Hubbards Cave gate project in the news

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Hubbards Cave gate project in the news

Postby JD » Jun 12, 2006 1:23 pm

The recent building of a replacement gate at Hubbards Cave, Tenn. made both local and national news. This gate replaced the (once) largest cave gate in the U.S. with a new gate, replete with an improved design in an improved location, a short distance inside the mouth. The project was a joint effort led by TNC. Partners included BCI, USFWS, and various state agencies. Several NSS cavers participated in the project, of course. See the article "Bat Gate Protects Species," at the following address: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13108985/

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hubbard

Postby caverbill » Aug 18, 2006 7:01 am

Just out of curiosity, why did the old gate need replacement? I helped build that gate and certainly thought it would last longer.
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Re: hubbard

Postby mgmills » Aug 18, 2006 8:11 pm

caverbill wrote:Just out of curiosity, why did the old gate need replacement? I helped build that gate and certainly thought it would last longer.


The article link is old and expired so I couldn't re-read it but what I remember from when it was first posted was that the old gate was still structurally sound but the new gate is more bat friendly.

My understanding is that the newer thinking on bat cave gates is they should be more inside the cave than right at the entrance. :-)
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Postby JD » Aug 21, 2006 8:51 am

The old gate was 21 years old and rusted badly, but there have also been some design improvements as folks have learned more about gray bats and cave gates. The new gate has a flyover for instance, and it is in a better location ( a bit inside the south passage). And it looks better there (aesthetically), though that was an added bonus. Sorry the link was expired, but I'm sure you can find the article by googling Hubbards Cave Gate, as the article was run by several news outlets.
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Postby JoeyS » Aug 24, 2006 7:13 pm

JD wrote:The old gate was 21 years old and rusted badly,


And the new one is going to rust badly, because there is no paint on it as we speak. I'm hoping to organize a project to paint it this fall, with the help of the Nashville Grotto and the approval of Park Officials.
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Postby Robert Sewell » Aug 27, 2006 2:57 pm

Is there a special type of paint that won't harm the cave?
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Postby NZcaver » Aug 27, 2006 3:09 pm

Robert Sewell wrote:Is there a special type of paint that won't harm the cave?

I can't say I've ever heard of cave-friendly paint. But the last time I worked on a bat gate it was carefully painted by brush, with drop-cloths laid on the floor of the cave. This particular cave was probably better protected during the painting process than during the actual assembly and welding of the gate. As for the finished product - I'm not aware of painted metal gates harming the cave or it's bat inhabitants.
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Postby JoeyS » Aug 27, 2006 8:07 pm

I just got done caving with Kristen Bobo of the Upper Cumberland Grotto today, and she is the guru of cave gates in the TAG region. We talked about the Dunbar Cave gate project, and she said that basically, it is not that advantagious to paint these gates at all. So I guess the Dunbar gate will remain unpainted, which is ok with me; I'll just have a free day to cave instead of paint gates.
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rust

Postby caverbill » Aug 28, 2006 7:22 am

Am I really that old? It seems like only a few years that we were building the original gate.

The amount of labor needed to build such a large gate is tremendous, so it seems like 21 years is not a very long lifespan. I would seem there would be some type of paint or sealer that would improve the life.
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Hubbard's Cave Gate

Postby Larry E. Matthews » Sep 9, 2006 6:42 pm

I haven't been to Hubbards Cave in several years, so I can't comment on how badly the gate was rusted.

But, the last time I was there I did notice lots and lots of bats in the passage that was mined for saltpeter. I have been going to Hubbards Cave for nearly 45 years and never saw many bats in that passage before the humongous gate was built.

That would suggest that the bats didn't like the gate and moved to the ungated passage. Perhaps the new gate will be more bat friendly.

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hubbards

Postby caverbill » Sep 15, 2006 7:18 am

When that gate was originally in the design phase, one option was to leave the top open because of how the Grays might react (I understand that don't particularly like gates any more than we do). Merlin Tuttle made the final call on erecting a full gate. Ironically while we were building the gate several bats put on aerobatic displays "playing" with the new structure suddenly in their entrance.

The drastic improvement in gray bat populations in general is a great success story for cave conservation and management.
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Postby merecaver » Sep 27, 2006 12:20 pm

JoeyS wrote: I just got done caving with Kristen Bobo of the Upper Cumberland Grotto today, and she is the guru of cave gates in the TAG region. We talked about the Dunbar Cave gate project, and she said that basically, it is not that advantagious to paint these gates at all.

NZcaver wrote: I can't say I've ever heard of cave-friendly paint.

Robert Sewell wrote: Is there a special type of paint that won't harm the cave?



Hi all,
I am no expert on cave gate painting (or anything else for that matter, LOL), but I've helped paint a few cave gates, mostly in West Virginia WITH the help of the WV DNR.

From what I learned, it takes about one year for the iron (?) to rust on a cave gate and then you can go in with this special and expensive paint (about $80 per gallon). It goes on kind of purple but dries to black (or is it the other way around?). Mostly we have applied it with sponge brushes. Anyhow, it dries a different color so you can see where you missed.

I have no idea whether it is cave or bat friendly, but it helps protect the gate, which is hopefully protecting both the cave and the bats (and other critters).

I have not heard anyone ever commenting that the paint is bad for critters, though I can't imagine if one were to ingest the paint it would be good. Gross. This particular paint dries very quickly.

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Postby Phil Winkler » Sep 27, 2006 12:46 pm

I think the coating is actually an acidic solution similar to Ospho. It converts the iron oxide (red rust) to iron phosphate or iron sulphate which does not continue to react with the atmosphere and so protects the iron. It does make the iron black and is harmless to all critters.
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The Dunbar Cave Gate

Postby Larry E. Matthews » Sep 27, 2006 7:01 pm

I was just at Dunbar Cave yesterday (Tuesday, September 26) and the new gate is starting to rust, a little. I have no idea how fast these things rust.

But, it would just seem logical, considering all the time and money that goes into building a cave gate, to paint them to prevent rusting, if it is practical. And, of course, safe for the environment.

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Postby graveleye » Sep 29, 2006 8:52 am

I suppose that stainless steel is not financially feasable then is it? I recall the stainless staircase in the Mammoth New Entrance and it's likely that our great great grandchildren will be the ones replacing it, if even then... and its dripped on day and night.
I'm deal in metals a lot and I wonder if there would be a company that would donate some stainless for a future gating project.
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