May 16, 1997 The Southeastern Cave Conservancy is pleased to be the owner of Fricks Cave, 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 Fricks is Georgia's richest biologic spelean environment. It is one of two Gray Bat caves in Georgia. The cave is in Walker County on the eastern flank of Lookout Mountain. Previous attempts to buy the cave were unsuccessful and the cave, along with the entire 426 acre Meadowview Farm, went up for auction on May 10, 1997. We went to the auction and were able to secure a contract on all the tracts that we wanted to get. The bidding was rather fierce, and we had to pay more than we had hoped, but we got what we need to protect the cave and its inhabitants. The SCC was represented by a delegation consisting of Bill Putnam, Mark Wolinsky, Buddy Lane, E.T. Davis, Kenneth Huffines, Steve Hudson, Diane Cousineau, and Karen Padgett. All of these people, plus Jim Ozier (Georgia Department of Natural Resources), Andrew Schock (Georgia Nature Conservancy), Jim Godwin (Alabama Natural Heritage Program), Kurt Buhlman (University of Georgia), and several others helped make this acquisition possible. The SCC 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. Fricks Cave is closed to all visitation due to the presence of the endangered bats and salamanders. Entry into the cave may constitute harrassment 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. The SCCi hosts an annual Open House day at the preserve each winter to allow visitors to tour the cave when the bats are not present. For information about the Open House day or to inquire about access to the cave and preserve, contact the Fricks Cave Management Committee. The "Buy a Fricks Cave Bat" program generates funds to pay off the mortgage, pay property taxes, and pay for the maintenance and upkeep of the preserve. The purchase price was over $100,000, so we've really got to sell a LOT of bats! Your tax deductible $10 donation gets you an honorary certificate of adoption (complete with your own bat's name) and an SCCI bat decal.
Neversink is Ours! December 5, 1995 On Tuesday, December 5 1995, the Southeastern Cave Conservancy became the owner of the classic TAG pit, Neversink. The closing was held in Scottsboro, Alabama, with Mark Wolinsky, Bill Putnam, and Buddy Lane representing the SCCi. This event is the culmination of almost three years of work by many SCCi members. It was made possible by the generous support of cavers and organizations throughout the US. We would especially like to thank Pigeon Mountain Industries, the Dogwood City Grotto, the Huntsville Grotto, and the Richmond Area Speleological Society for their early and generous financial support. A large share of the credit for bringing this complicated deal to completion goes to SCCi Acquisitions Chairman Mark Wolinsky, who handled the negotiations and ran down countless details to make it all work. The total cost of the acquisition was just over $51,000, including legal fees and survey expenses. The SCCi raised $31,000 and borrowed another $20,000 to make the purchase. As a result of a very successful fundraising campaign, the debt was paid in full by October, 1996. Neversink. Photo by John Van Swearingen, IV. The Southeastern Cave Conservancy is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to the acquisition and management of caves and cave access in the Southeastern US. Membership costs $25 per year and is open to anyone interested in the management and protection of caves. Member dues go directly to buy, lease, and manage caves. History of the SCCi Neversink Acquisition Neversink is a beautiful 162 foot open air pit in Jackson County Alabama. Long known and loved by TAG cavers, the cave is considered by many to be the classic TAG pit. It is probably the most photographed pit in TAG due to the beautiful fern covered ledges (including some rare and endangered ferns), waterfalls, and other features. The pit is about 40 feet in diameter at the top and bells out to 100 feet in diameter at the bottom. It has been featured in countless slide shows and has been pictured in many publications including the NSS News, various convention guidebooks, and the cover of Bob Thrun's book Prusiking. The pit was closed in 1993 due to a change of ownership. The new owner was concerned about liability and about disturbance of the water pipe from the spring above the pit. The spring is the only reliable water supply for a home at the bottom of the mountain. The SCCi was already in negotiations to buy the pit when it was sold in 1993 to another buyer who bypassed the real estate agent. We then made contact with the new owner and entered into negotiations to buy the pit from him. After much work, an agreement was reached. We began raising money to pay for the cave. At the eleventh hour the owner had second thoughts and decided to sell the land to the person using the spring. We then made contact with that person, and were eventually able to reach a agreement to buy the cave from him in return for a guarantee of a water rights easement for the spring. In July 1995 the Southeastern Cave Conservancy signed a contract with the owner to purchase the pit. Following a survey of the property and some arrangements regarding parking and walking access, the SCCi completed the purchase and took ownership on December 5, 1995. Total cost of the purchase was a little over $51,000. The SCCi raised most the money and secured a loan sufficient to allow us to complete the deal. We had six months to pay off the loan at no interest. At the 1995 TAG Fall Cave In the SCCi kicked off a major new fund raising program for the Neversink Purchase called "Buy a Piece of the Pit". Similar in organization to the NSS Office Buy a Brick campaign, the plan allows cavers to make a contribution to the SCCi Neversink Fund and receive a complimentary Neversink T-Shirt with a map of the cave and the words "I Bought A Piece of the Pit" plus an honorary certificate of ownership, suitable for framing, which identifies your particular plot on the property. The fund raising program was a major success and allowed us to retire the debt from the purchase in one year. All contributions are tax deductible in accordance with IRS rules for charitable contributions. The SCCi is a 501-c-3 non-profit tax exempt organization. Any questions regarding Neversink may be referred to SCCi Neversink Property Manager Jim Hall. If you would like to support the SCCi by joining as a member, the dues are $25 and should be sent to SCCi Treasurer Buddy Lane, 40 Hidden Brook Lane, Signal Mountain TN 37377.