Cavers Cleaning Sinkholes Remove Tires by the Hundreds
Over two weekends, March 30th and April 13th, cavers from Missouri’s Meramec Valley, Middle Mississippi Valley and Southeast Missouri Grottos came together to remove over 1,000 tires from a number of sinkholes in Perry County.
The sinkholes, near Running Bull Cave, are only a few of many in the region’s Swiss cheese landscape which is home to four out of five of the states exceptionally long caves.
To remove the tires, which had been on the property for some 50–60 years, the cavers dug them out of the ground, chained them together and with the help of tractors, pulled them out.
Then, as if that wasn’t enough work, another team used sawzalls to cut the side walls of the tires open, in order to release all the heavy clay still trapped inside, before finally stacking them on a trailer and hauling them away.
As compensation for all their hard work, two small openings were discovered during the extractions. The first, an approximately 4.5 meter (15 foot) deep pit ending in a constriction, was described by SEMO Grotto Vice President, Chad McCain as tightest, most difficult rappel he’d ever done.
This is just the beginning, as there are still many other sinks on the property still requiring tire removal and an untold number of entrances still covered, however further efforts will likely have to wait until after farming season ends in the fall.