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Mid-Appalachian Region of
the National Speleological Society


February 23, 2008

The meeting was called to order by MAR Chair, Bob Gulden at 1:35 PM, February 23rd 2008, at the home of Jay Herbein, Harrisburg, PA.

Secretary's Report:
A motion was made to accept the 2007 Business Meeting minutes as published in the April 2007 Breakdown. The motion was seconded. Motion passed.

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

Bette proposed reducing the MAR money collected at field meets to $4.00. A motion was made to this effect, seconded and passed by a unanimous vote.

MAR Breakdown:
Karen Bange reported the glitch in the MAR mailing list database has been corrected thanks to Dave Fricke. 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 George requested people write neatly when registering for MAR field meets. The mailing list is maintained from the registration forms.

2007 Spring Field Meet:
The event was hosted by Buffalo Valley Grotto, at Woodward Campground (Woodward, PA). The write up of the event can be found in the August 2007 Breakdown.

2007 Fall Field Meet:
The event was hosted by Philly Grotto in honor of their 60th anniversary. The write up of the event can be found in the January 2008 Breakdown.

MAR Web Site:
The MAR webmaster, Christopher Catherman, continues to keep the website up and running. 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 gave a follow up report on changes to the Landowner Liability Act (also referred to as the Recreational Use of Land and Water Act). On June 30th, Governor Rendell signed into law (Act 11) that closes the loophole in the Recreational Use of Land and Water Act. This change was brought about by a shooting accident that occured in Lehigh County in 2004. Christopher Catheman will update the MAR website with links to the current law. [2007 admendments to the Act are in blue text.]

The Nature Conservancy (TNC):
Keith Wheeland gave a report on a recent two day conference hosted by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Hot Springs, VA. The purpose of the meeting was to categorize areas in various states with karst and cave features. The goal is to prioritize significant areas for conservation and appropriate protection. Keith emphasized the importance of keeping the PA Cave Database up to date as this will help protect significant karst and cave features in PA.

Charlie Eichelberger and Jim Hart spoke on White-Nose Syndrome (WNS). This extremely serious situation effecting bats has now been confirmed in mines and caves in NY, CT, and MA. There are still no confirmed cases in PA. The NSS is asking people to avoid going into caves and mines that are significant bat hibernacula for a year. There was discussion about posting a list of specific caves and mines to avoid for the next year.

It seems that bats with WNS are found at cave entrances or out flying at odd times. Therefore, cavers interested in helping to look for WNS can limit visitation to cave entrances. If any evidence of WNS is found, people should contact Greg Turner immediately: 841-237-1432 or

MAR Bulletins:
Will White reported the bulletin for Huntingdon County is almost complete. The new map of Tytoona is almost finished. The bulletin for the Upper Susquehanna Valley is in text, just waiting on the maps to be finished.

Dale Ibberson reported that Todd Hancock has volunteered to "redo" the Mifflin County MAR Bulletin. Todd is asking for help from cavers. Anyone interested in helping Todd can contact him at 740-448-1185 or

Pennsylvania Cave Database:
Bill Herr has volunteered to be the new PA Cave Database steward. Bill is asking for volunteers to be county stewards and provide him with updates in specific geographic areas throughout PA. Garrett Czmor has volunteered to be the steward of Huntingdon County and JD Lewis has volunteered to be the steward in North Central PA [Lycoming and Clinton counties]. Mike Spencer volunteered to be the steward for Lehigh and Northampton counties; Jim Hart, Don Arrowood, and Ken Jones will be county stewards for Cumberland, Franklin and Fulton counties.

Any other volunteers to be a county steward for the PA Cave Database should contact Bill Herr at Everyone is encouraged to contact Bill with all updates and changes to caves status in PA. Grottos are encouraged to put Bill on their newsletter mailing lists as information in newsletter is a good resource for updates/changes throughout the state.

Bill also reported that Bru Randall, Western PA Subregion Coordinator, ER-NCRC and Cave Rescue Coordinator for AMRG is working on a system to help identify caves in a specific area to streamline rescues. Bill is working with Bru on this process.

Jim Hart reported he is still working on a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has been working on an inventory in Lancaster County to help identify karst areas that need protection.

Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC):
Mike Spencer reported he continues to have good relations with Greg Turner of the Pennsylvania Game Commission. The Game Commission has been working closely with cavers the past months to help share knowledge about caves and cave wildlife in light of White Nose Syndrome.

Kim Metzgar displayed the newly published map/poster of Lincoln Cavern and Whisper Rock Cave, Huntingdon County. The map is for sale and all proceeds benefit MAKC. She also reported Hesston Cave has been resurveyed and the map is almost complete. This yearís annual MAKC member weekend will be June 13-15 at Shofer Cave [Berks County]. It is MAKCís 10th anniversary. Details of the event will be posted on the MAKC website.

An update on Cleversburg Cave was given. The relationship between South Hampton Township and MAKC is good. A new ladder has been installed in the cave. Signs will be posted in the area asking people not to use the township building facilities. Franklin County Grotto has plans to update the onsite kiosk.

Pennsylvania Cave Conservancy (PCC):
Meeting to follow the MAR Business Meeting.

MAR Incorporation:
Keith Wheeland has met with a lawyer and plans to use a new approach this year in moving forward with incorporation and changes to the bylaws to ensure these two items compliment each other.

2008 Spring Field Meet:
The Spring MAR Field meet will be hosted by Commander Cody Caving Club on May 16-18th in Hazelton, WV at the Pine Hill Campground. Registation forms are published on page 9. More information can be found on the MAR web site [at].

2008 Fall Field Meet:
Nittany Grotto is hosting the event in honor of their 60th Anniversary. The event will be October 10-12th at the Woodward Cave and Campground, Woodward, PA. All checks for the event should be made out to the MAR and "NOT" Nittany Grotto. Jim Kennedy of Bat Conservation International (BCI) will be guest speaker. More information can be found on the MAR web site [at].

2009 Spring Field Meet:
No takers [at this time].

2009 Fall Field Meet:
York Grotto is hosting the event in honor of their 50th Anniversary. The event will be at Rupert Cave, Mifflin County, PA the weekend of October 3rd.

New Business:

The Spring VAR/SERA is June 5-8, 2008 at Bristol Campground, Bristol, TN.

The Baltimore Grotto Swine and Dine, at Friars Hole, WV, is May 23-26th.

The NSS Convention is August 11-15th in Lake City, FL. Check the 2008 NSS Convention website for more information.

Meeting adjourned at 3:05 P.M.
The next MAR Business meeting is February 28, 2009

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
  • Bald Eagle Grotto
  • Bucks County
  • MAKC

Click "Here" for the February 23, 2008 minutes of the PCC Meeting (Winter) that took place immediately after the MAR Business Meeting.

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