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Oct. 18, 2000
Division of Environmental Protection
105 Railroad Street, Suite 301
Philippi, WV 26416
This is to express our concern for the possible threat to Hellhole in Pendleton County. It may seem strange that a Virginia organization would be concerned for a cave that is located in West Virginia but the significance of this cave is so important that we feel compelled to do so. The cave is one of the largest hibernation sites of the Virginia Big-Eared Bats and is the largest hibernation sites in this entire region for the Indiana Bat. There are other important cave life forms that reside in Hellhole.
The cave has many other significant features but the impact on the biology is of greatest concern. Proper measures should be taken such as the survey of the cave’s extent to avoid having cave passages intersected by quarrying operations. Should such an intersection be made, the air flow would be greatly altered having drastic affect on the colonies of bats.
Virginia and other states have similar situations that could arise. What happens in this situation could be a watershed event that will affect many significant caves in the years to come. We strongly recommend that care be taken, the study and survey of Hellhole be continued, and the necessary precautions be taken to avoid the loss of habitat for endangered species.
Philip C. Lucas
President, Va. Speleological Survey