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NORTHEASTERN CAVE CONSERVANCY ANNOUNCES WINTER CAVE CLOSURES FOR 2014-2015
The Northeastern Cave Conservancy (NCC) announced today it is closing four of its caves for the winter, effective today, October 1, to protect hibernating bats in response to the continuing effects of the disease White Nose Syndrome.
 
The affected caves are Knox Cave, Dragon Bones Cave, Bensons Cave, and Merlin's Cave, all in New York State. Access to all the caves will return to their summer status after May 15th, 2015.
 
The other caves owned and managed by the NCC will remain open for visitation under regular visitation policies.
 
Action by the NCC parallels that of the National Speleological Society, which is also closing its three New York cave preserves October 1 – Schoharie Caverns, Gage Cave (Barton Hill Preserve), and McFail’s Cave.
 
The NCC advises all cavers to clean and decontaminate their gear and clothing according to the protocols found on the US Fish and Wildlife web site at https://www.whitenosesyndrome.org/. In addition, any gear and clothing used here should not be taken out of the region, in an effort to contain the disease.
 
The Northeastern Cave Conservancy is committed to the conservation, study, management, and acquisition of caves and karst areas having significant geological, hydrological, biological, recreational, historical, or aesthetic features. The NCC owns and manages 8 Cave Preserves containing 15 known caves in the Northeast.

 
Bensons Cave Acquired by the NCC
Bensons Cave, Schoharie County, NY was donated to the NCC by the United States Cave Conservancy (USCC) on March 11, 2014. Bensons is an important link in the master cave system and watershed which runs from Secret Caverns, through Bensons, Barytes (and therefore Wolferts), and out into the mines under the Howes Cave quarry. Since the water from the Howe Caverns system resurges in the same area of the mines, this could be argued to be the connection between Howe and Secret.
 
Bensons has been known about and explored for many years, and it was the foresight of ten cavers who pooled their personal funds in 1993 to purchase about 6.5 acres surrounding the entrances to the cave from the previous owner, Mr. Endre Rutsky. They formed the USCC with the assistance of caver-attorney Jim Harbison, and have preserved and managed the property since then.
 
Discussions to transfer Bensons to the NCC have been ongoing for the past few years with credit going to several Board members for their continued efforts, with special thanks to Emily Davis for her persistence.
 
In the Fall/Winter of 2013 the final papers were drawn, and on March 11, 2014 the transfer from the USCC to the NCC took place.
 
A Management Plan for the NCC's newest Preserve has been completed and Interim Preserve Manager Luke Mazza appointed. Property cleanup and the installation of a kiosk will commence this Spring and during the NRO weekend, May 17-18.
 
Bensons becomes Cave Preserve #8 of the NCC and a worthy addition. As well, it is a vital link in a major karst watershed and an opportunity to protect another drainage basin.
 
For further information, access and usage policies, see www.necaveconservancy.org, Bensons Cave Preserve.

 
NORTHEASTERN CAVE CONSERVANCY ANNOUNCES WINTER CAVE CLOSURES FOR 2013-2014
The Northeastern Cave Conservancy (NCC) announced today it is closing three of its caves for the winter, effective October 1, to protect hibernating bats in response to the continuing White Nose Syndrome crisis.
 
The affected caves are Knox Cave, Dragon Bones Cave, and Merlin's Cave, all in New York State. Access to both caves return to their summer status after May 15th, 2014
 
The other caves owned and managed by the NCC will remain open for visitation under regular visitation policies. Please note, at the Ella Armstrong Preserve use the new parking area at the preserve instead of the Knox parking lot.
 
Action by the NCC parallels that of the National Speleological Society, which is also closing its three New York cave preserves October 1 – Schoharie Caverns, Gage Cave (Barton Hill Preserve), and McFail’s Cave.
 
The NCC advises all cavers to clean and decontaminate their gear and clothing according to the protocols found on the US Fish and Wildlife web site at www.fws.gov/northeast/whitenosemessage.html. In addition, any gear and clothing used here should not be taken out of the region, in an effort to contain the disease.
 
