Renaming caves, a conservation technique?

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Renaming caves, a conservation technique?

Postby GroundquestMSA » Sep 30, 2013 11:55 am

I've just been re-reading both Douglas' and Holsinger's VA cave books, and realized that a couple of caves now considered significant are included, but with a different name. By these early accounts, these caves were fairly small and had been completely explored. I wonder if, upon revisiting these caves and discovering huge amounts of new passage, cavers quickly put new cave names into circulation when documenting their finds. This would prevent people like me, with the old book and coordinates, from locating the now-exciting cave. This could be done out of plain old secrecy, to preserve fragile passage, to pacify a landowner who didn't want attention, etc. Does this happen?
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Re: Renaming caves, a conservation technique?

Postby Anonymous_Coward » Sep 30, 2013 6:04 pm

Yes.
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Re: Renaming caves, a conservation technique?

Postby wyandottecaver » Sep 30, 2013 6:34 pm

all thev above. Sometimes people dont do the homework or dont have access to older material, and name their "new" cave. Thus caves get new names even without intent. I have seen several cases where names were changed to the now current owner to help curry interest/access even when the older existing name was known.
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Re: Renaming caves, a conservation technique?

Postby Chads93GT » Sep 30, 2013 8:44 pm

I rename caves if they haven't been surveyed, I map them, and the current name sucks. If you survey it you can name it. I you simply find it but not map it. Be prepared for a name change.
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Re: Renaming caves, a conservation technique?

Postby GroundquestMSA » Sep 30, 2013 9:34 pm

Chads93GT wrote:If you survey it you can name it. I you simply find it but not map it. Be prepared for a name change.


Sure you can, but why? I appreciate the history of caving and cave names too much to rename simply because the early explorers did their caving before surveyors became so high minded. People and communities give things names, and they probably don't know that their right to name caves is dependent on their ability or willingness or desire to survey. If there is a practical reason to put a new name out there, like one of the ones I mentioned earlier, I understand. Otherwise, I like to preserve old names.

It seems the name switch method of hiding a find can be effective. I searched old literature, the internet, sent emails, made phone calls, knocked on doors, chatted in gas stations and made an all around nuisance of myself for months in search of a couple of caves I was interested in, only to find out later that I already had the coordinates. The incomplete descriptions of caves in old books helps make them hard to recognize too. Holsinger, for example describes one cave as a "fairly large dry passage that extends for 250 feet to a 30 foot, dead end pit." I wouldn't have sought out that cave based on this description, but found it by talking to neighbors before I read the book. There are hundreds of feet of large stream passage and numerous high leads at the bottom of this "dead end pit." I couldn't find any old station markers, but there were two old sets of footprints in the clay banks. If I survey this cave, I'm not going to feel any need to rename it. I'm no better than whoever was there first, or the guy who looked down the pit 40 or 50 or 70 years ago and decided that it was a dead end, or the folks who lived around there and never set foot in the cave but named it after the farmer who owned it.
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Re: Renaming caves, a conservation technique?

Postby Bumbalawski » Sep 30, 2013 10:41 pm

Down my way, we have three caves that were renamed. The first one was accidentally renamed when it was surveyed. The new name was used with the former name in parentheses. Both names are also on the survey and description. The second was a misnomer and both names are in the cave description. The third was named but never surveyed until the early 80's. The original name was the land owner's last name (and he was not the friendly sort). The cave was renamed but the owner's last name was only on the survey and not the description.

I believe the original cave names should appear in the description and/or survey for historical accuracy.
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