The Holly Creek Cave Preserve near Iron City, TN is managed as a natural area and wildlife sanctuary to protect and preserve its unique attributes, including an important summer colony of endangered bats. SCCi and The Nature Conservancy of Tennessee (TNC) pooled their resources to buy this important gray bat cave. SCCi and The Nature Conservancy of Tennessee entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to share resources and expertise in joint cave conservation projects.  The preserve is being managed to preserve and protect the bats and other wildlife, and is closed from April 1 to September 15 to avoid disturbance of the summer bat colony.
One of SCCi's primary activities is the acquisition of caves through purchase, lease, easement, donation, or management agreements. Potential acquisitions are carefully evaluated. Presence of endangered plants or animals, significant geological and hydrological features, wilderness quality, threats from development or exploitation, and access issues all play a role in the evaluation process. SCCi also protects other gray bat cave in Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia.  The cave will be managed for scientific study, but use will be limited during the summer months when the bats are in residence.
NOTICE: To help prevent the spread of White Nose Syndrome (WNS) affecting bat populations, you’ll need to follow the SCCi Cave Visitation Policy.
Preserve Information:

Acreage: 12 acres in Wayne County, Tennessee
Preserve Management Team: Shane Stacy (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Access
To request a permit, visit http://permits.scci.org


 
Hollow Ridge Cave is a few miles northeast of Marianna, Florida, in a small hill that rises about 40 feet above the Chipola River flood plain. The cave has four entrances and a surveyed length of 3,370 feet, making it one of the larger caves in the area. It is formed at the contact between the Marianna Limestone and the Bumpnose member of the underlying Crystal River Limestone. The cave's passages are a mixture of narrow fissures and muddy bedding plane crawls connecting several rooms. Many formations are found throughout the cave. The lower levers are subjected to frequent flooding.
Upper Entrance, Hollow Ridge Cave   Visitors are warned that during or following heavy rains the cave may flood. The SCCi recommends that cavers not enter the cave when rain is expected. Flooding can occur very quickly and with little or no warning!
The surface areas of the preserve are wooded, with abundant growth of pine, cedar, hickory, and other trees typical to the region. A small, grassy clearing at the top of the hill serves as a parking area for visitors. Near the back of the preserve there is a small quarry, long abandoned and now overgrown with cedars, ferns, and oak-leaf hydrangeas. The Chipola river lies about 1,500 feet to the west and is fed by many springs in the area. The parking area is reached by a short dirt road and driveway.   The donation of the property was complicated by overlapping boundary lines and related title issues.
Support the SCCi! Buy a Piece of a Cave Preserve! Your donation will be used to pay for all of the wonderful cave preserves we have recently purchased. You may select a specific preserve and you’ll receive a thank-you gift of your choice. To provide ongoing support, please consider signing up as a Sustaining Member. Our sustainers give us the monthly income we need to pay for our caves and to purchase new caves. You may also make a general donation to support our work across the southeast. We are able to purchase caves we all love because of YOUR support. Help us buy even more amazing caves in the future!
NOTICE: To help prevent the spread of White Nose Syndrome (WNS) affecting bat populations, please read the SCCi Cave Visitation Policy and follow the guidelines to clean and disinfect your gear before and after visiting this cave.
Preserve Information:
Acreage: 4.97 acres in Jackson County, Florida
Preserve Management Team: Allen Mosler (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Access:To request a permit, visit http://permits.scci.org
Due to the sensitive nature of this preserve, directions are provided to SCCi members only.
Gourdneck Cave Preserve
Gourdneck Cave Preserve, photo by Kelly Smallwood

