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Mid-Appalachian Region of
the National Speleological Society


February 24, 2007

The meeting was called to order by MAR Chair, Bob Gulden at 1:30 PM at the home of Jay Herbein, Harrisburg, PA.

Secretary's Report:
A motion was made to accept the 2006 Business Meeting minutes as published in the April 2006 Breakdown. The motion was seconded. Motion passed.

Treasurer's Report:
The Treasurer's Report was read by treasurer Bette White. Printed copies were distributed.

MAR Breakdown:
Karen Bange discussed a glitch that has been discovered in the MAR mailing list database. Because of the glitch not all the mailing labels were printed. Karen apologized to anyone who has not received a recent Breakdown. Extra copies of the January 2007 Breakdown were available at the meeting. Dave Fricke volunteered to take a look at the problem. Karen reminded everyone that electronic versions of the Breakdown can be found on the MAR website.

Send any Breakdown articles for publication to Karen Bange. Material can be in hardcopy or sent electronically to

George Bange maintains the mailing list database for the Breakdown. All changes to mailing addresses and all MAR field meet registrations should be sent to George at

2006 Spring Field Meet:
The event was hosted by Franklin County Grotto in Williamson, PA. The write up of the event can be found in the August 2006 Breakdown.

2006 Fall Field Meet:
The event was hosted by Bald Eagle Grotto at the KOA Campground in Centre County. The write up of the event can be found in the January 2007 Breakdown.

MAR Web Site:
The MAR webmaster, Christopher Catherman, continues to keep the website up and running. The NSS changed their server; this transition was handled internally and the transition went well. Christopher reminded grottos to send MAR field meet information to him in a timely manner for posting on the MAR website.

Landowner Liability Act:
Karen Bange read a newspaper article from the Centre Daily Times, State College, PA, about a recent law suit in Lehigh County that affects the 1966 state law that shields landowners who allow recreational activity on their land. It seems the general public is pressing the General Assembly to "beef-up" protection for landowners.

Nature Conservancy:
Jim Hart spoke on behalf of the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. The Heritage Program is changing their focus to encompass a more diverse ecoregional planning strategy. Jim talked about the need to educate the general public about karst and cave conservation. Jim spoke about the possibility of coordinating cave sampling/inventories at a regional level in order to further promote conservation and to create buffer zones around karst features. There was a general discussion about various current and potential resources available for this inventory.

Scott Bearer of The Nature Conservancy presented the focus of the Central Appalachian planning process. This long term plan involves building relationships between The Nature Conservancy and the caving community and caving conservancies.

Scott also gave an update on Rocky Gleason's inventory of cave invertebrate in several PA counties.

MAR Bulletins:
Will White reported there has been some progress on the bulletin for Huntingdon County. Garrett Czmor reported there is a draft of Huntingdon County and it should become a reality this year. There are approximately 150 caves in the bulletin, some new caves and updates to known caves.

Pennsylvania Cave Database:
Keith Wheeland gave a report on the 1,604 items listed on the cave database stressing the importance of cavers helping to keep the database up to date. Landowner and access policy for individual caves is of utmost importance to keep current.

Jim Hart stated he is often asked by the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program for information listed on the cave database. Baltimore Grotto made a motion, seconded by Nittany Grotto, to authorize Keith Wheeland to enter into discussion with the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program regarding a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. The motion passed.

Pennsylvania Game Commission:
Mike Spencer reported he made a trip to Shofer Cave, Berks County, with Greg Turner of the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Mike is working on a second trip for inventory purposes. Mike continues to work on improving the relationship between the PCG and cavers.

John Shero announced this year is MAKC's 10th anniversary. There will be an event in honor of this anniversary in June. There will be cave trips into a gated caver with very limited access. Details of the event will be posted on the MAKC website.

Pennsylvania Cave Conservancy:
Meeting to follow the MAR Business Meeting.

MAR Incorporation:

A revision to the draft of the bylaws was published in the January 2007 Breakdown. Baltimore Grotto made a motion for the current officers to move forward with completing the process of MAR incorporation as published in the January 2007 Breakdown. The motion passed. Jay Herbein asked that his zip code be corrected in the bylaws.

2007 Spring Field Meet:
The Spring MAR Field meet will be hosted by Buffalo Valley Grotto May 18-20th at the Woodward Cave Campground, Woodward, PA. Flyers were available at the meeting. More information can be found on the MAR web site [at].

2007 Fall Field Meet:
Philly Grotto is hosting the event in honor of their 60th Anniversary. This is a joint MAR/VAR. The event will be October 12-14th at the OTR site, Dailey, WV. [More information can be found on the web site].

2008 Spring Field Meet:
No grottos were interested in hosting the event.

2008 Fall Field Meet:
Tentatively, Nittany Grotto agreed to host the event in honor of their 60th Anniversary.

2009 Fall Field Meet:
York Grotto is interested in hosting the event in honor of their 50th Anniversary.

New Business:

Siler's Cave in West Virginia is for sale. Asking price unknown.

Trout Rock Cave has an increase in an endangered bat population. There is a possibility of the cave being gated to protect the bats.

Jay Herbein announced that he and Kathy have been hosting the MAR Business Meeting at their home for the past 42 years. Although Jay and Kathy are still willing to host the meeting, the MAR should start to thinking about a new location for holding the meeting. Everyone thanked Jay and Kathy for their hospitality over the past 42 years!

Keith Wheeland posed the question whether the PA cave database is better suited for the PCC to maintain instead of one individual. Will White pointed out that currently Keith maintains the database and Will is housing the hardcopies of cave maps. It was agreed to bring this topic up at the next PCC meeting.

Upcoming Events:
The Spring VAR is April 28th 29th. The event is being hosted by Front Royal Grotto at Durbin, WV.

The Baltimore Grotto Swine and Dine, at Friars Hole, WV, is May 19th - 28th.

The NSS Convention is July 23-27th in Marengo, IN. Check the 2007 NSS Convention website for more information.

Meeting adjourned at 3:30 PM.
The next MAR Business meeting is February 23, 2008

Respectfully submitted,
Karen Bange
MAR Recording Secretary

Representatives at the MAR meeting:

  • Baltimore Grotto
  • York Grotto
  • Nittany Grotto
  • Greater Allentown Grotto
  • Franklin County Grotto
  • Philly Grotto
  • Commander Cody Caving Club
  • Seven Valleys Grotto
  • Buffalo Valley Grotto
  • Central Jersey Grotto
  • Bald Eagle Grotto
  • Huntingdon County Cave Hunters

Click "Here" for the February 24, 2007 minutes of the PCC Meeting (Winter) that took place immediately after the MAR Business Meeting.

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