Keller Shaft, Mammoth Cave National Park

Keller Shaft, Mammoth Cave National Park
Keller Shaft, Mammoth Cave National Park, Photo by Roger Brucker

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Karst Rapid Response Handbook: Please use and help us improve this draft!

Following nearly a decade of successful karst-protective environmental and political activism, KEEP (Karst Environmental Education & Protection Inc) obtained a small grant from the NSS (National Speleological Society) to support the development of a "Karst Rapid Response Handbook" to help cavers and the public protect our caves, karst landscapes, and subterranean water resources.

A conference was held in Lexington KY in 2008; the handbook was drafted during 2009-2010 and made available to the NSS in draft form in 2010. Then ensued the inevitable delays that accompany volunteer labor.

In the following posts you will find the 2010 draft chapters and appendices - still incomplete, but open for your use, comments, improvements, additional examples and resources. Meanwhile we are working offstage to fill in the blank spots and to do a total overhaul of the tools available for karst protection activists: this type of campaigning has gone through a revolution in the past two years due to the global reach of social networking tools. It is difficult to fathom that when we began fighting to protect the Sloans Valley Cave system from the Pulaski County Landfill in the early '90s, the fax machine was our most powerful tool for invading the protected innermost offices of the state environmental agency!

However, while the tools available to us have improved at the same time that the laws protecting our natural resources have been weakened, the issues remain unchanged: Caves, cave rivers, cave springs, and karst landscape features such as karst windows, sinkholes and sinking creeks remain invisible to the public eye and extremely vulnerable to pollution and destruction.

This draft Karst Rapid Response Handbook -- aided we hope by YOUR suggestions along with our own improvements -- will point you in the right direction for taking effective action quickly when a developer decides to dump sewage into your beloved cave, build a parking lot or highway over it, or wipe out irreplaceable karst treasures via many other sad scenarios we know all too well.

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