Resource Ramblings 2005-06

Geographic Information System

There is a new online course available from the ESRI virtual campus. The class is titled “Creating and Integrating Data for Natural Resource Applications”. As mentioned in earlier editions of Resource Ramblings, these computer based courses are available at no cost to Park Service employees. If interested see Bill Koncerak for additional information.

One of our current projects involves cave management, interpretation and GIS input. The goal is to supply Harper's Ferry with products suitable for graphic artists to create a 3D interpretive panel to help visitors understand where the cave passages are in relation to the land surface. Rod Horrocks and Marc Ohms have provided data of Wind Cave that can be manipulated in GIS as 3-dimensional space. This data was incorporated with new and existing GIS data to build a 'cut-away' oblique view of the tour route. Tom Farrell and Becky Morford have taken GPS locations and digital photographs which will help the artists produce the final display. The new interpretive panels are expected to be on display around the Visitor Center in the spring 2007.
Bill Koncerak

3-dimensional view of Wind Cave tour route
3-dimensional view of Wind Cave tour route



Coyote Cave Hits a Mile!

The earliest report of this cave was by a seasonal park ranger Tom Miller on July 5th, 1974. Tom referred to the cave as Blo-Suk Cave after the strong airflow. Around the same time, Bob Kobza also knew of the cave but never filed a report with the park. Over the following year, park rangers surveyed 600 feet. Exploration continued in the 1980’s as park rangers Jim Pisarowicz, Jim Nepstad, Karen Rosga, and Darren Ressler pushed and dug further into the cave following the air. During this time the caves name was changed to Highland Creek Cave, which the park considered to be more appropriate. They brought the cave’s length to 1,114 feet to a tight place nobody would fit through (later named the Vice). At this time the name was changed to Coyote Cave as the former name hinted at its location. A gate was installed in 1990 approximately 100 feet into the cave.

In 1992 cavers visited the cave and Mike Wiles squeezed beyond the Vice and pushed 500 feet of belly crawl before turning around. In 1997 Greg Stock, Merrilee Proffitt, and Joel Despain squeezed through the Vice and continued beyond where Mike Wiles had turned back five years before. They discovered a large walking passage they named the Bison Borehole (a bison vertebrate was discovered in this passage) and many leads. Two years later in 1999, Merrilee and Joel returned with Rene Rogers to survey the passage found earlier. They surveyed 860 feet on the first trip and 1,100 feet on a second bringing Coyote Cave to 3,200 feet long. Another trip in 2000 by the thin trio added another 1000 ft of survey to the length.

In the summer of 2004 Marc and Rene Ohms, Seth Spoelman, Jason Walz, and Ajax Dalman went to Coyote Cave to on two trips trying to push the cave beyond the one mile mark. However, none of the males could fit through the sub-seven inch Vice so they were confined to surveying leads on the near side. They managed to survey enough to bring the length to 5,077 feet.

Coyote Cave Entrance
Larry, Ajax, and Rene at Coyote Cave

NPS Photo


On May 25th Rene Ohms led Ajax Dalman and Larry Shaffer into Coyote Cave and surveyed 288 feet, which brought the total length of the cave to 1.02 miles long. It became the seventh cave in the state to pass the one mile mark and now is the sixth longest cave in the state, passing Black Hills Caverns. The cave has a fairly strong barometric airflow and plenty of leads to indicate that there is plenty more to discover. – Marc Ohms

Comments and feedback about Resource Ramblings are encouraged and can be made to Dan Foster, in person, or via email.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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