Nutty Putty Cave



The following is a well written statement from David Arnold, a Boy Scout Leader, and he relates his excellent experiences with the Nutty Putty Cave in the lives of his young men. His group was one of the last to explore the cave. He sent this letter to everybody that might have any influence on the matter.

November 30, 2009

To:       Governor Gary Herbert
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff
Provo Mayor Lewis Billings
Utah County Commissioners Larry Ellerson, Gary Anderson, Steve White
Utah County Sheriff Jim Tracy
Utah State Senate
Mark Madsen, District 13
John Valentine, District 14
Margaret Dayton, District 15
Curtis Bramble, District 16
Utah House of Representatives
John Dougall, District 27
Kenneth Sumsion, District 56
Craig Frank, District 57
Stephen Sandstrom, District 58
Lorie Fowlke, District 59
Bradley Daw, District 60
Keith Grover, District 61
Christopher Herrod, District 62
Stephen Clark, District 63
Rebecca Lockhart, District 64
Francis Gibson, District 65
Michael Morley, District 66
Patrick Painter, District 67
Utah State Superintendent Larry Shumway (Nutty Putty Cave is located on school trust lands)
Utah State Board of Education
                        Mark Openshaw, District 13
                        Meghan Holbrook, Board of Regents Representative
                        Rosanita Cespedes, Board of Regents Representative
Timpanogos Grotto Leadership
Nutty Putty Cave Management Team
Wasatch Grotto
Deseret Morning News
Daily Herald
Salt Lake Tribune

Regarding: Nutty Putty Cave

I want to voice my objection to permanently closing Nutty Putty Cave and kindly request that the future of Nutty Putty Cave receive appropriate due process including public hearings and comment. The opinions expressed in this letter while solely my own are representative of thousands of other individuals who have visited Nutty Putty Cave and understand what a treasure it is.

On November 14 and 21 I led two different groups through Nutty Putty cave.  The groups consisted of young men and leaders of a BSA Venture Crew.  Prior to going into the cave, the leaders spent a significant amount of time learning to explore caves safely.  We attended grotto meetings and trainings, attended a Northwest Regional caving event in Washington where we explored many caves, and were led through Nutty Putty Cave by Timpanogos Grotto members.  We then taught the boys, ages 14 – 19, about the proper gear needed in a cave and how to safely explore a cave.  Even though these boys have been on many other riskier and seemingly more exciting high adventure activities in the last couple of years, including canyoneering, whitewater rafting, and mountain biking, this outing to Nutty Putty Cave was one of the highlights of their many years of scouting experience. 

On each of these two Saturdays I went into the cave first, unlocked the gate and waited as each boy and the second adult leader entered the cave. I wish you could have seen the expressions on their faces as they entered the opening room of the cave. The cave entrance is spectacular. It begins as you crawl down into a rugged hole in a rock outcropping on the top of the hill and then belly crawl through a small opening on the floor in the rock. After a short crawl it opens up into a subterranean chamber, and each boy simply said, “Wow!” On each visit we safely explored the cave and left with a desire to return.

After having been in the Nutty Putty Cave the last two weekends, I followed the story of John Jones’ rescue efforts closely.  My family and I were deeply saddened by the loss of John Jones’ life.  I also have young adult and teenage children and can empathize with the loss for this family.

As Utahns we value our outdoor life and activities. These activities sometimes result in injuries and occasionally death. Earlier this year former Congressman Bill Orton died in a tragic all-terrain vehicle accident at the Little Sahara Sand Dunes. While Bill Orton was older than John Jones, he had married later in life and also left a wife and two sons. While these tragic deaths should cause us to stop and reevaluate the activities involved, they do not necessarily warrant the permanent closure of valuable public natural resources.

In the height of emotion, I believe that the decision to permanently close Nutty Putty Cave has been made rashly and without public hearings or comment.  This cave is a Utah natural treasure that thousands of people have been exploring for 49 years.  Twenty-four hours after losing a life and with the drama of the failed rescue efforts still fresh in everyone’s minds is not the time to make the decision to permanently seal off this local natural resource.  Close the cave temporarily and without harming the cave, while everyone has a chance to rationally think and begin proper due process concerning the cave’s future, but please do not irreparably destroy this landmark or its natural entrance.


David Arnold
Timpanogos Grotto member
Wavetronix President & CEO
1241 W 1150 S; Provo, UT 84601


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