Conservation group maps Radium Springs' caves - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Conservation group maps Radium Springs' caves

September 23, 2006

Albany -- A national conservation group has taken a keen interest in Radium Springs, and wants to see the springs and the surrounding area prosper.

The National Speleological Society sent a team of six divers below the murky waters to do some research on what it will take to make that happen.

The conservation group is actually mapping out the caves below the surface of the water and down below the neighborhoods above the springs.

The group wants to know exactly where all the water is coming from because it may be drinking water one day. They also want to give policy makers a better idea of if the surrounding land should be developed.

Frank Griffin grew up in the Radium Springs area of Albany and remembers when the springs didn't look like this at all.

"God's created a wonderful place out here," said Frank Griffin.

He came to the springs regularly as a child, and still returns, now with five children of his own.

"The young people are who is going to have to live out here and hopefully it will be a beautiful place for them to enjoy," said Griffin.

Just like the Griffin family, cavedivers from the National Speleological Society want to protect and preserve the springs.

"We as people are doing things to the land on the surface, that is compromising our land, we build on it. We build highways, and bridges and subdivisions," said Paul DeLoach.

Paul DeLoach says it's the runoff from development that pollutes and has other negative effects on water sources like Radium Springs.

That's why his team of divers took the plunnge.

"The purpose of what we're going to do today is we're going to be able find exact surface locations of where the cave runs in proportion to the surface," said cavediver Kelly Jessop.

Researcher Kelly Jessop says using electromagnetic field readings, the group wants to map out the cave system of the spring. Some of those caves are located beneath neighborhoods and businesses, the group wants to know their sizes and where, to find out just how these springs can be saved.

"I grew up out here and it's a special place to me," said Griffin.

A special place people like Frank Griffin wants preserved for the future.

"I just wish I coulda done all the things he did when he was a kid," said ten-year-old Luke Griffin.

High-tech research and brand new maps will give scientists a better understanding of the spring and its condition.

The divers had to get permission from DNR who controls the Radium Springs property to do the study. DNR says most likely the springs will not be open for daily swimming as it was years ago, but possibly a few days a year it will be open for public swimming.

Plans to make the area near Radium Springs into botanical gardens are currently underway.

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