On March 17, 1997, the final signatures were placed on a 25 year lease on Tennessee's Gourdneck Cave. The SCCi now has responsibility for the cave and has committed to maintain the waterline and delivery system for the cave owner. The lease is for the cave only, but we have permission to use a potion of the surface property for parking and access.
NOTE! As of 21 September 2006, visitors to Gourdneck Cave will have to provide their own means for descending and ascending the climb at the cave entrance. There is no longer a ladder in the entrance. Any ladders or other equipment left behind by visitors will be removed. Visitors are responsible for their own safety and for providing their own means for entering and exploring the cave.
Visitors are requested to use care to avoid damage to the water pipe, dam, and other components of the water system while on the property or in the cave. Also, the parking area is only large enough for a maximum of four vehicles. Please do not park on the road or on the neighbor's property. Everyone is friendly to us and we want to keep it that way. Car-pooling and keeping groups small will help
An information kiosk at Gourdneck Cave provides additional information about the cave and the SCCi, along with emergency contact information. Gourdneck preserve manager Maureen Handler may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Support the SCCi! Buy a Piece of a Cave Preserve! Your donation will be used to pay for all of the wonderful cave preserves we have recently purchased. You may select a specific preserve and you’ll receive a thank-you gift of your choice. To provide ongoing support, please consider signing up as a Sustaining Member. Our sustainers give us the monthly income we need to pay for our caves and to purchase new caves. You may also make a general donation to support our work across the southeast. We are able to purchase caves we all love because of YOUR support. Help us buy even more amazing caves in the future!
NOTICE: To help prevent the spread of White Nose Syndrome (WNS) affecting bat populations, please read the SCCi Cave Visitation Policy and follow the guidelines to clean and disinfect your gear before and after visiting this cave.
Preserve Information:
Acreage: Leased in Marion County, Tennessee
Preserve Management Team: Maureen Handler (Lead); Kristine Ebrey (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Access: To request a permit, visit http://permits.scci.org

Preserve Management: Management Plan
At the 1995 SCCi Annual Meeting in Huntsville, Alabama, Bill Varnedoe and Carl Craig announced that Cavers Incorporated, a non-profit organization located in Huntsville, would turn over its assets, including Glove Pit, to the Southeastern Cave Conservancy. Cavers Inc. was formed by a group of Alabama cavers in the mid 1980's to accept the donation of Glove Pit from a landowner concerned about liability. The SCCi board accepted the donation and expressed its appreciation for the pioneering work done by Cavers Inc.


Support the SCCi! Buy a Piece of a Cave Preserve! Your donation will be used to pay for all of the wonderful cave preserves we have recently purchased. You may select a specific preserve and you’ll receive a thank-you gift of your choice. To provide ongoing support, please consider signing up as a Sustaining Member. Our sustainers give us the monthly income we need to pay for our caves and to purchase new caves. You may also make a general donation to support our work across the southeast. We are able to purchase caves we all love because of YOUR support. Help us buy even more amazing caves in the future!
NOTICE: To help prevent the spread of White Nose Syndrome (WNS) affecting bat populations, please read the SCCi Cave Visitation Policy and follow the guidelines to clean and disinfect your gear before and after visiting this cave.
Preserve Information:
Acreage: 0.4 acres in Madison County, Alabama
Property Manager: Jim Hall (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Access: Open. Very limited parking area. Do not block the road or impede traffic.

 
Frick's Cave. Photo by Alan Cressler.
Frick's Cave. Photo by Alan Cressler.

Frick's Cave in Georgia is the summer home of over 10,000 endangered gray bats, Georgia's only known population of the rare Tennessee cave salamander, and 33.8 acres of north Georgia karstland. Without a doubt, Frick's is Georgia's richest biologic spelean environment. It is one of only two gray bat caves in Georgia. The cave is in Walker County on the eastern flank of Lookout Mountain.
SCCi took ownership at the closing on June 10, 1997. Financing for this acquisition was provided by the Georgia Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Additional support was provided by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
Frick's Cave is closed to all visitation, except as authorized by the SCCi board, due to the presence of the endangered bats and salamanders. Entry into the cave may constitute harassment as defined in Section 9 of the federal Endangered Species Act and is punishable by imprisonment and fines up to $50,000. Please respect the endangered wildlife in this delicate cave.
SCCi hosts an annual Member Appreciation Day at the preserve each winter to allow SCCi members and guests to tour the cave when the bats are not present.
Frick's Cave. Photo by Alan Cressler.
Frick's Cave. Photo by Alan Cressler.

