The Kentucky Caver Quarterly Proceedings of the
Bluegrass Grotto: the North Central Kentucky Area Chapter of the National Speleological Society
page 04  [contents] (< prev) (next >)
 vol. 40. iss. 1, December 2005
a prescription for their restoration. In a two-hour tour of the Minton, Middle, and Left areas of Sloans, Kennedy determined that the once-plentiful bat population had thickly occupied the very same passages that cavers use to get to the Duck-Under and the main cave passages. In a subsequent report, “Assessment of Three Hibernacula, Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky, May 11-12 2005” (available via email from this columnist), Kennedy recommended that the Minton Entrance be gated and that further gates be installed inside the cave, to prevent human access to past bat-populated areas, in aid of restoring the once-plentiful populations. This prescription for bat population recovery would totally deny cavers access to an area of Sloans that they have long explored and protected. A spirited response to the report’s shortcomings was provided by fabled Sloans cavers including Bill Walden and Mark Turner, but this has apparently been totally ignored by BCI and the USFS.

During the summer months, the USFS installed a number of bat data-loggers along the ceiling edges of the main passage from the Minton Entrance to the Duck-Under, for a medium-term study of the numbers of bats presently using the area. I have no clue if we will hear anything more about this until gates are installed. Inclusion of the caving community in this project is advisable, wouldn’t you agree?

ACCA/BCI Seeking Cave Location Information. No matter how you feel about the necessity of gating caves – and I fall on both sides of this one – it is happening. I am all for effective cave protection, but I am against cavers being used as cave gate construction grunt workers and then discarded as just so many cave vandals – locked out and lied to.

That said, I have been contacted by Chris Clark,

employee of the American Cave Conservation Association, with the following request, which I am including here in case you would like to provide him with the information he is seeking:
    “I have just got accepted to do a field study of bats and saltpetre caves in KY with Bat Conservation International.  We have been asked by the lady leading the group [Cat Kennedy] to try and find maps, directions, and cave owners information to help move the project forward.  I am listing the following caves and their quadrangle location as I have them.  They are located in the Rockcastle, Wayne, and Pulaski county areas.  I have also contacted the Greater Cincinnati Grotto for help."
    “Here are the caves and quad location:
     * Hargis Saltpetre Cave--Hail Quad
     * Piney Grove Saltpetre Cave--Dykes Quad
     * Ranch Cave-- Unknown Quad
     * Saltpetre Cave--Shopville Quad
     * Nameless Cave--Dykes Quad
     * Saltpeter Cave--Dykes Quad
     * Saltpeter Pit--Dykes Quad"
      “I didn’t know if you had any information or could tell me whom to contact.  Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.”  Chris Clark’s email address is:

Further asking around indicates that the long-term goal of this project is to protect significant bat caves by gating them.<readers
response> No response has been provided to a query asking if this project is part of mitigation measures for the proposed new interstate, I-66, that would devastate this cave and karst-rich region of Kentucky.