In the fall of 1998, the day after we purchased Hall Cave, we found ourselves sitting in a lodge in Central Pennsylvania at the MAR Meet, hawking t-shirts and wondering how we would pay for the cave. People were incredibly friendly and we especially remembered a pair of cavers whom we had never met. They bought a few t-shirts, plied us with questions about our conservancy, our acquisition, and our plans.
We remembered them for being very friendly, gregarious and incredibly supportive, which was inspiring to us. Every few months we would get a check in the mail from John Pearson of Tri-State Grotto, who would spread the word about our t-shirts and probably outfitted nearly everyone he knew in one over the course of a year. We had more cause to remember the pair at our open house when we got to experience the chair burning, a tradition Gordon Birkhimer started (we attributed the event to John in an earlier newsletter).
When we saw John and Gordon and their entourage of friends at the Old-Timers Reunion in Dailey, West Virginia, this past summer, they had news for us — and revealed the reason they were so interested in how we worked as a conservancy — they, too, were buying a cave, along with a group of their friends. Thus, the Bubble Cave, LLC group came into being, and a Greenbrier County, West Virginia, cave that had been on the market for some time was sold into very good and capable hands.
The six-acre parcel includes two caves, Bubble Cave and Lunchbox Cave (also known as Burr Cave #2 and Burr Cave #1). The scheme to purchase the caves was hatched, according to their website, over Memorial Day weekend 1999 and the sale was finalized on October 13, 1999, with 23 cavers investing in shares, according to John.
They noted: “The Bubble Cave LLC consists of a group of individuals actively engaged in the preservation of caves. Our purpose is to encourage and support the beliefs outlined in the National Speleological Society Conservation Policy. Unlike the MAKC, which has an unlimited access policy during daylight hours, cavers should remember that although the landowners are friendly, Bubble and Lunchbox caves are privately-owned and anyone wishing to visit the property should follow the proper course of permission and contact one of the shareholders of the organization. A liability waiver must be signed for guests on the property. Other rules and policies are listed on the website as well.”