MAKC Open House May 15, 2010

The MAKC invites all of its members to attend the grand opening of its cave and karst education center and library at 137 East Campbell Street, Blairsville, PA 15717 at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 15. We will have an outdoor backyard barbecue throughout the day. Please feel free to bring any food items you wish to contribute. We will have a special volunteer recognition ceremony at 6:30 p.m. that evening, followed by a special fund raising auction. Items for the auction are welcome.

While the work at the new house will be ongoing, the bulk of the work, such as sanding the downstairs floors, tediously puttying them to make the floor look smooth and nice, and painting most of the major rooms of the house. Work will continue as funds and volunteers become available.

Two significant donations have come in, from the estate of Dale Ibberson and from Jack Stellmack, former NSS President. In early 2010, longtime caver Jack Speece of Altoona will begin bringing items from his collection to the library as well. Jack Speece has already donated a copy machine. Map cabinets will be moved in, and slowly this event will come together.

Bear Cave will be open for the season for those who wish to make a weekend out of it and visit the cave on Sunday. (We don’t recommend visiting it on Saturday, without a place to clean up, and coming out to our barbecue and our nice, clean library.) Unfortunately, due to a personal situation, camping will not be available near Bear Cave. However, Keystone State Park near New Alexandria is only a short distance away from both our house and Bear Cave. The West Penn Trail, a bike and hike trail going mostly through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers property, is only a few miles away. Several trail extensions have made it longer, and it will eventually go right past our Blairsville house. We are also not far from the southern end of the Ghost Town Trail at Black Lick, which goes right past Josephine Cave, third longest in Indiana County and only 1.75 miles from the parking area at Saylor Park. That trail now goes the whole way to Ebensburg without interruption.

We’d be happy to arrange some cave dig projects on Sunday afternoon as well. Although our caves were closed in 2009, we hope to get 2010 off on the right foot, with the opening of our new center, and hopefully, with the opening of our caves for the coming year. Please refer to our winter issue, which is being published concurrently with this fall issue, for the most up-to-date information on White Nose Syndrome, MAKC caves, and what we can do.

In any case, we hope that you will be able to attend our grand opening celebration. It is all of you, our members, who have helped make everything we do possible, and we are most grateful for everything you do for us. Without you, we could not accomplish anything.

Thank you all for your past support and your continued support as we will endeavor to preserve our past, preserve our precious caves, and move forward into the future, a future, we hope, that includes our cave bats.