We were just Notified by members of the Northern Arizona Grotto that some one has hack sawed into one of the bars of the Cathedral Cave gate. They were unsuccessful in entry, but very close to getting all the way around one bar. Earlier this year someone tried ripping the gate open with a Vehicle or ATV. One bar was bent but nothing broke. It sounds like they were using a cordless grinder cutting around the edge.
I suspect they are entering the property from behind the property on ATV trails and also would not be surprised if they continue the attack on the gate. Our wild west neighbor care taker has been under the weather which has limited his ability to look over the place.
Anyone responsible caver's, (likely everyone on these lists) wanting to do a trip to the cave, we would welcome trips right now to keep a caver presence at the location.
We will need to return soon, to repair the cave gate, Ad a second road gate and fence off between trees to limit ATV access and restore some unwanted to raods. I will also be adding more threatening singage, including one acknowledging the trespassing/ vandalism issue.
Cathedral cave is a private preserve with 2 caves owned by 3 western caver's, Myself, Tom Gilliend and John Norman. Cave ownership has turned out to be both very rewarding and challenging. Since purchasing the cave, about 7 years ago for the sake of preservation, we have made many great finds. Notably protected is a Maternity colony of Townsend Long Eared bats, that is now thriving and growing in size, the discovery of new invertebrate species, and a thriving colony of Salamanders and a family of javelina in Indian cave. This in addition to archeology discoveries and nicely decorated
rooms. The cave has lots to protect ! Previous horror stories included heavy use a party cave, with activities such as shooting of bats and stalactites off the ceiling, in addition to flat out wholesale vandalism and graffiti. I am definitely concerned to avoid a repeat for any of this.
So we may be recruiting for some conservation work at the cave in the next few months, mainly securing land above ground and repairing the gate. The bats are out for the season so responsible visitation not an issue. I suspect this is weekend visitation. There are guide books and maps that include directions to our cave, so it is no secret. One popular book professes that a candle will not suffice at the cave, you will need at least one flashlight. The cave is located in Northern Arizona, near teh town of Ash Fork.
Thanks for all support, past, present & future, I will keep all posted.
Desert Dog Troglodyte Grotto
Steward/ Owner Cathedralcave.org