Waynesville, MO in Pulaski County has been chosen as the host of the 2015 (NSS) National Speleological Society annual convention. The event is held in alternating states and regions of the United States each year. Established in 1941, the non-profit organization is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and has nearly 250 chapters called “grottos” across the country.
The NSS is the largest organization in the world dedicated to exploration, preservation, education and conservation of caves. The Society’s over 10,000 members include scientists, cartographers, explorers and cave enthusiasts from the United States and all over the globe. The NSS organization is sectioned in 15 specialty interest areas of the membership to include geology, archeology, technical research and rescue, underwater cave diving and many artistic disciplines.
The Pulaski County Tourism Bureau has teamed up with the Mississippi Valley Ozark Region as well as the NSS to work to bring this convention to central Missouri. Missouri previously hosted this conference in 1997.
This is a week-long event, featuring daily symposia, guided cave trips, and major events each evening. Conventions are a great way to learn about caves in other regions, share new techniques, meet old friends, and make new ones. On Thursday evenings, the auditorium is packed for the Photo and Video Salons and awards, and Friday’s Banquet features the annual NSS Award presentations. Convention activities will also include vertical contests, hydrology & geology field trips, and Salons encompassing- craft and design, cover art, fine arts, print, symbolic emblems, t-shirt, and cartographic. The Junior Speleological Society will have youth activities scheduled throughout the week.
Joe Nicolussi, co-chair of the 2015 NSS Convention, announced in February that Carroll Cave is the “crown jewel” of this year’s conference. Jeff Page, Carroll Cave Conservancy (CCC) Membership & Access Chair, “couldn’t agree more and CCC is eager to share this jewel with as many convention attendees as possible.” Carroll Cave is the second longest cave in Missouri and is a National Natural Landmark.
Caving opportunities will be plentiful during #NSS2015. A small sample of the caves that will be offered to attendees include: Skaggs, Perkins, Tunnel-Spring, Grempczynski, Pike’s Peak, and Railroad Cave. Cave/cavern diving opportunities are available to certified divers at Roubidoux Spring, Boiling Spring, and Bennett Spring. Several show caves across The Cave State will be offering discounted tours to Convention attendees. Kirsten Alvey-Mudd, Cave Chair, is particularly excited about the cave and float combo trips that are offered-“This is a quintessential Missouri caving experience- an experience that you do not want to miss while you are in the Ozarks for Convention 2015.” Alvey-Mudd also added that concierge decontamination service will be offered nightly at the campground.
Campground Chair Larry Abeln is ready to welcome cavers to their “home away from home” during Convention 2015. Pulaski County-Fort Leonard Wood Shrine Club Campground is top notch- campers will find plenty of shaded, level spots, shower facilities, a large common area centered around one of Mid-Missouri’s largest outdoor stages, a clubhouse (with wi-fi) and other amenities. Abeln is also excited that campers will be able to have small campfires at the campground.
In addition to favorite, traditional Convention activities such as Howdy Party, Speleo-Auction, and Banquet, Activities Chair Alicia Wallace has coordinated with Pulaski County Tourism Bureau to offer attendees “local flavor”- including a tour of the Old Stagecoach Stop, a tour of the Frisco Depot Museum in Crocker, a paranormal investigation of one of Waynesville’s oldest homes, and a BYOL (Bring Your Own Light) head lamp tour of the 1903 Route 66 Courthouse Museum. Self-guided driving tours of Route 66 and a walking tour of historic sites and points of interest in downtown Waynesville are available free of charge through the Pulaski County Tourism Bureau.
Kris Nicolussi, co-chair of the 2015 NSS Convention reminds cavers that registration for “Hitchhikers Guide To Missouri Caving” is now available online and that discounted registration is available before June 1st. She encourages everyone to visit the official website at http://nss2015.caves.org for updates and states that #NSS2015 can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Google +. She and Mayor Luge Hardman are “thrilled to show off Waynesville to cavers from around the globe”, – and Kris reminds everyone to bring their towel.
National Speleological Society- http://www.facebook.com/NationalSpeleologicalSociety
NSS 2015 Convention- http://www.facebook.com/NSSConvention2015
Pulaski County Tourism Bureau- http://www.facebook.com/PulaskiCountyUSA
City of Waynesville, Missouri- http://www.facebook.com/cityofwaynesvillemo