The Northeastern Cave Conservancy is committed to the conservation, study, management, and acquisition of caves and karst areas having significant geological, hydrological, biological, recreational, historical, or aesthetic features. The NCC owns and manages nine non-commercial caves in the northeast.

 
Thacher Park Project Day
A day of ridgewalking, locating, and mapping caves in Thacher Park. If you don't know how to survey a cave, this could be a good chance to learn by working with an experienced team.
 
Saturday, 9/14/13, 9 AM at the Hop Field parking area. Thom will be there most of the morning handing out assignments if you're running late.
 
Bring water and a lunch.

 
NORTHEASTERN CAVE CONSERVANCY ANNOUNCES WINTER CAVE CLOSURES FOR 2012-2013
The Northeastern Cave Conservancy (NCC) announced today it is closing three of its caves for the winter, effective October 1, to protect hibernating bats in response to the continuing White Nose Syndrome crisis.
 
The affected caves are Knox Cave, Crossbones Cave, and Merlin's Cave all in New York State. Barring unforeseen circumstances, Knox and Crossbones will re-open in the spring.
 
The other caves owned and managed by the NCC will remain open for visitation under regular visitation policies. Please note, at the Ella Armstrong Preserve use the new parking area at the preserve instead of the Knox parking lot.
 
Action by the NCC parallels that of the National Speleological Society, which is also closing its three New York cave preserves October 1 – Schoharie Caverns, Gage Cave (Barton Hill Preserve), and McFail’s Cave.
 
The NCC advises all cavers to clean and decontaminate their gear and clothing according to the protocols found on the US Fish and Wildlife web site at www.fws.gov/northeast/whitenosemessage.html. In addition, any gear and clothing used here should not be taken out of the region, in an effort to contain the disease.
 
The Northeastern Cave Conservancy is committed to the conservation, study, management, and acquisition of caves and karst areas having significant geological, hydrological, biological, recreational, historical, or aesthetic features. The NCC owns and manages nine non-commercial caves in the northeast.

 
"WhiteNose Syndrome in the North America" presentation on May 3rd, 2012
The Schenectady Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club will be presenting a program titled "White Nose Syndrome in the North America" by Al Hicks. He will betracing the history of the WNS outbreak and the dramatic effect on batpopulations through photos and startling data obtained by arduous underground head counts.
 
The program will be at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library (475 Moe Road,Clifton Park, NY) on Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 7:00 PM.

 
NORTHEASTERN CAVE CONSERVANCY ANNOUNCES WINTER CAVE CLOSURES FOR 2011-2012
The Northeastern Cave Conservancy (NCC) announced today it is closing three of its caves for the winter, effective October 3, to protect hibernating bats in response to the continuing White Nose Syndrome crisis.
 
The affected caves are Knox Cave, Crossbones Cave, and Merlin's Cave all in New York State. Barring unforeseen circumstances, Knox and Crossbones will re-open in the spring. (Parking area, trail, and signage work still needs to be completed at Merlin's)
 
The other caves owned and managed by the NCC will remain open for visitation under regular visitation policies. Please note, at the Ella Armstrong Preserve use the new parking area at the preserve instead of the Knox parking lot.
 
Action by the NCC parallels that of the National Speleological Society, which is also closing its three New York cave preserves October 3 – Schoharie Caverns, Gage Cave (Barton Hill Preserve), and McFail’s Cave.
 
The NCC advises all cavers to clean and decontaminate their gear and clothing according to the protocols found on the US Fish and Wildlife web site at www.fws.gov/northeast/whitenosemessage.html. In addition, any gear and clothing used here should not be taken out of the region, in an effort to contain the disease.
 
The Northeastern Cave Conservancy is committed to the conservation, study, management, and acquisition of caves and karst areas having significant geological, hydrological, biological, recreational, historical, or aesthetic features. The NCC owns and manages nine non-commercial caves in the northeast.

