View Full Version : Bloomington Cave Gate

02-10-2009, 08:02 AM

http://media.kansascity.com/smedia/2009/02/10/05/Bloomington_Cave.sff.standalone.prod_affiliate.81. jpg

Feds wants to tighten access to southern Utah cave
Associated Press Writer

For nearly a century, southern Utah's largest cave has drawn a mishmash of serious explorers, untrained spelunkers, Boy Scouts, teenage revelers, vandals, litterbugs and drinkers.

Now, after years of restoration work - including intensive sandblasting to get rid of graffiti and the removal of untold bags of garbage - the Bureau of Land Management is looking to tighten access to the 1.3-mile long Bloomington Cave.

A proposal now up for public comment would add locked gates at the cave's two entrances and limit entry to those with permits, which would be free and limited to 50 per day. Caving equipment such as reliable lighting and hard hats also would be required.

Jimmy Tyree, director of the BLM's field office in St. George, said the gates and new rules could be in place by this summer.

The change has been a long time coming, he said. Graffiti once greeted every visitor and trash littered many of the cave's labyrinthine passages and caverns. Some visitors lit campfires and others left thousands of feet of string behind as a way to find their way through the cave's six levels.

"There needed to be some sort of management controls in place," Tyree said.

Located about 15 miles west of St. George, the cave has a long, colorful history. There's evidence that American Indians spent time there, and inscribed names go back to the 1920s and 1930s.

The cave later became popular with touring students and teenagers looking for a place to party.

At one point in 1952, officials dynamited the cave's entrance because they were worried is was no longer safe. Teenagers quickly removed the rubble and reopened the entrance. Another attempt to shut off the entrance two years later also failed.

The cave became a popular target for graffiti with the advent of spray paint decades ago.

"The degradation has been going on a long time," said Kyle Voyles, a cave specialist at Arizona's Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument who has helped map Bloomington Cave.

The BLM put up an information kiosk near the entrance to the cave but it was damaged in a wildfire in 2006 and destroyed by vandals last year. It has since been replaced.

The proposed permitting system would include requirements for proper equipment and information about "cave etiquette."

The changes also may benefit some of the cave's lesser-seen residents. BLM officials believe the number of Townsend's big-eared bats declined as more people visited the cave. The agency is hoping the permit system will lessen the pressure on the bats' habitat.

The BLM's office in St. George is taking public comment on the proposal through Feb. 25.

02-10-2009, 08:22 AM
Good idea. You think on the north side they will block both entrances or just the part inside where they connect? The south entrance will be pretty easy I imagine.

02-10-2009, 08:28 AM
I think the Feds should ask for a chunk of the stimulus package to get a huge program going for this.

In reality, there's a dude in town that can build the gate for $200. But the Feds will require about $800,000 for the thing, have every aspect of it inspected, coded, and regulated.

I like the idea of clean caves too, but the Fed just costs too much to run things like this.

02-10-2009, 08:36 AM
Feds? I didn't even see that.... Crazy. I just assumed it would be done by the local BLM. Like you said, a gate for $200 and then a padlock for $20. Done. Oh... I'm gonna have to agree with you till I know the cost now. Very good point, lets see some $$ now.

02-10-2009, 02:18 PM
just fill it with cement. that will show the punks the feds mean business. :roflol:

02-12-2009, 11:35 AM

[quote]ST. GEORGE

02-21-2009, 03:45 PM
I realy hope that they do gate it. There is almost more graphiti in there than rock. I have some pics of the graphiti on my blog. http://utahcaves.blogspot.com/search/label/Bloomington%20Cave

My cousing and I spent 10 hours inside Bloomington Cave a few years ago searching for a passage my other cousin had found a few years before that. We never did find the exact passage and quickly learned that the cave truly is a very confusing and frustrating cave to explore! We would crawl though different passages for hours and end up coming back to the same spot that we started withouth realizing it. :wallbash: I may try to go back and give it another shot this year. Well see.

02-23-2009, 09:25 AM
So funny you mention that. My favorite room is the crystal kings cavern and favorite run is the "outer limits". So when I take a guest in, I try to show them those first. It never fails I get lost and have to backtrack 10 times to find them. And the sad thing is, I find myself using the graffiti to find my way. ok here is the room with the "big green penis on the wall", take a left, ahh here is the "bob wuz here 1999" ok now go right, "pink pot leaf" go up, etc.

