The 45th, Annual WSS Hodag Hunt Festival September 11-13, 2009

The Wisconsin Speleological Society presents

The 45th Annual WSS Hodag Hunt September 11-13, 2009

Welcome: Welcome to the 45th annual Wisconsin Speleological Society (WSS) Hodag Hunt. The Hodag Hunt is a yearly weekend caving jubilee for Wisconsin and the surrounding states’ cavers. You do not have to be a WSS member or be affiliated with any other caving grotto to attend. Everyone is welcome to attend. The WSS uses the Hodag weekend as a caving social gathering and uses the funds raised at the Hodag auction to fund its various caving activities throughout the year. Please do bring items for the auction and some extra money for the great buys and interesting finds you will see at the auction. The weekend will be full of great organized caving trips, have a banquet buffet meal and informational guest speaker on the White Nose Syndrome

on Saturday night, and have a large campfire each night to socialize and unwind from the day’s activities. Please do bring any musical instruments to join in on the nightly campfire fun activities.

Location: The Hodag this year is at Cherney Maribel Caves County Park, just off of I-43 halfway between Manitowoc and Green Bay. Take the Maribel exit off of I-43 onto Hwy 147 east, drive less than a 1/4 mile onto Hwy 147 and then turn north onto County Hwy R. The park is one mile north on County Hwy R on the right side of the road. Just follow the signs for the park once you exit I-43.

Why Maribel: Cherney Maribel Caves County Park has been of great interest to the WSS since about 1984 when the history of caving in the area was first brought to our attention. Caves in the area were the featured attractions for a nearby health resort hotel, which was built in 1900. The health resort was named “Maribel Caves Hotel.” The name itself piques some interest but by digging a little further in the history books, we can find references to caves in the area that were commercialized for the health resort. The open question is: Where are they? One we think is the Coopers Cave and you will see that in the park. However, a much larger described commercial cave is believed to have been blasted shut or collapsed around 1930. Time has erased the memory of where the larger cave was actually located, so the hunt goes on for what could be one of the most significant cave finds in recent history. The WSS has been extensively excavating some of the caves in the park to find the connection to the lost cave. Resistivity testing in the park 3 years ago indicate numerous passages and an underground anomaly that is over 120 feet across that we have not been able to get into yet. You will get to see what significant caves we have uncovered so far.

Cost: See separate registration form for cost breakdowns. In general: Pre-Registration $5.00 per

person includes guidebook, Onsite Registration $6.00 per person includes guidebook, Pre-Registration for camping $4.00 per night, Onsite Registration for camping $5.00 per night, Breakfast $5.00, Dinner $11.00. There are children reduced rates for camping and meals. Registration for children under 15 is free.

Camping: Field sites that have no hookups are available for everyone right in Cherney Maribel Caves County Park. Full camping hookup sites are available a mile down the road at Devil’s River Campground at $30 per night. See ( For reservations call 920-863-2812. Devil’s River Campground has a pool and showers.

Campfires: Please do not bring in your own firewood. Restrictions are in effect because of the Emerald Ash Borer. Firewood will be provided on-site by the WSS. One fire only is allowed at the park campfire site.

Showers: There are no shower facilities in the park. Clean towels and showers are provided at the Frances Creek I-43 exit truck stop 7 miles from the park for a $5 fee.

Caving: Sat 9:00-4:00 and Sun 10:00-2:00. Signup sheets available at Registration Area after Sat breakfast. Everyone needs to be aware of White Nose Syndrome decontamination protocol to go on any caving trips. Handouts on decontamination protocol will be provided at Registration. Clean clothes and decontaminated caving gear are a must for all cave trips. Decontamination sprays and baths for caving equipment will be provided by the WSS for everyone’s use. Multiple caving trips will be offered. Six on-site caves are available for caving at Cherney Maribel Caves County Park. One of these requires a vertical rope drop. Two caves will be visited at Ledge View Nature Center. Other cave trips include Brussels Hill Pit Cave (requires vertical rope techniques), Horseshoe Bay Cave (requires a wet suit), Salamander Cave, Vetters Cave, Conglomerate Cave, and many others as they become available.

Non-Caving Activities: Cherney Maribel Caves County Park is only a 40 minute drive away from Green Bay, WI. Green Bay major attractions include: Green Bay Botanical Gardens, Oneida Bingo & Casino, New Zoo, Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame, Bay Beach Amusement Park, Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, Heritage Hill State Historical Park, and much more. See ( Cherney Maribel Caves County Park is only a 30 minute drive from Manitowoc/Two Rivers. Manitowoc/Two Rivers major attractions include: Lincoln Park Zoo, The Bernard Schwartz House, Wisconsin Maritime Museum, and much more. See ( You are also just a 2 hour drive to most attractions in Door County. See (

Friday Arrival/Setup: Feel free to arrive after 12:00 noon on Friday to set up your campsite for the weekend and take in the great amenities in the park.

Friday Registration: Registration starts late afternoon. Signs will be posted in the park for the registration location.

Friday Dinner: Cavers are on their own for Friday dinner.

Saturday Breakfast: Breakfast will be provided for a minimal $5 fee by the WSS in the park from 7:00-8:00.

Saturday Caving: Caving activities start at 9:00. Everyone should be back at the park by 5:00 to get ready for the Banquet Dinner.

Saturday Lunch: Cavers are on their own for lunch on Saturday. If on an extensive caving trip, lightly packed high energy foods are suggested for the trips.

Saturday Banquet Dinner: The Saturday Banquet dinner will be served a mile down the road from the park at The Ridge Restaurant on Hwy Z. Meal time is from 6:00–7:00. It will be a chicken and fish buffet style meal.

Banquet Speaker: Dave Redell, a Wisconsin DNR expert on bat ecology, will be the guest speaker at the Saturday night banquet starting at 7:00. He will provide us with the most up to date information available on the White Nose Syndrome that is killing all of the bats in the Eastern United States and the possibility of reaching Wisconsin and killing off our bats as well.

WSS Auction: The WSS auction fund raiser will start around 7:30 after the guest speaker presentation. Door prizes will also be given out during the auction.

Sunday Breakfast: Breakfast may be offered by the WSS depending on breakfast supplies and demand, otherwise cavers are on their own for Sunday breakfast.

WSS Board/General Meeting: A combined WSS General and Board Meeting will be held at 9:00 Sunday morning.

Sunday Caving: There will be limited trips offered on Sunday. Caving activities start at 10:00 and should have everyone back in the park by 2:00.