4th Annual SCCi Science Awards Program: Call for Proposals

The Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc. (SCCi) announces that the Annual Science Awards program to help fund scientific and conservation research projects on SCCi preserves is now soliciting grant proposals for 2019-2020. As the nation’s largest and most successful land conservancy solely devoted to acquiring and protecting caves, SCCi understands that scientific research must be part of our mission. We firmly believe that research is essential to conserving cave and karst resources, and it is a foundation upon which good stewardship must depend.

We aim to have a well-rounded research program with focus mainly towards cave/karst topics in geology, geochemistry, hydrology, biology, environmental science, and archaeology. SCCi currently protects more than 170 caves on 31 preserves in 6 states. Any one or more of these caves and preserves would be worthy of different scientific investigations.

SCCi is now accepting grant proposals from non-profit caving groups, scientists, university/college faculty members, and undergraduate-graduate students for conducting research projects at SCCi properties beginning in the Fall of 2019. Funds can only be given to a not-for-profit organization or educational institution. For this year, funding is available to support as many as 3 grants of up to $1,500-$2,000 for (1) geology, geochemistry, or hydrology, (2) biology (zoology and botany) and (3) environmental/archaeological projects.

All proposals must follow the format outlined below and be submitted via email to SCCi Chief Scientist Dr. Matthew Niemiller at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. In addition to the research proposal, please also include your C.V. or resume highlighting your current position, educational background, and relevant research experience. The deadline for submissions is December 15, 2019. A team of reviewers will evaluate all proposals and base their decisions on scientific merit. Funding decisions will be announced by December 30, 2019. Awardees from the previous year are not eligible. Results from the research must be submitted to SCCi as brief biannual reports highlighting research progress and accomplishments to date followed by a final report or thesis. We encourage publishing in scientific journals but SCCi reserves the right to review each report for approval/disapproval prior to publishing.

In your proposal, please provide the following information:

TITLE. Provide a concise and descriptive title in 15 words or less of the proposed research.

CONTACT INFORMATION. Provide your name, official mailing address, contact phone number, and email address.

BACKGROUND AND NEED. Describe in up to 1,500 words state the research problem which will be addressed wholly or in part by this research. Provide in up to 1,500 words relevant background information and discussion to (1) clearly identify the research problem that will be addressed wholly or in part by the proposed research; (2) provide a framework for the research and how it relates to other research; and (3) identify the relevance of the proposed research.

OBJECTIVE(S). Describe in up to 500 words the primary research question(s), hypothesis, predictions, and specific objectives of the proposed research. Objectives should focus on research outcomes.

EXPECTED RESULTS OR BENEFITS. Describe in up to 500 words the expected results and benefits of the proposed research. How will the research project benefit cave and karst resources owned and/or managed by SCCi? Please attempt to provide quantifiable or verifiable resource benefits. Also identify plans for how the results of the research will be disseminated.

APPROACH. Describe in up to 1,500 words how the research will be conducted. Include the major method(s) to be employed and the schedule (i.e., project timeline) to be followed. Please list any existing or pending permits and approvals necessary to conduct the research (e.g., state or federal scientific collecting permit). If you are an undergraduate or graduate student, please identify the research advisor at your institution.

LOCATION. Identify where the research will occur and include a list of SCCi preserves and caves where research may be conducted.

ESTIMATED COST AND BUDGET. Provide the total estimated cost for the research project and an itemized budget on how SCCi funding from this award would be applied. In addition, please provide a short justification for budget line item requested. If the total project budget is greater than the amount of SCCi funding requested, please include a list of other existing or potential sources of funding for the project.

LITERATURE CITED. Provide all relevant literature cited in the proposal.

4th Annual Bats, Beer and Bluegrass

B32019PSCombining great bluegrass music, locally crafted brews from Chattanooga Brewing and amazing food from Parkway Pourhouse in a gorgeous outdoor setting, Bats, Beer & Bluegrass is one of the most unique events in the Southeast. Dinner is included with your ticket. Beer is available for purchase (over 21 years old of course). Purchase a VIP ticket and get a souvenir mug, poster and or complementary beer during the event.