 
NORTHEASTERN CAVE CONSERVANCY ACQUIRES COLUMBIA COUNTY MARBLE CAVE
Albany, NY, August 5, 2011 - The Northeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc. (NCC) today purchased over 35 acres of land containing two caves in Canaan, New York. The new preserve in Columbia County contains an unusually long and scenic marble cave which is also a significant bat hibernaculum.
 
The purchase is in keeping with the NCC's mission statement to protect caves and underground wilderness, and to provide a safe and environmentally educational experience to those who visit the caves and the overlying lands.
 
When Merlins Cave, the major cave on the preserve, was discovered, Michael Belknap and his wife Martha Burke-Hennessey immediately realized the desirability of turning their property over to a group which would carefully and safely manage the unique features present there.
 
After parking-area and trail-construction work is completed, the preserve will be open to the public. The caves themselves are somewhat technically challenging and will be open to experienced individuals only.
 
The NCC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization which owns and manages seven cave preserves with 13 caves on over 79 acres in New York State. It has been operating since 1978.

 
NORTHEASTERN CAVE CONSERVANCY NOW PROUD OWNERS OF ONESQUETHAW CAVE
The Northeastern Cave Conservancy (NCC) announced today it has become the owner of Onesquethaw Cave, a popular and significant cave in the Town of New Scotland, Albany County.
 
The ownership took place as the result of a property transfer authorized by the Albany County Legislature on March 13, 2011, moving ownership from the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy (MHLC) to the Northeastern Cave Conservancy.
 
“We are extremely pleased to assume responsibility for the preservation of this unique and significant cave,” said Robert Addis, NCC President. “Our long relationship with the MHLC and this cave made this a natural transition.”
 
Since 1998, the NCC has managed the Onesquethaw Cave Preserve for the MHLC. The cave features a sinking stream entrance and nearly a mile of cave passage. The cave is open to the public for visitation on a permit-only system. Details of the Preserve and permit process are available on the NCC website: www.necaveconservancy.org.
 
With the addition of Onesquethaw Cave, the NCC now owns six cave preserves, with a total of twelve caves on the properties. Onesquethaw Cave is open year-round, subject to permit conditions. As a sinking stream cave, it is subject to periodic flooding. This cave structure also makes the cave unsuitable for bats, which means it is unaffected by White Nose Syndrome, a fungal disease that has killed upwards of a million bats in the eastern United States.
 
Some of the other NCC caves are also open year-round. The remainder, those affected by White Nose Syndrome and containing hibernating bats, will re-open May 15, after all the bats have emerged for the season.
 
The NCC continues to advise all cavers in the Northeast to follow U.S. Fish and Wildlife cleaning and disinfecting protocols for all clothing and equipment used in area caves, and to not take any of this gear outside the region. See the NCC website for further information.
 
The Northeastern Cave Conservancy is committed to the conservation, study, management, and acquisition of caves and karst areas having significant geological, hydrological, biological, recreational, historical, or aesthetic features.
 
Appendix: Albany County legislative resolution: http://www.albanycounty.com/ departments/legislature/resolutions/2011/20110314/11-119.pdf

 
NCC caves to open on May 15th
All NCC caves will open on May 15th, 2011. The NCC advises all cavers to follow the WNS decontamination protocols found on the US Fish and Wildlife web site at http://www.fws.gov/WhiteNoseSyndrome/cavers.html. Any gear and clothing used in the northeast US should not be taken out of the region, in an effort to contain the disease. The Northeastern Cave Conservancy is committed to the conservation, study, management, and acquisition of caves and karst areas having significant geological, hydrological, biological, recreational, historical, or aesthetic features. The NCC owns and manages nine non-commercial caves in the northeast.

 
NCC Proposed Bylaw Change Announcement
Kappler moves: Bylaw V.6 is amended to read:
 
6. Elections. Trustees shall be elected by all eligible members in an election held before the second quarterly meeting. The Board shall establish procedures and timelines to conduct the election., and Bylaw V.6.a is deleted.
 