03-19-2009, 07:58 PM
So as of now, is this cave still open? My cousin said he was just in it this last weekend.

At first I spaced out and forgot I've ever heard of this cave so I didn't ask him many details. He just said it was a long cave.

I wouldn't mind at least driving by it this weekend to see where it's at, for another time. I'll be in St George this weekend

03-20-2009, 07:05 AM
From what I hear they are going to get the management plan in place before the gate.
Here's some info:


Proposed Bloomington Cave Management Plan

The St. George Field Office-BLM is proposing to implement a management plan for Bloomington Cave to enhance resource protection for the sensitive biological, geological, and cultural/historical values of the cave; to improve visitor preparedness when exploring the cave, and to provide opportunities for high quality recreational and educational experiences at Bloomington Cave.

For more information see the Press Release.

To comment on the project please review the Notice of Availability, the Environmental Assessment (EA), or the Bloomington Cave Management Plan.

03-20-2009, 02:15 PM
Could I get some coordinates to the cave? Or is it something that people don't want published publicly?

I'm just interested in driving by it this weekend, I won't have time to explore it.

07-06-2009, 09:59 AM
Update for Bloomington
[quote]BLM to Implement New Bloomington Cave Management Plan July 6, 2009

St. George, Utah

07-06-2009, 10:58 AM
Nice! Hopefully after the next cleanup happens it will stay that way for a bit longer. Hopefully in about 10-20 years the urine smell and human feces will go away too, and this cave will be a lot more fun to explore.


07-08-2009, 08:10 PM
Just in there this weekend.

I looks like as of last Monday (7/6/2009), you need a permit from the BLM to explore the cave. The north side gate was complete, the south side is yet to have the lock put into the gate, but it is substantially done. I imagine the south side will be locked relatively soon as well.

On that note, why gate a cave as impacted as this one? I ok with gating... well, on second thought, not really ok with gating anything. I hate the notion that people who use a resource feel entitled to it as theirs and therefore should be able to restrict access to others merely because they don't like the way others use it. That said, I don't graffiti either, but IMO gating doesn't solve the underlying problem, the culprits just find another place to do their business.

In any event, the gate is there and it will soon be locked down to friends and family of the BLM. The permit is free. You just have to go get it. I think there is a way to do it online.

10-02-2009, 11:01 PM
but IMO gating doesn't solve the underlying problem, the culprits just find another place to do their business.

Yes...but they won't do it in Bloominton Cave. Not to be smart-ass, but how many caves do you know that are expendable? They can graffitii on trains, bridges, buildings all they want. Those can be painted over, but caves, petroglyphs cannot.

No Offense - but don't worry so much about your freedom here but rather the situation, although I do agree that gating isn't the solution, but look at the whole picture.

JUMAR! I have some solicited advice for ya, there should be stickied two threads that have Bloomington Cave and Nutty Putty Cave (online permits, maps, etc. for them).

Here is the official BLM info for Bloomington and the permit system (including maps): http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/st__george/recreation/caving.html

Here is the official info for Nutty Putty, Silly Putty, Rabbit Hole, etc. and the permit system (including maps).

10-03-2009, 10:44 PM
jman: good points all and I don't disagree in principle of the end goal -- but I do disagree fundamentally with the approach. I value freedom over impact, and I think everybody should have access.

One of my big beefs with the outdoor community generally is this attitude of "we use the resource and therefore we care about it more than everybody else," which translates to an effort to preclude people from access.

It is a sort of elitism that I see with Park Rangers that drives me nuts in Zion (and everywhere else) -- they (the rangers) get access to the whole park, but us mere mortals can only access what they say we can access, when they say we can access it, and how they say we can access it. Who are they to decide what is best for the particular resource? I am as much an owner as they are.

What I am about to say isn't intended personally or meant to be offensive, but it is an issue that really bothers me, so I raise it.