This year we have two amazing bluegrass bands, No Time Flatt and The Tin Cup Rattlers. No Time Flatt is the 2017 and 2018 winner of the Tennessee Music Awards, "Bluegrass Band of the Year." The Tin Cup Rattlers are a husband and wife duo from Chattanooga who feature a rich bluegrass tradition.

Best of all will be the opportunity to experience all of this on a gorgeous nature preserve with the stunning entrance to Frick's Cave as the backdrop. The evening ends with a chance to witness the spectacular flight of the endangered gray bats from the cave.


Click here for more information and to buy your tickets 4th Annual Bats, Beer and Bluegrass

Stephens Gap Temporary Closure

After a recent fatality at the Stephens Gap Preserve involving Philip Whitehead of Kentucky and Florida, SCCi has decided to temporarily close visitation to the preserve up to but no later than September 20.  This is out of respect to the family and friends of Philip Whitehead, and to evaluate and discuss current visitation guidelines and/or develop new ones.  The Board must also evaluate reports from the Jackson County Sheriff's Office and the Jackson County Coroner, as this death remains under investigation.  The Board did not make this decision in haste or without much discussion and counsel. Should you have questions, please contact Ray Knott, Executive Director at 423-771-9671.

Stephens Gap Fatality

SCCi extends our condolences to the family of the man that fell to his death at the Stephens Gap-Callahan Preserve on 04/11/19. Cause for the fall in unknown.

Out of respect and to facilitate the investigation, we cancelled all permits for 04/12/19 and have suspended issuing new permits to the preserve until 4/20/19. The Jackson County Sheriff's department has released no details regarding the fatality as of this post.

SCCi Is Hiring

SCCi was recently awarded a capacity building grant from the Lyndhurst Foundation. This grant funds 2 positions.

The first position is a Director of Outreach and Education. This person will be responsible for developing a robust education program that primarily targets K-12 classrooms. In addition to curriculum support, the position will develop and deliver talks focused on SCCi and wild cave conservation to community groups, preserve vistors, etc. Finally, the Director - Education and Outreach will have responsibility for working with our members and donors (under $500 annually). For more information and instructions on applying, read the position description - SCCi_Director_Education_and_Outreach.pdf

The second position is a Land Manager. This position is responsible for managing various aspects of preserve operations ranging from working with preserve visitors to managing small projects such as trail maintenance, kiosk building, signage, etc. This position will also work to kick-start an SCCi led trip program. Due to the nature of this position, the person will need to be skilled in both horizontal and vertical caving; have the physical ability to navigate rough terrain safely; and be willing to work outside in all four seasons. For more information and instructions on applying, read the position description - SCCi_Land_Manager.pdf

SCCi Receives 2300 Acre Land Donation in North Georgia

Henson Preserve Vista Courtesy of Georgia Alabama Land TrustImage Courtesy of Georgia Alabama Land Trust

The Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc. recently received a donation of more than 2,300 acres in Northwest Georgia from an anonymous donor, as well as additional acreage from the Georgia-Alabama Land Trust, Inc. Together, the donated property constitutes most of the failed development called the Preserve at Rising Fawn, located at Johnsons Crook in Dade County, Georgia.

The property includes more than 30 known caves, stands of hardwood trees in a stunning landscape, and a diverse ecological environment supporting wildlife of all kinds. This donated land will be named the Charles B. Henson Preserve at Johnsons Crook, honoring the memory of Chuck Henson, a long-time caver and benefactor to the Conservancy. His recognition of the risks of development to the fragile systems of Johnsons 

For over six years, Georgia-Alabama Land Trust worked to protect many parcels in the failed development as they became available, through the acquisition of land and through conservation easements. It now holds a permanent conservation easement on all of the land in the Henson Preserve. The Land Trust’s Johnson's Crook Project was accomplished through private and corporate donations, and support from foundations such as the Open Space Institute's Northwest Georgia Land Protection Fund. Open Space Institute’s Northwest Georgia Land Protection Fund is made possible with funding from the Lyndhurst Foundation and the Benwood Foundation. The Northwest Georgia Land Protection Fund seeks to build capacity of land trusts working to protect ecologically significant landscapes in northwest Georgia.

