This goes out to all Carroll Cave Conservancy members, past and present. On July 25th of this year, CCC held its annual meeting over the Zoom platform. Being an even year, there was an election of officers held. Your new officers are Jeff Page, President, Jay Kennedy, VP, Bill Gee, Recording Secretary, and Kristen Godfrey, Treasurer. Our bylaws allow the elected officers to recruit five at-large board member positions to ensure a broader perspective on the issues facing CCC.
Your new board of directors includes the officers listed above along with Bob Lerch, Dan Lamping, Terry Sherman, Jim Cooley and Rick Hines. This group will be meeting by email or other medium to discuss and resolve issues confronting CCC over the next two years.
My first official act as president is to inform CCC that we’ve received a generous donation of $1000 from the Springfield Plateau Grotto specified to the Pic Walenta Memorial Fund. Donations in Pic’s name will be dedicated to the campground improvements that she had volunteered to spearhead before her untimely death. We deeply appreciate the gesture from SPG and promise to use the funds towards their designated purpose.
Next to the topic that’s not so fun but dominating our lives at present. The board met on Zoom to discuss the need for adjusting the access policy to recognize the virus pandemic. We are seeing some caving activity happening around Missouri and across the country and most board members had some perspective from recent experiences. We agreed that we could find a way to conduct activities both on the surface and in the cave with some minor adjustments in procedure. Some amount to familiar items such as, please don’t go on a trip if you’re experiencing flu-like symptoms; if you find that you’re infected after a trip or surface activity, please let us know so we can make sure other affected people know.
Specific to our situation, we agreed that there is plenty of room on the surface and typically in the cave for groups to stay socially distanced. We are now requiring that people wear a mask while in the silo on both floors. The mask can come off for the descent down the shaft, as it may get wet and become useless. In the cave, we think masks may be burdensome and won’t require them unless the leader sees a situation where they would be advisable (e.g. smaller passageways). Coming back up the ladder, same thing, no mask required until off rope and in the silo. Once outside, spread out. As for the surface, each caver should come as self sufficient as possible to reduce contact.
There will only be one group allowed on surface or in the cave at any one time. The normal limit for most trips will be eight and we’ll up that to ten for the landowner trips if they should take place. For the upcoming bat census trip, a few spots remain open. For the landowners trip, we need to have only enough cavers who can ably assist the guests to stay within limits. That may limit who can go that weekend, but Rick is considering adding a trip on Sunday if interest is high. These guidelines will expire once the pandemic is under control.
After all that was talked over, we took some time to discuss our wish lists for improvements to the surface area. The consensus was that we need to get a concrete pad laid down for an eventual covered pavilion that groups can use for cooking, dining and socializing. With SPG’s donation, we may be able to make that happen, but our broader wish list is bigger than our bank account. We talked about starting an online crowd funding campaign and will be looking into that. Our website already has a PayPal button where people can pay dues, but also donate any amount to the cause at any time. We know there are a lot of worthy causes requiring attention at this time and simply hope there is enough generosity leftover where we can move forward with our modest plans.
That’s all for now. Thanks to everyone who has shown interest in Carroll Cave over the years. Please don’t hesitate to share your comments or concerns either with me or any board member.