The 2015 NSS Convention will be held July 13-17th, 2015 in Waynesville, Missouri. Missouri is nicknamed “The Cave State”, and Waynesville is the heart of Missouri’s cave country. Waynesville is the county seat of Pulaski County and is one of the gateway cities to Fort Leonard Wood. Fort Leonard Wood is one of the largest joint training installations in the United States. All branches of service, including the Coast Guard, train at Fort Wood. Pulaski County is home to more than 300 caves, many of which will be open for cave trips during Convention. Some of these include- Skaggs Cave (Skaggs’ rimstone terrace graced the frontispiece of J Harlen Bretz’s book Caves of Missouri, published in 1956.), Tunnel-Spring Cave, Grempczynski Cave, Pike’s Peak Cave, and Railroad Cave.
The crown jewel of the 2015 Convention is Carroll Cave, just 25 miles away from the Shrine Club campground. It’s currently mapped passage of 20+ miles is entered via 120ft rappel drop through a manmade conduit and boasts three main sections: The Carroll River which leads from the entrance to the T Junction where it intersects Thunder River, Upper Thunder River which is the second section and lastly, Lower Thunder River. Each section has several side passages, some over a mile long in themselves, abundant biology and spectacular examples of every formation limestone caves have to offer!
Cave divers will be able to dive and explore Roubidoux Spring Cave. This world-renowned cave diving adventure sits in Laughlin Park just 1 mile from Convention Central at Waynesville High School. This 16th largest spring in Missouri has an average summer water temp in the low 60’s, average daily flow of 37 million gallons, 4ft x 12ft cave mouth at an average 6ft depth below water level, and almost 2 miles of pre-set handline. Roubidoux Spring is open to all certified cave divers and is rated at an advanced dive level. Odyssey Scuba, just 2 blocks from the park, is offering a special tank refill rate for convention of $4 per tank!
The Geology field trip will take a detailed look at Ordovician formations that make up the majority of rocks exposed throughout the Salem Plateau. Field trip stops have been selected to elicit discussion of structure, lithology, depositional environment, sequence stratigraphy and diagenesis processes such as dolomitization, geothermal alteration and sulfide ore deposition. Each process has an influence on permeability and karst development within the Salem Plateau.
The Hydrology field trip includes stops at Carroll Cave, Toronto Springs, Ha Ha Tonka State Park, and Bennett Spring.
The Shriners Club Campground is the official Convention campground, offering plenty of camping and RV space, on-site pavilions, electricity, and shower houses. Located just 5 miles away from Waynesville High School (Convention Central), the campground is 88 acres with grassy fields, shaded groves, woods, cold running water and hot showers. The site has been used for a variety of events such as bike rallys, local festivals, and circuses since the founding of the club. Once inside, the main road splits into many roads that loop around the many camping areas. All roads are well graveled. The Shriners Club Campground is lush with trees and vegetation because it is located on the edge of the Missouri Ozarks region. The Mark Twain National Forest is nearby.
Pulaski County abounds with outdoor experiences, historical settings, and local flavor. Much of the southern portion of the county is designated as Mark Twain National Forest. A float trip on the Big Piney River is a great way to take in the beautiful landscapes and scenic beauty of this area. The Gasconade River also offers dramatic views. Both rivers are an angler’s dream- known for their bass (smallmouth and largemouth), channel catfish, and goggle-eye fishing. While canoeing on either of these rivers you will most likely see dramatic limestone bluffs, log slides from the days of the tie-rafters, old hunting & fishing lodges, wildlife, and century farms. The Roubidoux is known as a trout stream and Waynesville’s downtown offers world class trout fishing within walking distance of the historic Square. The Square’s landmarks are the Old Stagecoach Stop and the 1903 Courthouse- both of which will be open for tours during Convention. A free self-guided walking tour brochure of Waynesville’s historical landmarks is available through Pulaski County Tourism Bureau. The Square also offers unique shopping, nightlife, and dining-including international options. Route 66 winds its way through Pulaski County and several of the stops along its way are world famous- including the Devils Elbow area. Travelers from across the globe seek this area out for its unique roadhouse, scenic beauty, and historic bridges. A free self-guided driving tour of the Mother Road in Pulaski County is available through Pulaski County Tourism Bureau. This brochure will also guide you along the Frisco (now BNSF) Railroad as it takes you to the railroad boom towns of Dixon, Crocker, Swedeborg, & Richland. These quaint and charming towns have unique dining, antiquing, and shopping. Crocker’s Frisco Railroad Museum will be open for a limited time during Convention. Richland is home to one of the oldest stores west of the Mississippi- H.E. Warren Store, continually in business since 1869. Scattered across Pulaski County you will find monuments and memorials to those who have served in the United States Armed Forces. One highlight that you will not want to miss is the Mahaffey Museum Complex on Fort Leonard Wood. This is the only location where you can see three U.S. Army branch museums (Engineer, Military Police, Chemical Corps) under one roof. The complex is located on Fort Leonard Wood and is open to the public. Admission is free. Geocaches and Ingress game portals are also located throughout the area. For information on things to do, or area lodging/dining information please contact Pulaski County Tourism Bureau at 877-858-8687. They will gladly provide you with a complimentary Visitors Guide and area brochures.
Online registration for #NSS2015 is now available! Register today! Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman looks forward to seeing everyone!
For the latest updated information on the 2015 NSS Convention, including pre-convention activities in Brumley, Missouri please visit the official website at http://nss2015.caves.org. You can also join the conversation on Facebook (www.facebook.com/NSSConvention2015) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/NSS2015).