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VICEG - The Group History (Phil Whitfield)

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The Vancouver Island Cave Exploration Group is one of Canada's oldest caving organizations. It traces its origins to an informal group calling itself the BC Cave Hunters, organized by Clarence Hronek on Vancouver Island in 1962 to look for more caves than the few then known in the Province. Encouraged by contact with organized cavers of Seattle's Cascade Grotto of the National Speleological Society, led by Dr. W. R. Halliday, members of the group registered as a provincial society under the name British Columbia Speleological Society in 1967.

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A year later, somewhat ambitiously, the BCSS changed its name to Canadian Speleological Society, but continued to function almost exclusively on Vancouver Island, and with fewer than 12 active members. In 1970, with an infusion of new members and an active core from the old BC Cave Hunters led by Ken Sinkiewicz, the society set aside its pretensions to national or provincial scope, allowed its registration to lapse, and became the Vancouver Island Cave Exploration Group, a name selected to clearly describe its scope and intent.

Since 1970, more than 456 individuals have held VICEG membership and a number of these have remained involved since the club's earliest days. Usual annual membership averages between 40 and 50, distributed over all parts of Vancouver Island and onto the Mainland, and as of 2017, membership stands at 80. In the early days, caving activities were arranged virtually every weekend, but over time it has become more common for groups of members to arrange trips more informally and less regularly. Weekly pub meetings in some centres combine with e-mail and phone contacts to keep members in touch and to plan activities. In recent years, the club has organized one formal open activity for every month except December (snow permitting). A major, week-long event, Speleofest, is usually arranged each summer, focussing on a cave or area with recognized exploration potential. Members also tap into trips organized by other BC caving groups, and have participated in expeditions in the United States, Mexico, Europe, China and Thailand.


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This site created Sept '95, last updated 15 January 2017