Support SCCi! Buy a Piece of a Cave Preserve! Your donation will be used to pay for all of the wonderful cave preserves we have recently purchased. You may select a specific preserve and you'll receive a thank-you gift of your choice. To provide ongoing support, please consider signing up as a Sustaining Member. Our sustainers give us the monthly income we need to pay for our caves and to purchase new caves. You may also make a general donation to support our work across the southeast. We are able to purchase caves we all love because of YOUR support. Help us buy even more amazing caves in the future!
Preserve Information:
Acreage: 33.8 acres in Walker County, Georgia
Preserve Management Team: ET Davis (Lead) and Allen Padgett (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Access: The cave is closed to protect endangered cave life. Access for research is by special arrangement. Permits for preserve access can be requested at permits.scci.org.

 
Frenchman Knob Cave
Frenchman Knob Cave, photo by Bob Biddix

Frenchman Knob Cave is located in Hart County, Kentucky. It's one of the deepest pits in Kentucky and has an interesting history.  Noted cave historian Angelo George wrote an article about this cave, explaining that the hill where the cave is located got its name because a Frenchman [Gilbert LeClerc] was killed and scalped on top of it. The cave in on the top of the hill and is now called Frenchman Knob Cave. Early settlers believed the pit to be bottomless, and even perhaps a route to China. Rumors about the cave spurred local cave explorers to explore the mysterious cave in 1949. Using a 160 foot rope ladder, one local boy climbed down into the cave and found a large room. Angelo George writes: "He signaled back to his companions about the big cave at the bottom, and they all climbed down to see the cave. During their exploration, they found evidence that they were not the first to descend into the depths of Frenchman Knob Pit. Dyer says they found signatures and an 1895 date on the wall, which may have been by the orig­inal successful explorers of the pit cave." To read Angelo George's article, you may request a copy of the article "Frenchman Knob, The Bottomless Pit in Kentucky" in the Journal of Spelean History from the National Speleological Society's library. You may also read some interesting history of the cave on the Bacon Creek History Society's website.


In recent years, biologists discovered a colony of endangered Indiana bats hibernate in the cave. The SCCi acquired this cave to protect the bat colony.
Support the SCCi! Buy a Piece of a Cave Preserve! Your donation will be used to pay for all of the wonderful cave preserves we have recently purchased. You may select a specific preserve and you'll receive a thank-you gift of your choice. To provide ongoing support, please consider signing up as a Sustaining Member. Our sustainers give us the monthly income we need to pay for our caves and to purchase new caves. You may also make a general donation to support our work across the southeast. We are able to purchase caves we all love because of YOUR support. Help us buy even more amazing caves in the future!
Preserve Information:
Acreage: 38.61 acres in Hart County, Kentucky
Preserve Management Team: (Chairman) Steve Miller and Pat Kambesis (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Access: 
To request a permit, visit http://permits.scci.org Closed Sep 1 - Apr 30.

Frenchman Knob Cave
Frenchman Knob Cave, photo by Bob Biddix


Cemetery Pit, Fox Mountain Preserve. Photo by JV Van Swearingen, IV
Cemetery Pit, Fox Mountain Preserve. Photo by JV Van Swearingen, IV

The Fox Mountain preserve is one of SCCi's richest cave and karst preserves. The area has a long history with cavers, and contains several of the finest caves in TAG. Cemetery Pit has long been a favorite of vertical cavers, due to its 153' entrance pit, large rooms, and almost 3 miles of passages. Hurricane Cave is also a local favorite, with over a mile of passage. Rusty's Cave is one of the deepest caves in the state, in spite of the fact that its 45' entrance pit is the only rope-work required in the cave. The purchase of Byer's Cave added another significant cave to the preserve in 2006 as well as additional acreage. Byer's Cave was previously closed to visitors for decades. Several smaller caves are also known on the property, and new caves will undoubtedly be discovered in the more remote northern section of the preserve.
Currently, the historic entrance to Hurricane Cave (through the pipe) is closed, but the SCCi is actively meeting and working with the DOT and DNR to try to regain access through that entrance. Recent construction and survey activity around the entrance and the ends of the access tunnel are part of that project.
Support the SCCi! Buy a Piece of a Cave Preserve! Your donation will be used to pay for all of the wonderful cave preserves we have recently purchased. You may select a specific preserve and you'll receive a thank-you gift of your choice. To provide ongoing support, please consider signing up as a Sustaining Member. Our sustainers give us the monthly income we need to pay for our caves and to purchase new caves. You may also make a general donation to support our work across the southeast. We are able to purchase caves we all love because of YOUR support. Help us buy even more amazing caves in the future!
NOTICE: To help prevent the spread of White Nose Syndrome (WNS) affecting bat populations, please read the SCCi Cave Visitation Policy and follow the guidelines to clean and disinfect your gear before and after visiting this cave preserve.
Preserve Information:
Acreage: 448.6 acres in Dade County, Georgia
Preserve Management Team: Tripp Lichtefeld (lead), Jerry Wallace, and Brian Killingbeck (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Access: For a permit, visit http://permits.scci.org  12 person limit on group size, do not park on the interstate. The entrance to Hurricane Cave the state of Georgia owns (through the pipe) is closed due to structural problems with the entrance. The natural Sunbeam entrance is open.
Preserve Maps: Surface Plot Poster  | Cemetery Pit Poster  | Fox Mountain Selected Cave Passages
Surprise Pit Amy Hinkle
Surprise Pit, photo by Amy Hinkle

