Steve Hudson
Steve Hudson

I sadly announce that Steve Hudson, longtime friend and avid supporter of the Southeastern Cave Conservancy, unexpectedly passed away while vacationing with his wife Diane Cousineau in Puerto Rico on December 19th, 2013.
Steve was SCCi Charter Member #16. He exemplified the backbone of the Conservancy through his Sustaining Membership. He whole heartedly participated in the sustaining program by making a significant monthly contribution every month since the program’s inception more than 16 years ago. Steve’s sustaining membership substantially contributed to the generation of the required monthly operating capital for preserve acquisitions and stewardship.
Additionally, Steve graciously gave preserve-specific donations for nearly all SCCi acquisitions. I recall how excited he was when the Conservancy acquired Neversink, Valhalla, and Byers. His most recent preserve specific donation was toward our Run To The Mill Cave Preserve. As an explorer, Steve was the first to dive the borehole’s upstream sump. He pioneered the dive route for those divers that followed. This occurred years before the preserve was acquired in 2013.Steve’s name appears on the preserve map at the dive site for his generous donation to the Run To The Mill Preserve acquisition.
Steve endorsed the SCCi’s concept of cave protection and stewardship. He believed in its organization and executing administrators. He confirmed his beliefs through his continued contributions and years of support.
Steve made possible the donation of thousands of feet of PMI rope and equipment for all of the raffles held by the Conservancy. The money raised by these raffles provided precious dollars for cave acquisition and preserve stewardship.Throughout the years, he participated as a “matching contributor” on numerous matching donor fund raising challenges.
Steve was seen frequently at the SCCi booth during the TAG Fall Cave-In. Sometimes just kidding around with staff or visitors, assisting with our booth setup, consuming an adult beverage, and other times making serious contributions to our latest acquisition or fund raising program.
Steve’s support and presence will be greatly missed by the Conservancy and its friends.You can honor his memory and legacy by making a donation to the Conservancy in his name today.
Kris Green SCCi Co-Founder, Sustaining Member #8, Vice Chairman, Director
fricks cave open house
DATE CHANGE for the Frick's Cave Open House! We recently learned that the memorial service for Steve Hudson, a friend to many of us, will be held on January 25. We know many of our supporters will want to attend Steve's service so we have rescheduled the Frick's Cave Open House for Saturday, February 15. Please share this information with your friends and your Grotto lists so we can get the word out.
The open house will be held from 9:00 to 4:30 p.m. eastern time. Because the federally protected endangered gray bats are not currently in the cave in the winter, the SCCi is able to allow members to visit the cave on this single day. We plan to host a cookout (weather permitting) in the afternoon. Save the date on your calendars and keep an eye on our Frick’s Cave open house page. We’ll post any updates or announcements there.
December 19, 2013 The Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc. (SCCi) is excited to announce the acquisition of the Run To The Mill Cave Preserve! The preserve, which contains at least two known caves, consists of 75.3 acres of land located in central Tennessee, in the southern part of Cumberland County.
Run To The Mill Cave
Run To The Mill Cave contains over two miles of huge “borehole” passages. The underground stream that flows though these passages eventually becomes the Sequatchie River.

The acquisition is important on a number of fronts.  From a water conservation perspective, Run To The Mill Cave represents the underground headwaters of the Sequatchie River. An underground stream that flows through the cave receives the underground drainage from nearby Grassy Cove. This stream eventually reaches the surface at the Head of the Sequatchie spring in the Devilstep Hollow portion of Cumberland Trail State Park. Much of the land area at the surface of the preserve also drains into the cave through an intermittent stream that flows into the cave entrance following significant rainfall events. Run To The Mill Cave also contains significant biological resources. The cave was recently discovered to host what biologists believe to be among Tennessee’s twelve largest hibernating populations of endangered Indiana bats. Possible sightings of at least two other threatened or endangered animal species have been reported in the cave as well. Finally, Run To The Mill Cave is an extremely significant recreational caving resource.  The cave, which had been closed to recreational access for over 15 years prior to SCCi’s purchase of the property, contains nearly three miles of passages and extends 445 feet below the entrance.The upper levels of the cave contain several pits that require expert technical rope skills to negotiate, including the 167-foot deep Tilted Well. Below Tilted Well lie over two miles of large stream passages, and also several areas containing remarkable cave formations.
Run To The Mill Cave contains areas with remarkable cave formations.
Run To The Mill Cave contains areas with remarkable cave formations.

