly clean. By making them cleaner, we send the message cave walls are not billboards. By finishing them so they look 'natural' non-cavers may not even realize they've been cleaned.

Hey, you only do what you can do.