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  • Baker Correspondence – February 2017
  • Baker Correspondence – February 2017

    Lehman Caves Lint and Restoration Camp

                                                                       A Lint Camp volunteer dusting a shield in Lehman Caves

    It’s winter, which means visitation is low, despite a record-breaking 130,000 visitors to Great Basin National Park last year. That makes it an ideal time for the annual Lehman Caves Lint and Restoration Camp. For three days, people come and help clean and restore the cave.

      Volunteers cleaning the Cypress Swamp in Lehman Caves

    Over 30,000 people a year tour the cave, each of them leaving behind a little unintentional something: a hair or two, some debris falling off shoes, bits of lint floating off clothes, or trash coming out of pockets. This detritus is often found near the cave trail, but sometimes there is so much it drifts on air currents to other parts of the cave. The lint and debris provide an artificial food source for cave biota, ares unsightly, and can even alter the geologic processes by which speleothems grow.

    From January 10 through 12, thirteen participants participated in the Lehman Caves Lint and Restoration Camp. Participants came  from as close as the local community and from as far away as Southern California. Some found “antique” lint high above the Music Room, clinging to stalactites and making them look wooly. Cave shields were dusted in the Tom Tom Room, each shield providing a dust pan a quarter full with dust and lint. Four staircases were cleaned, providing a great amount of debris, even though they were just cleaned last year. Dry pools in the Cypress Swamp were cleaned, with rocks taken out and scrubbed and the original bottoms found.

    Stalactite before & after dust and lint removal. The horn-like formations on the right side and base of this stalactite are a type of helictites.

    In many cases, bits of the old wooden trail were found scattered on the cave floor. In return for this cleaning, participants felt a deep sense of satisfaction for helping improve the cave. Participants also were treated to trips to off-trail sections of the cave that are seldom visited.

    Because of the great amount of interest, a second lint camp will be held February 10-12 to clean even more of the cave. Lint camps are expected to continue into the future. They are usually held in the winter because there are fewer cave tours, some park housing is available, and the cave feels very pleasant at 50 degrees F.

    To be added to the mailing list, email GRBA_Lint_Camp@nps.gov. Also, check out the Park’s Facebook page for the latest news and photos.

    And you can check out the progress of the Lint and Restoration Camps on any tour of Lehman Caves. Tours are held year round, and in winter they rarely fill up.

    — Gretchen Baker

    (Check out Gretchen’s outdoor adventure blog, )

    The post Baker Correspondence – February 2017 appeared first on NevadaGram from the Nevada Travel Network - Telling Nevada's story 365, 24/7.




    More from Baker

    More from Around Nevada

    The settlement depended for its prosperity on the railroad, and on the mines that blossomed and wilted along the slopes and side canyons of the Reese River Valley all the way to Austin, 90 miles to the south. Galena, Jersey City and Lewis were three of Nevada's most prominent mining camps in the 1870s, all of them served by the railroad at Battle Mountain, as was Pittsburgh in the 1880s and Dean in the 1890s. After the turn of the century the mines at Hilltop, Bannock, McCoy and Betty O'Neal all shipped by way of Battle Mountain.

    Battle Mountain was the last stop for W.J. Forbes, a famous Nevada newspaperman of the l9th century. He was remembered by Carson City journalist Sam Davis: "Pioneers still laugh about his quips and fancies. Writing under his pen-name Semblins he discoursed on every subject known to man, and his shafts so often hit the mark that he became popular with all classes of readers." Forbes edited and published a dozen newspapers in California and Nevada, and in 1873 started the short-lived The New Endowment in Salt Lake City. Travel Nevada, Nevada Magazine"Returning to Nevada," Davis wrote, "he started Measure for Measure at Battle Mountain. It was a wonderful paper, but it did not pay, and a friend found him on the morning of October 30, 1875, lying stiff and cold across his shabby bed. He had fought a fight against all odds all his life, was one of the brightest geniuses the coast had ever seen, but he lacked the faculty of making and saving money and lived in communities where his mental brightness was more envied than appreciated."

    In 1880 the Nevada Central Railroad was completed through the length of the Reese River Valley to the south, connecting Austin with the transcontinental line, and in the following year a short line was built to the mines at Lewis. One of the Nevada Central's officials was James H. Ledlie, a former Union officer in the Civil War who had disgraced himself at th Battle of the Crater outside Petersburg Virginia in the summer of 1864. A siding near the southern end of the route through Reese River Valley was named in his honor, and Ledlie was a familiar visitor to the railroad.
    from The Complete Nevada Traveler, by David W. Toll

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