Due to the recent discovery of a wintering colony of  Indiana bats, SCCi will now manage Run To The Mill Cave in a manner consistent with its other caves that contain significant populations of hibernating bats.  Cave visitation is on a permit-only basis, limited to times when the hibernating Indiana bats are not present. Permits may be requested by contacting the preserve managers at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Individuals wishing to visit the cave will also be required to follow the SCCi Cave Visitation Policy, which includes following the Conservancy’s Clean Caving Procedures. Run To The Mill Cave is presumed to be positive for the presence of White Nose Syndrome (WNS), based on visual evidence of white fungus observed on tri-colored bats in January 2013. WNS is a disease of hibernating bats that has killed millions of the animals in the eastern U.S. and Canada since its discovery in 2006.  The condition is named for a distinctive white fungus that grows on the noses and bodies of affected bats.  While WNS is not directly harmful to humans, the loss of so many bats may have significant and far ranging impacts.  Bats play a major role in many ecosystems, and benefit agriculture by crop pollination and insect control. SCCi is currently raising $200,000 to pay the costs of acquisition and funding for long-term stewardship of the new preserve.  The Lyndhurst Foundation has already made a generous $50,000 grant in support of the acquisition, and SCCi members have also contributed or pledged another $50,000 to date. Donors wishing to support the Run To The Mill Cave Preserve acquisition may contribute securely online by going to the SCCi web site,, or by mailing a check to the address listed on the website. For additional information and more photos of the preserve, visit the SCCi Run To The Mill Cave Preserve web page, or contact SCCi Chair Ron Miller at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
fricks cave open house
Every year, the SCCi hosts an open house at Frick’s Cave in Georgia, a cave that is normally closed to protect endangered bats and salamanders that live in the cave. This year, the Fricks Cave Open House will take place on Saturday, February 15 from 9:00 to 4:30 p.m. eastern time. Because the federally protected endangered gray bats are not currently in the cave in the winter, the SCCi is able to allow members to visit the cave on this single day. Save the date on your calendars and keep an eye on our Frick's Cave open house page. We'll post any updates or announcements there.
Each year, SCCi hosts an Member Appreciation Day for current SCCi members and their guests at Fricks Cave in Georgia, a cave that is normally closed to protect endangered bats that live in the cave. The Membership Appreciation Day at Fricks Cave will be February 17th. On this day from 9:00am until 4:00pm Eastern. Some areas of the cave may be cordoned off to protect hibernating bats.
Primitive camping on Friday night the 16th is available on the preserve. Signs will be posted directing you to campsites. For more information on camping or caving at Fricks Cave, contact the preserve management team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling ET Davis at 423-667-9946.
To RSVP for this event, click here.

Event Information

Current SSCi members should will be asked to help our volunteers prepare for the event. A confirmation email will contain event information. RSVP will open closer to the date of the event.
Not a current SCCi member? Please first join or renew as either a SCCi regular member
or sustaining member
. Not sure which to choose? See our membership options here

Please note:

  • Anyone wishing to visit the cave must bring their own helmets, headlamps, and all appropriate caving gear, all of which must be clean in accordance with the SCCi Clean Caving Procedures, in order to be allowed into the cave. The purpose of this requirement is to prevent the unintentional introduction of foreign bacteria, fungus, and other microscopic life forms into the highly sensitive cave environment. Anyone who does not have appropriate gear, or whose gear has not been cleaned as described above, will not be allowed to enter the cave. Because the fungus that causes White Nose Syndrome in bats has been confirmed in Fricks Cave, anyone visiting the cave must also clean and disinfect their gear after the open house and before visiting any other caves.

  • There are no guided caving trips; at least one member of each group should have sufficient caving skills and experience that they can navigate their group through the complex passages of this wild cave on their own.

  • Visitors to the cave should dress appropriately: Fricks Cave is a stream cave, and can be very cold and wet in winter, even when it is warm outside! The water flowing through the cave will be cold; visitors should expect to get wet at least up to an adult's knees, and may also get quite muddy; polypropylene or other synthetic underwear as a base layer will help reduce the very real potential for hypothermia.

  • Anyone planning to visit the cave should plan to have in their vehicle a complete set of dry and warm clothes to change into after visiting the cave. There are no indoor facilities at the preserve.

There will be a cookout that will begin at 11:30 am Eastern and food will be served until we run out. We encourage you to visit the cave then stick around for burgers and hot dogs and a visit with friends.
We hope that you will make plans to join us for this unique opportunity!
Fricks' Cave. Photo by Alan Cressler.
Fricks Cave. Photo by Alan Cressler.

