April 12, 2015 --
Less than two weeks until the big event! And there is some more exciting information to share with all of you.
But first, a reminder -- ON-LINE REGISTRATION CLOSES at 1:00am EDT on Tuesday, April 21st. After that, you will have to register and fill in the paperwork, etc. on site on Saturday morning (CASH only).
PLEASE READ ALL OF THIS LETTER CAREFULLY. Yes, it is quite long. But there are a lot of details and a lot of information you need to know before the weekend. You will be expected to know this information when you arrive for check-in at the site (we'll have a quiz sheet you must pass before you can enter ...
Topics in this Letter:
* Trotter Tunnel tours
* Required equipment
* Info for those arriving via airline
* All payments on-site are in CASH -- be prepared.
* Safety info -- emergency flags, on-site responders, need to sign out when leaving the site
Some new, and continued from previous years, features are:
Increased parking space on Plant Street (requires walk up a stairway)
Bus parking will be on Plant Street only, to avoid blocking the main driveway
Ten two-way radios have been purchased to provide better staff communications
There will be additional personnel to assist with parking
There will be a roving "water bottle wagon" in the collection/digging area
Consideration of a "Hot Dog" snack wagon in the collecting area for your convenience
Three scales will be used in the Check Out area to expedite tallying out your treasures
Extra Trotter Tunnel tours have been added to accommodate increased interest
There will be TWO "blackout" field tents to provide a larger waiting area and to reduce the ambient light inside the UV Darkroom area. The darkroom area is provided with electricity and several ULTRAVIOLET lights, so you can go inside during daylight to check the fluorescence of the goodies you have found!
Jeff Winker, our Tripmaster once again this year, has announced that a rare exploration will be available again to diggers this year -- the opportunity to go INSIDE the "Trotter Tunnel." You might not know about the Trotter Tunnel, but it was a historic milepost in the operation of the mines in this area. It was the first tunnel to connect the back pits with the "outside world" where the ore could be taken for processing. Charles Trotter commissioned this tunnel in the hopes that it would reduce the cost of extracting and using the ore from the back pits.
Ever since the Sterling and Trotter mines were closed, this tunnel has been sealed off from public access. The external access has been sealed off with a thick concrete seal, which has recently been broken open and removed by the museum workers. Links to more details of the history of this Trotter Tunnel are at the end of this message.
The Trotter Tunnel "tour" will be a "PRIMATIVE TOUR" -- meaning you will be going through an undeveloped tunnel which may have loose rock, low headroom, wet floors and other challenges. Therefore, it is imperative that you have:
Â· waterproof boots
Â· a properly fitting hard hat (for children, a bike helmet is acceptable)
Â· a strong-beam flashlight
Â· subsistence rations and supplies for a week... (just kidding!!)
Another special feature this year is that it will be another opportunity for you to see the "fluorescent wall" in the open air -- and the ability to get far enough away to photograph all of it at once. (A building is planned to be built around the rock face, so it will be enclosed and much harder to photograph all of it.) So, take a nap if you have to, but be there Saturday after dark to enjoy this amazing natural wonder lit up with powerful UV lamps powered by generators.
The program schedule of all of the day's activities can be found at http://www.sterlinghillsuperdig.org/admin/Schedule-of-events.pdf
Please NOTE that ALL tours and other group activities (Upper Mine tour, Lower Mine tour, Trotter Tunnel tour, Museum tour, etc.) will gather and start at the main Registration Tent this year, so there should be no confusion. Be sure to be on time for the tour - check the schedule (see link above).
Tickets for the Mining Museum tour, run by the Sterling Hill Mining Museum folks and free to Diggers (one ticket per Digg registration), will be available from a SHMM representative in the Registration Area -- we have a lot of people registered this year, so we're not giving out the tickets in the Gift Shop this year (though you are welcome to browse and purchase in the Gift Shop!).
Some "rules" and procedures for this year --
* In the past, the Registration Area has served as a "hang out" for some folks ... this year, because of the significant increase in registrations, those who are not officially working the registration tables or are not in the process of signing in will be asked to leave the Registration Area and "hang out" somewhere else;
* In the past, the Registration Area was used to store various personal items, tools and specimens, etc. while Diggers were not working out in the fields. We will not be able to offer such storage in the Registration Area this year. We plan to set up a separate pop-up tent near the registration area for storage of such items -- however, this tent WILL NOT BE STAFFED by anyone from SHMM or DVESS and the event will not be responsible for anything you leave in that tent area. We encourage you to place all such items in your vehicle, or have someone you know stay with the stored items. (Refer to the Event Schedule and make sure you plan enough time to store your items in your vehicle before the starting time of an event in which you plan to participate -- such as the various tours.)