I am sure your particular point of view is informed largely because you have access to just about everything you want. But will you sing the same song if all of the sudden you find yourself locked out of a cave or denied access to a trail, etc. because the people who are making the rules don't agree with your particular ethic, or believe your ethic to be flawed or destructive to the resource? I am going to bet that irrespective of what you or anybody else here has to say, there would be some ranting and raving were you the one to show up at the cave only to find it closed. And when I say "you," I mean the outdoor community generally.

My belief is that there are people out there who would just as soon see nobody have access to the caves whatsoever. Do you agree they should be in charge of gate access? If not, how is you point of view any different? At the end of the day, both the no-access people and the limited access people all advocate an ethic not shared by other rightful owners.

In this case, bloomington cave is has been a local-know destination to visit with families and scout troops, and unfortunately grafitti artists and partiers who couldn't care less about the cave for the better part of a century. Why now? Has there been such an uptick in traffic that all of the sudden gates are now justified?

Moreover, nothing about the gates stops a group from taking spray paint down, beer down, or a trillion glow sticks down that are going to be there the next day. That is why I have a problem with the gates. I don't think the gate solves the problem. All it does is prevent a bunch of people who could otherwise learn a respectable cave ethic from the learning the ethic because they now cannot access the cave.

I have a different ethic. I believe our natural resources are to be free for all to use, provided the resource is public (and even some access to certain resources that are private). If impact is the problem (see property law discussion on the internet related the a topic called "the tragedy of the commons," assuming you aren't familiar with it already), then the resource should be privatized and the stewardship giving to somebody to monitor and address the impact issues with the promise of remuneration to cover stewardship costs.

That said, I can see how privatizing it isn't any better than a gate, except that a deed of sale can include encumbrances for public use, by allowing for a fee to be charged. Or better yet, what about a license system for caving -- no gates, but hefty fines being caught in a cave without a license?

10-08-2011, 06:47 PM
yup, the people that manage the caves just waste time and money

11-11-2011, 09:49 PM
Live Video undercover works everytime. Permits are just an excuse to steal money.
Most of this damage was done when Keggers were legal in Utah. The site up on top has been cleaned up big time compaired to the late 80's.

now the the kids have to be careful with their out of state Kegs as the costs/fines are out there.

11-12-2011, 11:37 AM
This cave is not even worth going into since the "cleanup" project. The huge amounts of silica sand, fine dust, and mud in there has made it super slippery and very very dangerous. And it's a huge ass mess in there now, it's filthy dirty with all the powder they made from blasting the walls. there is a thin ultra fine film of the slickest super slippery snot/slime over every single wall in this cave. 100x worse than the spray paint on the wall ever was. And why did they intentionally collapse the chamber at the bottom? That tunnel loopback to the other side was the most interesting part of the entire caving system. Now you have only one chamber and one path to take.

In my mind the "cleanup" project actually did more 100x damage to the cave than it helped. If you're going to go in and restore a cave, that doesn't mean you go in an F it up worse than it was. And intentionally collapsing the more dangerous part of a cave in the name of "public safety" is a joke. especially when you are the ones who actually made it dangerous now. Jackhammers do not belong in caves! I'm soo pissed and disgusted with this project, anyone who took part in it should be ashamed of themselves. You didn't "restore" anything, you completely screwed it up and endangered the public, then in the name of "safety" you now feel you have to close parts of it off.

Utterly retarded!!!!! :angryfire::angryfire::angryfire:

11-14-2011, 12:30 PM
That's what I'm saying. One of the cave managers uses tax dime to take his kids out in it and loses track of them, sending others in to retrieve them. The youngest he takes out, he just yells at all the time.

11-14-2011, 04:30 PM
well aren't you a stinker. how's them SC warriors? oh that's right, they suck.

hey...you edited your message. I enjoyed your unedited version better.

11-22-2011, 12:50 AM
Kyle Voyles is the one that helps outs with the the cave. He's real good at working 2 days out of the week and getting a salary from your tax dollars fraternizing with his coworkers.

11-22-2011, 08:32 AM
Also funny how much you changed your tune since 2006.

are grown adults not allowed to change their opinion based on their perception of new facts? not everyone has to agree

11-22-2011, 10:07 AM
Wow talk about misinformed malcontent. There's so much ignorance to your bashings that it'd be really easy to just throw your post down the garbage, but I'll go ahead and attempt to set you right so other posters don't get influenced by your nonsense.