Schedule of Events
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Cave open for visitation, assuming the summer gray bat colony has not yet returned. Note: SCCi Clean Caving Procedures will be strictly enforced! Frick's is a stream cave, please dress accordingly.
11:30 AM - 4:00 PM Hot food will be available until supplies run out.
Location: To protect our properties we do not publish their locations online. If you are a member and do not know where the Fricks Cave Preserve is located, please use the contact information below to obtain directions.
Questions: Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (423) 771-9671.
The 2018 annual meeting of the membership of the Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc. (SCCi) will be held Saturday, June 9th. Location will be announced later. The members' meeting will begin at 3:30 p.m. and the cookout at 5:00 p.m. All times are Central.
The meeting is open to current SCCi members and their guests.
We look forward to seeing you!
Are you interested in the inner workings of the Southeastern Cave Conservancy?
SCCi holds quarterly board meetings and members are welcome to attend open afternoon sessions. The meeting dates for 2018 are:
Winter Meeting - February 24 - Open Session Begins at 1 Central Time - Fall Creek Falls State Park, 2536 Lakeside Drive, Spencer, TN 38585 
Spring Meeting - May 19
Summer Meeting - August 18
Fall Meeting - To Be Announced
Unless otherwise announced, all of the meetings will be held at 7727 Harrier Hill, Signal Mountain TN 37377 except for the Spring meeting. The open meeting session begins at approximately 1:00 pm EST.
Are you interested in getting more involved in the SCCi?
SCCi's is successful because of the many volunteers that do the hard work conservation requires.
We need volunteers for all kinds of projects from administrative and fundraising to preserve management. Please click here to complete a volunteer skills and interest survey. This survey allows us to search for the right people with the right skills when needed.
Thank you for your interest in volunteering for SCCi and cave conservation.
Tumbling Rock Christmas Party
Looking for a different way to celebrate the holiday season? Join us on December 7 for the first Christmas Party at Tumbling Rock Cave Preserve! Make plans now to join us. Buy tickets here.
The day will start at 10:00 with caving! The cave will be open all day if you want to stop by to explore.  If you've never been to the cave or are new to caving, you can meet up with several groups very familiar with the cave. The Christmas tree formation about halfway through the cave will be illuminated with beautiful Christmas lights. This will be the 5th year the Christmas tree has featured lights during the holiday season.
Cave all day, but be back out of the cave and cleaned up by 6:00 for a banquet. We'll move inside a large, heated tent for a delicious dinner. The dinner will be catered by Carlisle's, a restaurant in nearby Scottsboro.  After eating a great dinner with other cavers, we have some special presentations lined up. Chuck Lundquist and Bill Varnadoe, two of the original explorers of Tumbling Rock, will give a presentation about the early exploration of the cave. In addition, Pat Kambesis will discuss her mapping project in the cave.
It will be a fun day and evening full of caving, time with your friends, good food, and getting to know cavers you haven't had a chance to meet. Plan to join us! If you want to camp, tent camping sites are available.
Space is limited. $40 per person. Advance tickets only. No tickets will be available at the door.
If you don't want to buy tickets online, you can also purchase tickets by mailing in a check to the address on our web site. The ticket price covers the many costs associated with putting on a first class event - including catering, a heated tent, table and chair rental, etc.
Run To The Mill cave is a TAG classic, with a deep pit, miles of passage, and large borehole. The cave is over 15,000 feet long and 445 feet deep, with a 167-foot deep pit. It's truly a caver's cave.
Support This Purchase! Buy a Piece of a Cave Preserve! This is our newest purchase, and it cost $200,000. We rely on donations to keep a steady stream of money coming in so we can finance future purchased like this cave. Your donation will be used to pay for this purchase, and donors help us fund all of the wonderful cave preserves we own. 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 YOU!
Entrance to Run To The Mill Cave

The entrance to Run To The Mill is the Grassy Cove area of Tennessee and is located in a large sinkhole with an inflowing wet weather stream. After entering the cave, you maneuver through some tight passage before emerging into walking passage. Visitors soon have to maneuver past several climbdowns to continue on, working their way through walking passage, more climbs, and some route finding. Visitors will soon encounter the top of a series of drops, that eventually lead to the 167-foot Tilted Well. At the bottom of the pit, explorers will find huge borehole stream passage, and the passage just keeps getting bigger. The passage ends in a sump.
Important note: Do NOT enter this cave if there is ANY chance of heavy rains or flash flooding. The cave does flood to the ceiling.
Run To The Mill Cave

Run To The Mill Cave

Run To The Mill Cave

Run To The Mill Cave

Preserve Information:
Acreage: ~73.0 acres
Preserve Management Team: Buddy Lane, Brad Tipton, and Jeff Patton. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.
Access:To request a permit, visit  Cave is closed September thru April. Closure is dependant on bat activity.
Preserve MapsCave Map | Land Survey | Tilted Well Map