The current Bylaw:
 
6. Elections. Elections of Trustees shall be by written ballot sent to eligible members at least three weeks prior to the second quarterly meeting.
6.a An election tie shall be broken at the meeting following the election by a written ballot of those current officers, continuing trustees and newly elected trustees, excluding any trustee who is involved in the voting tie.

 
The proposed bylaw change will be voted on by the members present at the next board meeting, which will be on March 20th at 10:00AM in the main building at Five Rivers DEC in Delmar.

 
NCC Announces Cave closures for winter 2010-2011
The Northeastern Cave Conservancy (NCC) announced today it is again closing three of its caves for the winter, effective October 3, to protect hibernating bats in response to the continuing White Nose Syndrome crisis.
 
The affected caves are Knox Cave, Crossbones Cave, and Ella Armstrong Cave, all in New York State. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the caves will re-open in the spring.
 
The other caves owned and managed by the NCC will remain open for visitation under regular visitation policies. Details about all NCC caves and visitation may be found on the NCC web site at www.necaveconservancy.org.
 
The NCC advises all cavers to clean and decontaminate their gear and clothing according to the protocols found on the US Fish and Wildlife web site at www.fws.gov/northeast/whitenosemessage.html. In addition, any gear and clothing used here should not be taken out of the region, in an effort to contain the disease.
 
The Northeastern Cave Conservancy is committed to the conservation, study, management, and acquisition of caves and karst areas having significant geological, hydrological, biological, recreational, historical, or aesthetic features. The NCC owns and manages nine non-commercial caves in the northeast.

 
NCC 2nd Annual Barn Dance
The Northeastern Cave Conservancy (NCC) will be holding the 2nd annual Barn Dance on October 16th, 2010 at the Octagon Barn on Middle Road, Knox, NY to raise money for the purchase of Merlin's Cave.
 
All are welcome! $15 adults, $30 family, children under 12 free. Featuring Paul Rosenberg and the Tamarack!
 
Please see the barndance page for more information!

 
NCC Announces Cave closures for winter 2009-2010
The Northeastern Cave Conservancy (NCC) announced today it is again closing three of its caves for the winter, effective October 1, to protect hibernating bats in response to the continuing White Nose Syndrome crisis.
 
The affected caves are Knox Cave, Crossbones Cave, and Ella Armstrong Cave, all in New York State. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the caves will re-open in the spring.
 
The other caves owned and managed by the NCC will remain open for visitation under regular visitation policies. Details about all NCC caves and visitation may be found on the NCC web site at www.necaveconservancy.org.
 
Action by the NCC parallels that of the National Speleological Society, which is also closing its three New York cave preserves October 1 – Schoharie Caverns, Gage Cave (Barton Hill Preserve), and McFail’s Cave.
 
The vote to close these caves was taken at the NCC’s quarterly meeting Sunday, at Sam’s Point Preserve, in Cragsmoor, NY. NCC Board member, Al Hicks, bat specialist for the NY Department of Environmental Conservation, advised that closing later would subject bats already gathered for hibernation to unnecessary disturbance.
 
The NCC also heard from Carl Herzog, also with NYDEC, on the results of summer acoustical monitoring surveys. These surveys showed that certain bat species affected by White Nose Syndrome – Little Brown Bats, Northern Long-Eared Bats, Tri-colored Bats (Eastern Pipistrelles), and Indiana Bats – are virtually gone from the region due to WNS.
 
NCC President, Robert Addis, said, “Closing these particular caves in conjunction with the National Speleological Society caves, will allow us to study the continuing impact on the bats in these affected sites, and hopefully permit the remaining bats to begin to recover their historic numbers.” Bats typically give birth to only one pup a year, so population recovery will take years. White Nose Syndrome is believed to have killed well over a million bats. It has now been documented in nine states. Experts predict it will spread to more this winter.
 
