State leaders recognize spelunkers for exploring, mapping local caves Group hopes its efforts will help preserve area being eyed for development The Bend Bulletin (OR) By Kate Ramsayer April 18. 2009
One lava tube southeast of Bend — once used as a garbage dump — has both a spacious cavern and a smaller, lavacicle-filled room in the back.
Another cave was “hard to see unless you really got down and poked your head in,” said Matt Skeels, the chairman of the Oregon High Desert Grotto caving group. He and other cave explorers had to crawl through a tight passage to reach a little room.
The High Desert Grotto members explored and mapped these and six other caves on the Department of State Lands’ Stevens Road property just outside Bend’s city limits, and for their efforts the group received the State Land Board’s 2008 Partnership Award earlier this week from Gov. Ted Kulongoski, State Treasurer Ben Westlund and Secretary of State Kate Brown. The three make up the State Land Board.