I think he said there were 38 of us out there, working on securing the defunct Ocala Caverns property. Recent vandalism included spray paint inside the cave on ceiling and walls. Jon S, Sean R and Bill W removed the paint last week using a wire brush on a drill. Over the years kids occasionally mess around in there, leaving trash within the old tourist attraction, but seldom painting the rock. The recent offense consisted of large, multicolored, crudely drawn spray painted peace symbols. Furthermore, it occurred between re-mapping trips by Sean R, Kitty M and Mike G. The paint was the last straw for them.
The landowner allows us to do pretty much whatever we want to do on the property. Jon and others communicate regularly with him, resulting in an excellent relationship. In the past we have conducted cleanups and practiced cave rescue on site, and a determined few like Bill W have dug for virgin passage. Other members have guided numerous scouts through the cave. Jon S put together a schedule that included working on the trails, fences and signs all this weekend, but so many people showed up that we finished the weekend’s goal by, like, right after lunch!
Bernice N laid out an incredible lunch spread, as big as Texas, or more appropriately, as long as Florida. Ziplock baggies lined up like fat dominoes filled with good food and condiments like several kinds of tasty pasta salad, pickles and olives, and raw fetal carrots. You could have a bowl of prepared garden salad, modified most anyway you wanted it, including with feta cheese, or just chow down a prepared chicken or egg salad sandwich. Yum.
Next weekend we intend to install a gate at the cave’s entrance, or I should say Tim F and Jon are going to install it. And maybe Mike Somebody? Others are assisting in one way or another, I don’t remember it all. We’ll see how it goes. Jon’s strategy seems to be to blitzkrieg the place this month to get the critical fencing repaired, new signage erected, regular sheriff’s patrols begun, and the last resort - construct a vandal-proof gate, all before the TAG Fall Cave-In and hopefully before vandals return. Whew! Ambitious! But we are ahead of schedule.
Additional work is planned for after the Cave-In, including the remaining fencing and dry cave gating. More money will be required to repair the back fence and gate the dry cave entrance. Contributions from anyone are welcome and should be sent to the FSS at:
The FSS is a nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation. We raise money almost solely for cave resource protection uses, primarily by purchasing cave-containing real estate and gating significant caves that are under particular threat of vandalism. We are sensitive to the need to allow wildlife free access to the caves we gate, and we make our caves available to good people for scientific, educational and recreational uses.