First off, the sand that's used for the blasting is caught on tarps. Tarps are set up underneath the area being worked on. Obviously this doesn't catch all of the sand, a mere 5% could come off while they're moving it. Blasting only has happened in 5% of the cave. 5% of sand material in 5% of the cave. You do the math big boy. Who knows what you're talking about with the mud and slime.

You're truly insane for thinking graffiti is better than a bit of loose sand that was used to take it down. Graffiti made the entrances look like garbage (or maybe you like to crawl around in caves with penises spray painted in front of your face), Also, I've talked to one of the cave experts around here and there has been no man-made collapses done.

I don't know what your problem is but if you can't appreciate a project like that which has had many many people help out and endorse then you might be on the wrong website, or could just be all-out trolling. Who knows.

Yes I originally enthusiastically endorsed the project and even volunteered for it. That used to be my favorite cave and I would go in there all the time and pull trash out. I still think cleaning up the cave is a great idea. Now we just need to organize a "cleanup after the cleanup crew" party. I would much rather see huge penis on the wall than hear about a person falling and breaking their neck because of the conditions "you guys" created in a well traveled and very public cave. it's EXTREMELY dangerous in there now. Silica sand powder is a highly viscus material. Is your defense really that putting a "tarp" on the floor when you are SANDBLASTING in a closed chamber with zero ventillation really adequate cleanup of the mess? Really??? I think anyone familiar with the process can see the flaws in your logic here. I won't bother to comprehend how you think a tarp on the floor would even catch all the sand inside a cave with cracks and crevices and uneven surfaces. Looks to me like you used NOTHING AT ALL. It's a HUGE F-ing mess!

And yes you guys didn't screw up the whole cave. That point is valid. You just screwed up the main route into the "big room" 50% is accurate. I'll post a map of the damaged area highlighted in red. Heck i could even be saving a life by posting this if people avoid it. If you stay off the main route and only take the back entrance, it is possible to avoid the sections you guys damaged. Thank god you ran out of funds/time and we can still enjoy a portion of the cave you didn't molest. The caved in section will be circled in blue. It's obviously been done by a jackhammer and pretty easy to identify. My guess is that someone slipped on the huge mess made and got seriously injured. Then that section was closed off because it's too dangerous to travel and someone could possibly be killed. Again this is speculation on my part but I have heard of similar things being done. Nutty Putty comes to mind. But I don't know for sure it was done by the cleanup crew. Just that bringing a jackhammer/generator/cables that deep in the earth is a pretty serious operation and it seems feasible the cleanup crew had the resources to achieve this.

But again, you're right I don't know for sure WHO actually did it. Only that it was done during the same period the "cleanup" was done. And again, I use the term "cleanup" very loosely. Kinda like "hey I changed the oil in your car, but I accidentally took a dump on the front seat". But really the seat of the car is only 5%, you do the math on that and you'll see it's a win.


11-27-2011, 11:09 PM
Cave managers that can't handle their kids can definitely not handle a 'graffiti' clean up project.

11-27-2011, 11:33 PM

11-27-2011, 11:33 PM
edit: double post

11-28-2011, 10:13 AM
so the heads of the project tell them the cave is in for a cleanup project that he's ready to volunteer for (it's not like they were keeping it a secret that it was sandblasting- it was in the local papers), so years later is dawns on him how much he hates the idea? i see where the argument of sandblasting comes in, but I was just surprised to see his bi-polar responses on the subject.

I still think the Bloomington Cave should be cleaned up. My opinion has not changed in the last two years. We just now have to clean up a completely different mess. I guess we just have different opinions on what a "restoration" project is. To me it's bringing the cave back to it's natural state. Not leaving a highly viscous and slimey silica mud over every surface and making a huge mess. If they just brought a pressure sprayer in there and 50 gallons of water to clean up the mess and removed the silica sand, I would probably be pretty happy. This job was done very half assed.

Collapse was not done on the main route(s). Bottom of sandbox area into some of the more difficult and interesting parts of the cave. The exact point where the project started and one of the messiest rooms in the entire place. At least you are admitting the cave was not put back into it's "natural state", thanks at least being semi reasonable.

