OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Alaskan spelunker speaks about exploring and conserving caves

02/18/2010

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Steve Lewis, one of Alaska’s foremost cavers, will speak at Oregon State University on Friday, Feb. 26, about his experiences measuring and mapping caves in southeast Alaska.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled for 4 p.m. in Wilkinson Hall Room 108, located at 26th Street and Orchard Avenue.

In his 23 years as an explorer, Lewis has measured and mapped many of the 500-plus known caves in southeast Alaska. He is also an expert on karst, a landscape that forms in areas of water-soluble bedrock - in southeast Alaska that is typically limestone.

With color photos of the caves and karst lands, Lewis will explain the unique geological and prehistoric cultural features of the Alaskan caves. As a member of the Tongass Cave Project, Lewis believes it is important to find and document the caves in Alaska in order to conserve them. Stands of immense rainforest trees grow on top of the limestone formations that hold that caves. The forests are in immediate need of protection, Lewis says, in order to protect the caves from runoff and erosion caused by excessive or careless logging.

Lewis’ talk is sponsored by the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word.