WVACS!

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Mission:

To explore, survey, and study caves and karst in southeastern West Virginia and to assist karst researchers of all interests.

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wvacs.cavers@gmail.com

A Brief History

The West Virginia Association for Cave Studies (WVACS) was founded by cavers from Charleston, West Virginia who wanted to explore and study the Great Savannah caves of Greenbrier and Monroe Counties, West Virginia. Among the largest of these were The Hole, McClungs, Benedicts, Ludington, Maxwelton and Organ Caves.

For many years, members of WVACS made use of a farm house on the premises of a large commercial farming operation known as Kathy's Farm.The need for a new, larger place of operations was recognized in the early 1980's. The Richmond Area Speleological Society (RASS) generously provided $20,000 toward the purchase of six acres atop a flattened spur of Butler Mountain in northern Greenbrier County. A cozy, one and one-half story building was constructed on the site. The location was chosen in part because of beautiful views of Butler Mountain, but it is no coincidence that caves, including Buckeye Creek Cave, surround the spur. Years later WVACS'ers dug open a small cave on the property and, aptly, named it WVACS Cave.

The late 1980's saw WVACS benefit greatly from another act of generosity. Bob Handley, a founding member of WVACS, was then an employee of Union Carbide. He became aware that Union Carbide was replacing a one-story building. Bob asked and was given permission to take possession of the building on behalf of WVACS. The building was carefully disassembled, transported to WVACS, and reassembled. The "new" building is twice as large as the old building and contains a large meeting room among many other rooms. Today, by default, the buildings are referred to as Big Building and Small Building. Not creative, but definitely descriptive!

The addition of the second building substantially improved WVACS' mapping, research, educational, and meeting capabilities. Significantly, roughly 75 cavers can now be hosted and many more can camp on the surrounding land (most of which is lawn). Many of the organizations 170 members meet for social events as well, such as the popular Christmas Party, held the second weekend of December every year. We have also allowed Grottos to use the property for their annual parties and caving adventures and even the "Young Timers Reunion" (YTR).

WVACS in Action
WVACS members have contributed to the survey of at least 350 miles of cave passages in West Virginia, and many more throughout the country and around the world. WVACS teamed up with the West Virginia Speleological Survey (WVSS) to publish a large bulletin that takes a comprehensive look at the caves and karst of the Buckeye Creek watershed. Additional bulletins are in various stages of preparations. Among the most heavily anticipated is the Culverson Creek Bulletin, which will include the first detailed map of the cave of the same name. The latter is in excess of 20 miles long and home to a diverse suite of cave passages and a very large stream.

As an institution, WVACS actively promotes research. The facilities are made available to scientists, including graduate students who have lived in the fieldstations for months at a time. Students can now apply for grants too. As a part of this process, we attempt to encourage and support the collection of important speleological information as well as its dissemination through publications and newsletters.

The Management
Management and operations are prescribed by our bylaws: WVACS Bylaws. A democratically elected Board of Directors, each serving staggered 5-year terms, together with Officers (one-year terms) manage the organization. Quarterly business meetings are held, which consist of two parts. A Member's meeting is held first and all present members are free to raise issues and vote. The following Director's Meeting is open to members, but only the Directors can move motions and votes. All major decisions are made during this meeting, including financial ones. Officers can serve as both a Director and Officer at the same time, but although Officers must be present and participate they have no voting rights unless they are a Director too.

Write us at wvacs.cavers@gmail.com if you have questions about WVACS.