The NCC advises all cavers to clean and decontaminate their gear and clothing according to the protocols found on the US Fish and Wildlife web site at www.fws.gov/northeast/whitenosemessage.html. In addition, any gear and clothing used here should not be taken out of the region, in an effort to contain the disease.
 
The Northeastern Cave Conservancy is committed to the conservation, study, management, and acquisition of caves and karst areas having significant geological, hydrological, biological, recreational, historical, or aesthetic features. The NCC owns and manages nine non-commercial caves in the northeast.

 
March 29TH, 2009 NORTHEASTERN CAVE CONSERVANCY CLOSES CAVES UNTIL MAY 15, 2009
Schoharie, New York - The Northeastern Cave Conservancy on Sunday voted unanimously to close all of its caves until May 15, 2009. Caves immediately affected include Clarksville, Onesquethaw, and those on the Selleck's Preserve. Other NCC Caves have been closed for the winter to protect hibernating bats.
 
The NCC action follows Thursday's call by the US Fish and Wildlife Service for a moratorium on caving to reduce the risks of further spread of White Nose Syndrome, which has been killing bats across the northeast and now spread to the Middle Atlantic States.
 
In addition to closing its caves until May 15, the NCC action called for the Conservancy to "in the interim work with the USFWS to improve the efficacy of their cave advisory of March 26, 2009 toward our common goal of limiting the spread of White Nose Syndrome."
 
NCC President, Robert Addis, said, "The NCC has been deeply involved in the investigation and management of White Nose Syndrome since its discovery, and we want to do everything we can to continue to help. We look forward to discussing with the USFWS how best to do this," he added.
 
The meeting was attended by cavers and conservancy members from throughout the northeast, as well as at least one adjoining landowner. They and NCC board members raised specific concerns about several components of the USFWS advisory.
 
The concerns included potential vandalism and other damage to NCC preserve and adjoining landowner properties if the caves were closed for an extended period of time.
 
Others raised issues about the loss of educational opportunity about White Nose Syndrome for the thousands of people who routinely visit the NCC caves. Others were concerned about the financial impact on the primary mission of the NCC of raising money to acquire and protect significant cave and karst resources.
 
"As experienced cave managers since 1978, we have some additional considerations that need to be balanced in the context of helping to contain the spread of WNS," Addis said.
 
"We hope to be able to work with the USFWS to refine and improve how our shared goal is met."

 
March 4th, 2009 - Cavers asked to help with NY bat counts - Time is tight!
Al Hicks (DEC) has asked for cavers to help with NY bat counts this year. The list of caves to be counted and the survey form is can be found here. Please be sure to follow all landowner rules.
 
The DEC has 2 cameras that cavers can borrow if they need them (Albany area DEC). As soon as you know which cave(s) you would like to do or have done please send contact Christa Hay at ChristaHay@yahoo.com or C.Hay@ctmale.com so that the number of duplicate trips can be minimized.

 
September 25th, 2008 - NORTHEASTERN CAVE CONSERVANCY CLOSES CAVES TO COMBAT WHITE NOSE SYNDROME IN BATS
The Northeastern Cave Conservancy (NCC) announced today it is closing three of its caves for the winter, effective October 1, to protect hibernating bats in response to the continuing White Nose Syndrome crisis in the northeast.
 
The affected caves are Knox Cave, Crossbones Cave, and Ella Armstrong Cave, all in New York state. The caves are scheduled to re-open May 15, 2009.
 
The other caves owned and managed by the NCC contain few or no bats, and will remain open for visitation. Details about all NCC caves and visitation may be found on the NCC web site at http://www.necaveconservancy.org.
 
Action by the NCC parallels that of the National Speleological Society, which is also closing its three New York cave preserves for the winter – Schoharie Caverns, Gage Cave (Barton Hill Preserve), and McFail’s Cave.
 
Knox, Schoharie, and Gage Caves were three of the initial “ground zero” sites where White Nose Syndrome devastated bat populations over the past two winters, including the federally-endangered Indiana bat.
 