Fern Cave is one of the most significant and fascinating caves in the Unites States. On October 10, 2008, SCCi announced that they signed a contract to purchase 80 acres in Jackson County Alabama overlying a large portion of Fern Cave and including the Fern Sink Entrance and Surprise Pit. The preserve, named the Kay Hill Deen Fern Cave Preserve, is a privately owned tract adjoining the federally-owned Fern Cave National Wildlife Refuge. Since 1997, the SCCi has managed the Fern Sink entrance and Surprise Pit under a lease agreement with the owner. When the opportunity arose in the summer of 2008, SCCi was able to convert our long-term relationship with the property into permanent ownership and protection. You can help support permanent protection of Fern Cave by becoming an SCCi member and donating to help with the acquisition costs.  SCCi Sustaining Membership is the best way to support the acquisition and protection of Fern Cave and other southeastern caves.
Fern Cave has five entrances. Four of these are on the Fern Cave National Wildlife Refuge (US Department of the Interior), and one (The Fern Sink, or Surprise Pit entrance) is located on property the SCCi owns. One section of the cave is the largest gray bat hibernaculum in the country. As a result, new restrictions are now in place to protect the bat colony from White Nose Syndrome. We ask that everyone who visits the cave take the decontamination request very seriously.
Entry into Surprise Pit requires a permit. The other four entrances of Fern Cave that the US Fish and Wildlife Service owns are still closed.
Fern Cave Access Procedure

Support the SCCi! Buy a Piece of a Cave Preserve! Your donation will be used to pay for all of the wonderful cave preserves we have recently purchased. You may select a specific preserve and you'll receive a thank-you gift of your choice. To provide ongoing support, please consider signing up as a Sustaining Member. Our sustainers give us the monthly income we need to pay for our caves and to purchase new caves. You may also make a general donation to support our work across the southeast. We are able to purchase caves we all love because of YOUR support. Help us buy even more amazing caves in the future!
Preserve Information:
Acreage: 80.0 acres in Jackson County, Alabama.
Preserve Management Team: Steve Pitts (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Access: To request a permit, visit http://permits.scci.org
Preserve Maps: Slices of the Pit Poster | Surface Map Poster
Anderson Cave
Anderson Cave, photo by Jerry Saulsberry

The SCCi and the Birmingham Water Works Board (BWWB) entered the Anderson Cave Preserve Cooperative Management Agreement in May 2007 to reduce unauthorized entry and potential liability of caves within its watershed. The SCCi will study and help to protect the endangered species that may be present.
Preserve Information:
Acreage: Lease/management agreement in Shelby County, Alabama.
Preserve Management Team: Joel McGuire, Jerry Saulsberry and Ray Merrill (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Access: Closed during the summer when bats are roosting. To request a permit, visit http://permits.scci.org. The person requesting the permit must be a current NSS or SCCi member.
Support the SCCi! Buy a Piece of a Cave Preserve! Your donation will be used to pay for all of the wonderful cave preserves we have recently purchased. You may select a specific preserve and you'll receive a thank-you gift of your choice. To provide ongoing support, please consider signing up as a Sustaining Member. Our sustaining members give us the monthly income we need to pay for our caves and to purchase new caves. You may also make a general donation to support our work across the southeast. We are able to purchase caves we all love because of YOUR support. Help us buy even more amazing caves in the future!