The Virginia Region of the National Speleological Society consists of 40+ local caving groups in and around Virginia and surrounding states. We promote the study and science of speleology, explore and maps caves, protect and conserve caves, manage limited access caves, and generally promote safe caving throughout the region, and promote fellowship and cooperation among all Regional cavers and organizations.
2019 Spring VAR
The 2019 Spring VAR will be hosted by James River Grotto at Camp Powhattan Boy Scout Camp, near Wytheville, VA. Details still being worked out.
2017 Region Record now on-line
The 2017 back issues of the Region Record have been posted in the Region Record Archives. To be fair to paying subscribers, back issues are embargoed for a year.
Sept. 30 - Oct. 2, 2016 Poorfarm Festival Grounds, Unus, WV Hosted by Greenbrier Valley Grotto
This will be a BYOB event. NO BEVERAGES PROVIDED. The landowner has a strict policy against glass bottles. Please bring your beverages in cans or plastic!
Possible showers Friday afternoon, then clearing. Sunny and cool the rest of the weekend, with highs in the 60s and lows in the low 40s - Fall has arrived!
There is a big open pasture for primitive camping. Porta-Potties provided, but there are no showers. There is space for RVs, but no hookups.
$35 for anyone over 12 ($40 at the door) $30 for children 5-12 ($35 at the door) Infants free No pets, please.
T-Shirts are available for $15 each, in sizes S, M, L, and XL. See below/
Pre-registration is now CLOSED. Please register on-site. You can still download the Registration Form (PDF) and bring it with you.
There will be led trips to several caves, and signup sheets will be available. Kids trip to Higgenbotham. Grapevine Pit (120') will be rigged with 2 ropes. Bring your vertical gear. Poor Farm Cave is within walking distance of the campground and is a nice cave Fullers, Wildcat, and Rimstone Falls are close. Fullers Waterfalls is a vertical cave. Organ Cave and Lost World Caverns (both commercial) are s short distance away.
In addition Poorfarm will be available and Rimstone Falls which is also on the property. Rimstone Falls is a very pretty but technical cave (not for the novice) and requires handlines and vertical techniques. Other caves nearby include Stove (vertical) and Wild Cat. All WVCC owned caves will be open. Plus, Pete Stephens, our host, has a dig on the property that he thinks may break into big cave. If there is interest, rocks need to be rearranged at Wild Cat and the entrance culvert reinstalled.
There will be a conservation project to reinstall the culvert leading into Wild Cat to reopen that entrance.
Greenbrier County also has many non-caving activities such as biking on the Greenbrier River Trail, floating on the Greenbrier River, Bear Town State Park, Greenbrier State Forest, and the towns of White Sulphur Springs ,and Lewisburg.
Pig and chicken dinner, BYOB Presentation by Dave Socky Music to follow by Wil and Zenah Orndorff and Septapus.
Sunday Morning: There is NO breakfast service. Plan on feeding yourself. VAR Business Meeting
More information coming soon.
Take I-64 to Lewisburg, WV, go north on Route 219 about 8.4 miles to the little town of Frankford. Turn left onto Williamsburg Road (CR 17) after the Post Office (beside McGraw Funeral Home) and follow Williamsburg Road for about 2.2 miles to the intersection of Germany Road and bear left and continue on Williamsburg Road. At 3,3 nukes you will be in downtown Unus, continue straight on Williamsburg Road. You will go up a hill and then back down and the Poorfarm will be straight ahead of you. It is 6.8 miles from Frankford to the entrance of Poorfarm and you will be on Williamsburg Road. the entire way.
8 miles. Do not take two right forks, do not take two left forks, stay on the road until you see the windmills and the signs saying VAR. Festival Grounds entrance is on your left. Note: This route is hilly and twisty.
This alternate route might be better for those hauling trailers and pop-ups: Take I-64 East to West Virginia and exit 161 (Alta WV)… Turn left off exit ramp, turn right on Rt. 60 east, then immediate left to "Williamsburg". Follow this road through downtown Williamsburg and take 2nd right on Frankford Rd, go one mile… See Festival Entrance on Right.
T-Shirts are available for $15 each, in sizes S, M, L, and XL.
Thanks to an enormous effort by Bob Hoke, most of the historic editions of the Region Record have been digitized for prosperity. Older issues had to be scanned as images. OCR was used to make the files searchable, but its accuracy is limited due to scanning poorly printed copies. Newer issues were natively exported to PDF.
Any issues that are not listed below were not available for scanning. If you have any of the missing issues, please let Bob borrow them to scan.
A cumulative index to the Region Record has never been compiled, but would be very useful. If anyone has time to kill and would like to take on this worthwhile project, please contact the Webmaster.
Since the Region Record is a benefit to paying members of VAR, inclusion in this on-line archives is delayed by four issues. If you want to see the issues sooner than that, subscribe!
Besides our biennial meetings, conservation activities comprise most of the Region's organized activity. We organize and participate in:
Aquisitions - We encourage our members to support the plethora of Cave Conservancies, who buy and/or manage caves in order to conserve them.
Biological Inventories - We survey caves to find out what creatures live where
Cave Bucks - an easy way to generate funds to buy caves.
Cave Gates - we have designed, built, or helped with the construction of gates on Allen's Cave, Baker Quarry Cave, Donaldson's Cave, Front Royal Caverns, Mt. Aetna Cave, Rapp's Cave, Siler's Cave, and many more
Sinkhole Cleanup Projects - Sinkholes are direct conduits from the earth's surface into underground aquifers. For too many years it was customary to throw trash, junk, old cars, and the occasional dead cow into the nearest sinkhole. The water leaching through the sinkhole goes directly into the water supply for nearby families. The Region has organized and assisted with many projects to remove old junk and debris from sinkholes, often partnering with government agencies for debris removal, directly improving the quality of water in local wells
Formation Repair and Vandalism Abatement: For caves where damage, either natural or by means of unacceptable human activity, we have the tools and techniques needed to repair formations to their former glory. Over the past 30 years, the VAR has been at work in Fountain Cave, where the damage is mostly natural, restoring over 500 formations over the years. Caves with easy access, like having a big entrance right next to a road (i.e. Island Ford) unfortunately suffer at the hands of less ethical visitors. We have frequent trips to clean up their trash, grafitti, and whatever else they have left behind or damaged.
Historical Documention - A number of caves in the Region were visited by Civil War soldiers and prominent civilians alike, many of whom followed the (now banned) custom of signing their name on the cavern walls. Grand Caverns (Weyer's Cave) and Melrose Caverns are two prime examples. VAR cavers help document the signatures of these individuals and research the history of the caves and their visitors.
Landowner support projects - we support the landowners who support us. For example, New River Grotto helped a long-supportive farmer install a fence and gate around a sinkhole to keep his cows out.
Spring Mapping Project - The Region supports local efforts to map springs, which lets us understand where local water supplies come from, potential pollutants the water passes under, and occasionally even find the cave or conduit the water passes through.