An updated FAQ Frequently Asked Questions document can be found at http://www.sterlinghillsuperdig.org/forms/FAQ.pdf
-- many of your questions can be answered by reading that ... many questions you never even though of will be answered as well. You will find a reminder list of equipment you should have with you.
For those ARRIVING BY AIRLINE for the Digg, we realize that baggage weight is a big problem these days. This year we have many Diggers who are travelling from distant places to participate, and some have questioned whether heavy tools such as hammers and picks would be available on-site.
Recognizing this travel restriction, the Sterling Hill Mining Museum folks have notified us that they will have available 12 hammers (3 lb. sledge type) and 12 picks specifically for air travelers who cannot bring them along. There will be a required $20 CASH deposit on each tool borrowed, which will be returned to you when you return the tool. Because there are so many long distance travelers this year, and not so many tools to lend out, it is advised that you send an email to WEBMASTER@UVWORLD.ORG
as soon as possible indicating which tool (one or the other) you would like to borrow for the day. We'll make a list of 'reservations' so the operation can be somewhat orderly! Also, please see the FAQ for suggestions on shipping your rock finds home after the Digg (see link above).
A reminder that SAFETY GLASSES are REQUIRED for all those in the digging fields, as well as those who go on the various mine and tunnel tours. If you do not have your own pair of safety glasses, the SH Mining Museum and DVESS will have a large quantity of them available for a $4 each purchase price.
In addition, DVESS will have some items available: T-Shirt ($10), gloves ($2), and a special commemorative Super Dig button! ($2).
Because of the nature of this event, ALL PAYMENTS ON-SITE ARE IN CASH ... except in the Museum Gift Shop. Be prepared. There are some ATMs in the town of Ogdensburg if you need them - staff can direct you.
If you have not yet registered, time is running short. On-line registration CLOSES at 1:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, April 22nd. (After that, you will have to wait on the non-express check-in line at the site on Saturday morning, filling out the forms by hand and PAYING WITH CASH). Use the registration link at our website at http://www.SuperDig.com
IMPORTANT REMINDER: the local police in the areas around the Digg site consider our weekend a "fund raiser" for their towns by ticketing anyone who does not observe EXACTLY the posted speed limits.... it's annoying, but don't give them a reason to stop you.
* There will be five white 6-foot long PVC poles strategically placed throughout the Digg areas -- these are "911 Poles" with an orange flag on top for daytime spotting and reflective red/gray tape wrapped around the pole for night time spotting. In the event of an emergency situation, have someone take a pole to the actual emergency incident area so that First Responders can quickly and easily find the location.
Hard hats are MANDATORY and gloves are recommended for the Upper Mine Buildings tour.
Hard hats and flashlights are MANDATORY for the Trotter Tunnel tour.
SAFETY GLASSES are MANDATORY for the mine tours and in all COLLECTING AREAS --
Regular glasses, sun glasses or other regular eyewear are NOT OK;
If you normally wear eye glasses, you must have a pair of "wrap arounds" to go over your regular glasses, per EFMLS Safety Rules.
Needless to say, any area where rocks can fall on your head (no matter how hard it is!) requires vigilance and good safety practices.
Please make a point to review the five 'tabs' at the left of http://www.amfed.org/safetytips.htm
* EVERY person entering the site must sign in at the Registration Area and receive a wrist bracelet The on-line pre-registration is for "head count" and to reduce the time it takes to sign-in and registeer on-site. For safety and liability reasons it is required that everyone be signed in when they enter the site.
* Shut down and check out ... at midnight Saturday, the Weigh Out table staff will review the "weigh out" list against the "sign in" list. When you are leaving the site to go home, we ask that you initial a box on the Tally Sheet (weight out tally and payment sheet). Any name that has not been signed out by midnight will be considered MIA (Missing in Action) - we will confirm that the name is an adult (parents are responsible for their children at the Digg) - an attempt will be made to contact you by phone. If we cannot reach you, we will begin SEARCH & RESCUE operations in the Digg Area on the assumption that you are in a distressed situation.
(If you leave without initialing the Tally Sheet and cause such a search and rescue operation, you will not be invited in future years - this is a serious matter.)
* Folks who have offered to be "on-site first responders" -- when you are signing in on Saturday morning, please fill out the form that gives us your contact info, the time(s) you want to be "on call" and also sign out at the Registration Tent if you leave the site during the day and when you leave finally at night. There will be a "hold harmless" clause stating that your volunteering has no connection with Sterling Hill Mining Museum, Delaware Valley Earth Science Society or the club that you belong to -- for this event.
Frequenty Asked Questions: we now have a FAQ with the most common questions and answers to them. You can fetch this from the link http://www.sterlinghillsuperdig.org/forms/FAQ.pdf