The Texas Speleological Association-
Colorado Bend State Park Project
Park Rules need to be followed
All Park rules are to be followed. Just because we are doing work for the park does not mean that we can do as we want! We are shown some leeway when we are in our camp. This means when in the open parts of the park: Pets Must be on their leash, No driving "off road", no gathering firewood, do not remove any plants, rocks, or anything historic (old bottles, arrowheads, etc.). Try not to do anything that might make a paying park visitor ask questions of the park personal, let's not be a problem, or a nuisance.
Caving in the Park on non-project weekends
In a nut shell, there is no caving in the park on non-project weekends!! If you must get under ground, you can visit and pay for a "Wild cave tour". If you want to do this, stop in at the office and find out what times you need to be where and how much it will cost. We hope that in the future we will be able to go caving in the park using some sort of permit system. Until that time we are collecting data which will help this come about.
Visits to Gorman Cave
At the present time we may be allowed ONE trip into Gorman Cave per Project Weekend. It may be scheduled for Saturday night, after dinner and after the bats have had a chance to leave. There is a bat study in progress in the cave and we need to be as nondisruptive as we can be. The TPWD biologists did not what us or anyone else to enter the cave until the study was done. There is also the Walking Cave Tour going to the cave in the daytime, and we do not want to interrupt or meet up with these Paying park visitors.
Visits to the Falls
Persons wishing to visit the falls should check with the project manager and find out if and when it is acceptable to visit. When visiting the falls you must stay off the falls! Stay on the deck on the north bank of the creek where you can get a good view of the falls. You should take the trail to the bottom of the falls and not climb down the hillside. The trail head is just a little ways up the road from the "Conference Center". You will have to be out of the falls area before any tours of paying park visitors show up.
The Project meets on the second Saturday of every month, from September until about May. You can show up and camp Friday evening, (and make the CTG meeting in Lampassas), or you can show up on Saturday morning. We will be at the park regardless of the weather. Rain or shine, freeze or roast, we are there.
Who is in charge
The Project Managers are:
Dale Barnard (Project Historian), Terry Holsinger (Project Coordinator)
Who can come
Cavers of all skill levels are encouraged to attend and help with the work going on in the park. If you would like to attend a project weekend, contact a project manager for further information.
Where to meet
At this time, All trips will meet and depart from the "caver" campground. To get to this location from the park entrance continue down the park road, past the Super's House on your right. continue down into the dry creek bed past the sign that read "ONE LANE ROAD AHEAD" up out of the creek, then past the gravel road to your left. From this road it is about a 1/4-1/2 mile to the "Track" to the left that leads past a sign that read " THIS AREA CLOSED TO PARK VISITOR" and through the trees and over the rocks into camp. If you pass this road you will se a "SPECIAL PARKING AREA" on your left. Use this spot to turn around and look for the "Track" to your right. This location may change in the future, so if you have not been out in a wile, contact a project manager.
When to meet
You Must be in camp by 9:30 Saturday morning to sign the release form, and get your "assignment" for the day. If you can't make it by this time you must let the project manager know this ahead of time. if you are just running a little bit late you need to check in at camp first then go to the Park Office and sign the release form, then return to camp to get your "assignment". If you show up late enough that no one is in camp, go to the Park Office and sign the release form, then return to camp to check to see where we are working and proceed to that spot. If this information is not available in camp, stay in camp until some one returns. Do Not just go off caving. Some of the caves are closed to us on Saturday so that the park can run tours. Some are closed for bat studies. Do Not Visit Lemons Ranch Cave, Biscuit Can Cave, Turtle Shell Cave, Cicurina Cave, the Falls area, or Gorman Cave without checking with a project manager first.
What we are doing
We are conducting a karst inventory for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. This will help in the development and preservation of the park. It is also the first step in one day opening the park to recreational caving.
How we are doing it
First thing on Saturday morning, one of the project managers will get you to sign the release form. No caving is to be done with out first signing this form. This normally happens as every one is eating breakfast, waking up, or arriving. As cavers get ready, they check with the project manager to see what they need to do that weekend. If you have a special interest in doing a specific task let us know. Most of the time it is no problem to do what you want. After you have a task and the rest of your team is ready, you head out to the part of the park were you will be working. You will normally take a "lunch" with you as most teams stay out until near dark. When you are done your team heads back to camp, where you can relax, eat, or join another team and head back out. If you want, you can work (cave) all night. If you are out late and return to a sleeping camp, try not to wake everyone. Also if you are an early riser, try not to be to noisy, as you might end up on a grouchy trip.
Remember we are in a state park, and park rule do not allow ground fires. The campfire is to be kept reasonable, and in the evening it should be kept small enough so that those who are going to cook on it can do so with out fear of burning up. Sunday morning the fire is not to be built up, so that it will be easily put out before we leave. This may be early so don't add wood if there is a good bed of coal. After anyone who needs to cook on the fire has done so the fire should be put out, and every one should be either packing to leave or checking in with a project manager about more caving. If you are thinking about a "Falls" trip, You need to talk to a project manager Saturday night and follow any directions for the weekend.
We are trying to maintain a high level of quality in our data gathering (surveying et. al.). So that we can use all the data we get, we ask that all sketches print large enough and clearly enough so that anyone can read the data with out inducing blunders. Start each cave with a list of team members, the date, what the caves SAB number is, is the data in meters (preferred) or feet. List the scale, and which way is north. If you work on/in more then one cave, start a new page for each cave, and include all the requested data. We request that you use meters unless your tape is only in English. Try to do your sketches at about 1:50 for small caves and no larger then 1:200 if you are working on one of the larger systems. We need to have vertical profiles (running profiles) for all the caves. Cross sections are also needed. Indicate if there is any obvious geology, and if it looks like any water flows in the cave. If you run into "BAD AIR" do not go further then you are comfortable with. We can always try later when the air might be better. Indicate in you notes where the "BAD AIR" started and how bad it was. When you reach the "End" of your survey, make a note as to how the cave "ends". This will help us to determine if the cave needs any further work. If you see any animals in the cave, put that information in your notes. There is a bat study going on in the park, and any data is of use.
What to do with the DATA
All data must be handed over to the project manager or the trip leader. This is to be done as soon as you return to camp. This way nothing get lost and needs to be done over. After the data is copied, filed, processed and given to the park, a copy will be returned to those who want one. All data is property of the TSA-CBSP project.
What happens to the Data?
What needs to be done
On Sundays we are allowed to "play" in exchange for our labors on Saturday. We can visit some of the better/"finished" caves just for fun. If you want to do some more work, this is encouraged
Problems / Accidents