I love 3rd hand information "defense type" posts. Friggin hilarious. "I talked to an expert who knows a guy who is also an expert and related to a person who knows a guy on the internet, and he told me the gospel truth, I now pass it on to you and argue against your first hand experience".
LOL :lol8:

11-30-2011, 02:27 PM
I agree, we should bring the cave back to its natural state by shunning the caveman that helps manage it into its depths.

12-08-2011, 10:47 AM
Your first hand persistence of knowledge is funny considering on multiple occasions I've refuted your claim based on my contact AND first hand experience, yet you do not recognize this- and that is something no one can help.

In the end, despite all your displeasure with what they are doing with the cave, it's happening anyways. On the BLM's site, the cave's been characterized as one with many 'slippery' surfaces, many and many that aren't man-made. If you do your research and recognize this, your fumes come off as misguided and unpronounceable. I'm sure Kyle and Jon would love to hear your input on the matter, since you all seem to do is badmouth the money and effort put into it without actually lifting a finger (unless it's arguing with one of the actual volunteers on some forums somewhere on the Net).

TL;DRSome guy thinks the powers that be are jackhammering the cave in remote locations when they're not, and are saying the cave is too slippery for the general public.

I was thinking about this post, sorry missed your update, hence the late response. Glad I checked it.

It's weird how different our perceptions are. I live less than 10 miles from this cave and go into it all the time, or used to anyways, it's not really worth going in now. I will have to re-read your last posts, but don't recall you saying you had even been in the cave since the "cleanup" project. So I wasn't aware this was a "your first hand knowledge vs my first hand knowledge discussion". It seemed to me that you were "talking to experts" and had not been in the cave after the cleanup. You seem to be hung up on the jackhammer thing. I have stated previously I don't know who did it, and will state that again. For the rest of the points, I think a little story will help us understand one another.

SO I was visiting this cave in AZ with a friend. It's a pretty well known cave but I won't say the name. I have yet to visit any of the rare caves because I'm not in the "elite secret handshake club" yet. But this cave has some really cool tunnels with lots of water. At the bottom is this really cool crystal clear pool you have to swim through and pop up on the other side. This pool is literally the most gorgeous thing I have seen in my life. I would post pictures but none of them came out any good and could do the place justice. I have never seen anything like it in person. When we got to the perfectly clear pool we took off our clothes, put them in our waterproof bags and swam through the pool. So to some, this might seem very excessive and completely unneeded, but to us, even making the crystal clear pool filthy for the next person was desecrating the cave. Who knew how long the water had taken to filter through the rocks, and once dirt was introduced into this pool it would stir up each time and eventually ruin the effect for the next person visiting. We wanted to leave it exactly as we found it and not change a thing. So the next person could enjoy it exactly the same way. I'll stop here because obviously we don't understand one another and probably will never do so. It's pointless for me to continue I guess and I tend to ramble anyways.

So to me, sandblasting a neon green "bob wuz here 1989" is not worth the tradeoff of putting silica dust/slime all over the inside of the cave. It's not a fair tradeoff at all. The spray painting was limited, the silica slime.dust/residue covers every single wall. Making the huge mess it did, and not cleaning it up after, is inexcusable to me. I don't expect the "bob wuz here 1989" guy to care about the cave, but I expect the guy cleaning it up to. But I now realize it was probably just a funded project to generate revenue and they probably don't share my views on caving preservation. It's shocking to realize this, but now I do. So now that I understand the guy spray painting the walls and the guy sandblasting the walls are pretty much the same mindset, it's much easier for me to grasp and understand. Since you seem to have a short attention span and included a TL:DR on a 3 sentence post I shall do the same. :)

TL:DR - I take "leave no trace" ethics very seriously and expected the caving restoration people to be of the same mindset, but clearly they do not, and it shocked me. I'll get over it, eventually.


08-08-2012, 09:17 PM

The St. George Field Office (BLM) recently put together a 10 minute informational video on the caves. It's mostly a brief introduction with some history, but there is some interesting information regarding the sandblasting. Perhaps seeing a little bit about it might help people understand a bit more why that particular project exists.


The douche canoe that ruined the caves is at 9:40.