White Nose Syndrome remains a mystery. Caving organizations, scientists, and wildlife officials have been coordinating activities in an attempt to find what caused hundreds of thousands of bats to literally starve to death. Researchers are currently examining bats as they prepare to go into hibernation to see if they have adequate stores of body fats necessary to survive the winter.
 
NCC President, Robert Addis, said, “Closing these particular caves in conjunction with the NSS and Fish and Wildlife officials, will allow us to study the continuing impact on the bats in these affected sites, and hopefully permit the remaining bats to begin to recover their historic numbers.” Bats typically give birth to only one pup a year, so population recovery will take years.
 
White Nose Syndrome has affected virtually every cave and mine used by bats within an 80-mile radius of the initial sites, including in NY, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Cavers and other visitors to any caves in the northeast are asked to avoid visiting any caves with bats during the hibernation season.
 
In addition, anyone visiting caves outside the region or moving from an affected site to a clean site is asked to clean and decontaminate their cave gear and clothing according to protocols found on the US Fish and Wildlife web site at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/whitenosemessage.html The Northeastern Cave Conservancy is committed to the conservation, study, management, and acquisition of caves and karst areas having significant geological, hydrological, biological, recreational, historical, or aesthetic features. The NCC owns and manages nine non-commercial caves in the northeast.
 

 
NORTHEASTERN CAVE CONSERVANCY RE-OPENS CAVES - Cavers asked to continue decontamination of gear
The nine New York caves owned and managed by the Northeastern Cave Conservancy will open for summer visitation as scheduled on May 15. Caves are open according to the normal conditions, which may be found on the NCC website: http://www.necaveconservancy.org.
 
These caves include the highly popular Clarksville Cave and Knox Cave, used by many youth groups. Also opening are Onesquethaw Cave, Crossbones Cave, Ella Armstrong Cave, Ladder Cave, Selleck’s Cave, Cave 575, and Levy’s Cave.
 
Cavers are asked to continue the decontamination of clothing and gear according to the protocol advisory issued by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. These may be found at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/white_nose.html
 
The NCC caves had been closed since February 10, due to White Nose Syndrome, which is responsible for the deaths of thousands of bats in the Northeast. The NCC has been collaborating with the NY Department of Environmental Conservation and the US Fish and Wildlife Service with investigations and bat surveys over the winter.
 
May 15 marks the historical end of hibernation in this region, and the bats will have gone to their summer roosts. There is no evidence that WNS is harmful to humans. There is also no evidence at this point that humans are responsible for spreading WNS, but scientists are not ready to completely rule it out, and continue to be extremely cautious about the potential for WNS to spread beyond the northeast region of the US.
 
There is general consensus that there is no reason to restrict cave visitation in the NCC caves for the summer, as long as decontamination protocols are followed. Detailed instructions on the proper sanitation of various types of equipment are provided on the USFWS web site (see above). Alternatively, individuals should dedicate separate sets of equipment for use in affected and non-affected caves.
 
A letter is going out to more than 80 groups who have historically used the caves to explain the visitation process and decontamination protocols.
 
Cavers and the public are advised that the caves will remain open for the summer months, provided no evidence is found that cave access by humans during this time period is having a negative effect on the bat populations.
 
While no decision has been made at this time, it is possible that caves in the Northeast harboring bats, which are usually open for visitation in winter, may close this year by October 15th. This is the accepted standard date for the beginning of winter hibernation season in the northeast.

 
NORTHEASTERN CAVE CONSERVANCY CLOSES CAVES - Cavers asked to assist in combating bat deaths

 
Donation Information
Your donations to the NCC are tax deductible and particularly useful to those who itemize their returns. Letters thanking you for your 2007 donations will be sent out in early January and if you don't receive it, email emily@Speleobooks.com to request one. Due to their travel plans, the second wave of donation letters will come out late January or the first part of February in plenty of time to include in your taxes.

 
General Permit Information
General permit information for all the NCC managed caves can now be found on the resources page of the website.