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Thread: Bloomington Cave Gate
02-10-2009, 08:02 AM #1
Bloomington Cave Gate
Feds wants to tighten access to southern Utah cave
By MIKE STARK
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.
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02-10-2009, 08:22 AM #2
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.Your safety is not my responsibility.
02-10-2009, 08:28 AM #3
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 #4
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.Your safety is not my responsibility.
02-10-2009, 02:18 PM #5
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- Feb 2007
- I'm not sure anymore
just fill it with cement. that will show the punks the feds mean business.I can see your point, but you are still full of shit!
02-12-2009, 11:35 AM #6
ST. GEORGE — Bloomington Cave, near St. George, is a popular recreational destination for Washington County and northern Utah residents as well as caving enthusiasts from across the United States.
With more than a mile of complex passages, the cave’s terrain requires both
appropriate equipment and the technical caving skills to navigate and explore safely.
In addition to its recreational allure, Bloomington Cave also possesses highly valuable and unusual geologic formations and provides habitat for several bat species, reptiles, insects and other unique and delicate cave-dwelling life forms. Unfortunately, many of these geological and biological resources have been degraded by vandalism, graffiti, campfires and littering in recent years.
Proposals include managing recreational use through a no-fee permit system that limits group sizes and requires the use of appropriate cave safety equipment. Under this proposal, the public will receive information about cave safety, appropriate cave etiquette and cave resources and a new permanent kiosk at Bloomington Cave will be constructed. The St. George Field Office will take public comments regarding the Bloomington Cave Management Plan through Feb 25.
In 2005, an extensive graffiti cleanup project restored many of the cave walls to their near-natural state, but more work must be completed to further restore and protect Bloomington Cave.
Cavers, like 79-year-old Dale Green, a member of the Salt Lake Grotto, along with numerous other caving enthusiasts from groups like the Color Country and Timpanogos Grottos, support appropriate management plans that are essential to preserving this unique natural resource. The “Grottos,” or caving groups, assist BLM in monitoring, restoration and management activities at Bloomington Cave.
The Bloomington Cave Management Plan can be reviewed in its entirety online
(2 of 2)
Copies are also available at the BLM Utah, St. George Field Office: 345
East Riverside Dr., St. George, Utah.
All public comments must be received on or before the close of business, Feb. 25, to be fully considered. Please clearly include the title “Bloomington Cave Management Plan” in your correspondence. Comments submitted after Feb. 25 will be considered to the extent feasible.
Written comments may be submitted by letter to: Bureau of Land Management,
St. George Field Office, Attention: Dawna Ferris-Rowley 345 East Riverside Dr., St. George, UT 84770.
Electronic comments may be submitted by e-mail to: Dawna_Ferris@blm.gov.
Before including your address, phone number, email address or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment — including your personal identifying information — may be made publicly available at any time. While you may ask us in your comment to have your personal identifying information withheld, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
For additional information regarding the public comment period, please contact Dawna Ferris-Rowley, Assistant Manager, BLM Utah St. George Field Office at 688-3216 or via E-mail at Dawna_Ferris@blm.gov.
02-21-2009, 03:45 PM #7
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- Sep 2008
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...mington%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. I may try to go back and give it another shot this year. Well see.
02-23-2009, 09:25 AM #8
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.
Your safety is not my responsibility.
03-19-2009, 08:58 PM #9
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, 08:05 AM #10
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, 03:15 PM #11
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, 10:59 AM #12
Update for Bloomington
BLM to Implement New Bloomington Cave Management Plan July 6, 2009
St. George, Utah—On July 6, 2009, the Bureau of Land Management, St. George Field Office will implement a new management plan for Bloomington Cave, a popular recreation destination located in Washington County. The new management plan provides greater protection for species and fragile geologic features found within the cave.
As part of the planning process this winter, the BLM called for public comments on the proposed management plan. At the close of the public comment period on February 25, 2009, after reviewing all feedback, the BLM finalized the Bloomington Cave Management Plan and began preparing to implement a permit system which will begin July 6, 2009.
For casual spelunkers and experienced cavers from national and international locales alike, the shift in management will mean a few significant changes when it comes to trip planning and exploring the cave.
Under the new permit system, visitors to Bloomington Cave can apply for one of three, free permits available daily. Each permit entitles a minimum of three individuals or a maximum of 10 individuals, access for the day into Bloomington Cave. Beginning July 6, 2009, permit applications will be available online or at the Interagency Visitors Center at 345 East Riverside Drive, St. George, Utah from 8am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday. Group leaders must be 18 years of age or older. All participating minors under the age of 18 require the signature of a parent or guardian. Boy Scout groups must adhere to approved Boy Scouts of America caving guidelines.
Applications can be completed online and submitted via E-mail-with the exception of minors under the age of 18 whose parental signatures are required. Applications should include three choices for intended use dates as well as the names and contact information for all party members.
With more than a mile of complex passages, the cave's terrain requires both appropriate equipment and the technical caving skills to navigate and explore safely. The new management plan and permit system therefore require a minimum level of preparedness before entering the cave. Complete, detailed information regarding the new permit system, application process and management plan can be viewed online at: http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/st__g...on/caving.html
In addition to its recreational allure, Bloomington Cave also possesses highly valuable and unusual geologic formations and provides habitat for several bat species, reptiles, insects, and other unique and delicate cave-dwelling life forms. Unfortunately, many of these geological and biological resources have been degraded by vandalism, graffiti, campfires and littering in recent years.
"That's why the St. George Field Office is moving to further protect this valuable resource," said Jimmy Tyree, manager of the St. George Field Office, "to provide protection for species and geologic features and enhance visitor preparedness to safely explore Bloomington Cave. The plan improves the management of recreational uses and serves to further educate the public about cave resources," said Tyree.
Cavers like Justin Epps, with more than 13 years of caving experience and over 60 expeditions through Bloomington Cave, strongly believes that appropriate management will help preserve the cave's priceless resources.
"There are formations in there that people aren't aware of that are delicate and fragile like soda straws, flow stones and cave pearls. They are irreplaceable formations that take hundreds of thousands of years to make and if my great grandkids can see them, that would be great," said Epps, author of Cave Safely, Cave Softly, a guide geared toward teaching safe caving practices to youth instructors.
"To make people responsible when they go in there is the best thing you can do," Epps said.
To apply online for permits required beginning July 6, 2009 go to: http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/st__g...ve_permit.html
07-06-2009, 11:58 AM #13
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.
Your safety is not my responsibility.
07-08-2009, 09:10 PM #14
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- Sep 2007
- Orange County, California
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.
10-03-2009, 12:01 AM #15
Originally Posted by cilantro13
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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__g...on/caving.html
Here is the official info for Nutty Putty, Silly Putty, Rabbit Hole, etc. and the permit system (including maps).
10-03-2009, 11:44 PM #16
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- Sep 2007
- Orange County, California
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, 07:47 PM #17
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- Oct 2011
yup, the people that manage the caves just waste time and money
11-11-2011, 09:49 PM #18
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- Mar 2011
- southern Utah
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 #19
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!!!!!Your safety is not my responsibility.
11-14-2011, 12:30 PM #20
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- Oct 2011
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.
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