Page 18 - 15annrep.p65
P. 18

Together, we’re offering an alternative...
Cedar Cove
This has been a year of repairs in the Cove. Maintaining three houses, a large shop and shipping depot, plus a sizeable chunk of mountain land, requires a lot more attention than we realized when we moved here 20+ years ago.
The gate on the dramatic water entrance to the Saltpeter Cave was destroyed by spring floods in 2012. It was a special gate that would allow access for the bat colony wintering in the cave, but deter the colony of mountain boys in these parts looking for a place to party. Thanks to the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources and the US Fish and Wildlife Service a new gate was installed over the summer. Al- though many of the bats hibernating in the cave succumbed the past few years to the disease known as the white-nose bat syndrome, it did not seem to affect all of the five species living there. Everyone hoped our colony would rebound and we just heard from the DNR that it has, containing more hibernating bats this winter than all of the other caves combined that were surveyed in West Virginia.
We arranged a trial run in July for our future camping option here. A local college brought a group of students from a backpacking course to practice “no trace” camping in the Cove. They set up their tents initially at our tepee village site, and then backpacked over the hills later to camp in the old plantation site and explore the cave nearby. We were pleased with the result and will begin inviting other groups to take advantage of such opportunities in this special place.
Surprisingly, this part of West Virginia is largely cattle country. We had no idea when we settled here that we would bear an equal responsibility for the fence that keeps our neighbors cattle from eating our hay. But that’s the law. Even though it is highly unlikely our hay will eat their cattle, we share the responsibility for keeping their cattle off of our land. Go figure. We lease the cutting of the grasslands because we want to maintain some open fields in areas that would otherwise become cedar forest in short order (plus maintain the tax advantage of being designated a farm). After the neighbor’s hoofed reapers mowed through a couple of our fields, we had to hire a crew to clear the brush from a large section of fencing along one side of the Cove. It was an unexpected and unwelcome cost for a tight budget.
Shortly after we moved to Greenville in the 90s, there was a devastating winter
storm. Wet, heavy snow brought down dozens of trees and essentially closed our
creekside path which begins at the entrance to the Cove. Naturally, it turned out to be
a larger project than anticipated, but we managed to clear the path all the way to another
spring erupting from some underground course in the base of a large thumb-like ridge which projects into the Cove. We have discovered several openings along three sides of this ridge now, but so far we can only imagine the subterranean passages and perhaps caves that lie beneath. Just as with the fence-line project, an unexpected benefit of this work was the discovery of several trees that we had not noticed here before. Cedar Cove is a land of mysterious waterways and striking trees. It’s a fascinating combination.
We are trying to raise the funds now to renovate our Gardenhaus (yes, that’s a combination of English and German words honoring our German Associates) in order to connect it via an upper-story walkway and stairs up to our tepee village on the ridge above. We believe we could generate some much-needed income by making the Gardenhaus available as both self-contained lodging and a cook-shack for those staying in the tepees. Of course, our members are welcome to stay for free (provided they bring their own food and a hammer).
Copyright © 2016
The Institute for Earth Education Cedar Cove, Greenville, WV 24945 U.S.A.

   14   15   16   17   18