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Cave Group Receives State Land Board Partnership Award
For immediate release                                                                         09-12
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Matt Skeels, Oregon High Desert Grotto - 541-848-1262 (Bend)
Julie Curtis, State Lands - 503-986-5298 (Salem)
High Desert Grotto recognized for mapping lava tubes on state land
Salem - The State Land Board on Tuesday recognized the Oregon High Desert Grotto in an awards ceremony honoring exemplary partnerships that advance the work of the board and promote responsible stewardship of Oregon's natural resources.
Gov. Ted Kulongoski, chair of the Land Board, praised the recipients of the 2008 Partnership Award for their "extra effort, vision and dedication to their work."
In presenting the award, State Treasurer Ben Westlund, a member of the Land Board, praised the Bend-area caving club for their work in mapping underground lava tubes on the Department of State Lands' Stevens Road property in southeast Bend.
"The lava caves that hide under Central Oregon are an important natural resource and a window into the region's volcanic past," he said. "The High Desert Grotto's volunteer effort not only saved thousands of public dollars, but also means we can steer development to areas where there are no caves." said Westlund.
In 2006, the Oregon High Desert Grotto's newsletter informed club members that the Stevens Road Tract was earmarked for eventual development - the property is a real estate asset of the Common School Fund overseen by the Land Board - and that it was in their best interest to help the board and department better manage the underground caves.
Oregon High Desert Grotto club members, Matt Skeels, Geoff MacNaughton, Neil Marchington and Jeremy Wendelin led the mapping project in 2007 and 2008, and they continue to advise the Department of State Lands on managing the lava-tube caves on the Stevens Road property.
The Oregon High Desert Grotto is an affiliate of the National Speleological Society.
The State Land Board consists of Governor Theodore Kulongoski, Secretary of State Kate Brown and State Treasurer Ben Westlund. The Department of State Lands administers diverse natural and fiscal resources. Many of the resources generate revenue for the Common School Fund, such as state-owned rangelands and timberlands, waterway leases, estates for which no will or heirs exist, and unclaimed property. Twice a year, the agency distributes fund investment earnings to support K-12 public schools. The agency also administers Oregon’s Removal-Fill Law, which requires people removing or filling certain amounts of material in waters of the state to obtain a permit.