Learn about Highland County Caves at the Highland Bird & Nature Club Meeting
At the Highland Bird and Nature Club’s May meeting, you can learn more about the abundant caves in Highland County. Rick Lambert will be making a presentation at the meeting. He is the head of the Highland County Cave Survey.
“The presentation there is kind of a celebration of the old cavers in Highland County,” says Lambert. “There are about a dozen that I can think of right now. It’s also a tribute to Mark Hodge, who died in Butler Cave back at the end of last year. It’s an opportunity for us to highlight some of the new discoveries that we have made in the past years and it’s also an opportunity to show off some of the professional photography that many of these old cavers do. We’re going to have a lot of photographs from inside some of the most beautiful caves in Highland County.”
Lambert has been caving since he was five years old. He says finding caves is like a sixth sense for him.
“I keep the database of the cave and karst features in Highland County,” says Lambert. “Highland County has about 400 caves in it that we know of, probably that many more that we don’t know of. I maintain the database and the maps and the information on those caves. Some of the caves in Highland County, and Bath County, are up to almost twenty miles long and it’s important to know where they’re at. It’s also important to know where sinkholes and different in feeders to those cave systems are, in the event that there would be a chemical spill or some sort of accident on a farm with either manure or pesticides or herbicides. That way you can tell approximately, maybe, where the pollutants will come out. Also, knowing where the caves are tells us where we get our drinking water from.”
The International Year of Karst is underway and Lambert explains why that’s important.
“Karst is being celebrated all over the world,” says Lambert. “It’s in the news right now. Generally, you only hear about karst when something bad happens, but the International Year of Karst is going on to try to educate everyone about the importance of karst and the fact that our groundwater comes from karst, our drinking water.”
To learn more, visit the Virginia Speleological Survey website at www.virginiacaves.org. The Highland County Cave survey is on that website.
Rick Lambert is speaking at the Highland Bird and Nature Club meeting, which is Monday, May 9, at 7pm at The Highland Center in Monterey.