“I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that this project all came together,” said Katherine Eddins, Executive Director of Georgia-Alabama Land Trust. “The importance of preserving Johnson’s Crook first came to my attention fifteen years ago, and it has been gratifying to see land once slated for development preserved in its natural state.”

Crook and the opportunity for conservation began the efforts to protect the land and make the preserve a reality.

“The partnership with the Land Trust has made it possible for this natural resource to be protected and enjoyed forever by cavers, hikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts,” said Ray Knott, Executive Director of SCCi. “The Conservancy wants the Henson Preserve to be an asset to Dade County and the North Georgia community.”

Cave on Henson Preserve Courtesy of Alan CresslerImage Courtesy of Alan Cressler

The Conservancy will work with community partners to develop a master plan for the Henson Preserve. “Conserving this amount of land comes with a lot of responsibility and cost. Stewardship, trails, and basic recreation structures can be costly. We will need the input and support of many partners to make the Henson Preserve a North Georgia destination,” stated Knott.

About Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc. (SCCi): SCCi is the world’s largest land conservancy solely dedicated to saving caves. SCCi protects more than 170 caves on 4,500 acres in six southeastern states. Founded in 1991, SCCi is a 501(c)3 charitable organization. To learn more about SCCi and wild cave conservation, visit www.SaveYourCaves.org.

About Georgia-Alabama Land Trust: The Georgia-Alabama Land Trust, Inc. is a nonprofit conservation organization that actively works to protect and steward land. We are the largest land trust that services the Southeastern region of the United States. For more information on protecting land in Alabama and Georgia, visit www.GeorgiaAlabamaLandTrust.org.

2019 Member Appreciation Day

We would like to invite SCCi memebers and their guests to join us for the 2019 Member Appreciation Day at Fricks Cave Preserve. If you are coming, please follow the RSVP instructions at the end of this email.

WHENSaturday, February 9th. Drop in any time between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM.

WHEREFricks Cave Preserve, 1510 Fricks Gap Road, Chickamauga GA 30707

The cookout will begin at 11:30 am Eastern and food will be served until we run out. We encourage you to visit the cave; have a burger or hot dog; and visit with friends.

Primitive camping is available on Friday and Saturday nights. 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.

Please note:

  • Anyone entering the cave must bring their own helmets, headlamps, and all appropriate caving gear. All gear must be clean in accordance with the SCCi Clean Caving Procedures. 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 before visiting any other caves.
  • There are no guided caving trips; at least one member of each group must 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 a complete set of dry and warm clothes to change into after visiting the cave. There are no indoor facilities at the preserve.


We hope that you will make plans to join us for this unique opportunity!

Love bats? Every year on Member Appreciation Day, Katrina Morris from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources conducts a bat survey in Fricks Cave. This year she has offered to have 10 people tag along with her while she works and explains what she does. She will start around 9 am. If you are interested in joining her, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to reserve your spot in addition to RSVPing below.

RSVP PROCESS

This year we are combining the RSVP process with the release signing process. The link below is to the online release form for this event. Each adult should sign their own release. After clicking on the link, click NEXT while reading through the release. Parents/guardians with minor children should add the minor's name in the minor box. One minor's name per line. 

https://permits.scci.org/release-form.html?wic_release___permit_id=8681

Upon arrival, we will confirm you have signed the online release and give you a wrist band. All attendees (caving or not) should sign the release.

This process will save trees by not printing releases and speed up the sign-in process. If you have any questions or difficulties, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

SCCi Announces 2nd Annual Science Awards

The Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc. (SCCi), the largest land conservancy in the world solely focused on protecting wild caves, recently announced the award of two grants through its annual Science Award Program. Scientific research is an integral part of SCCi’s work. It is essential to conserving cave and karst resources.

"Buying caves to preserve and protect them is a noble endeavor. It is what SCCi is known for.” Says Dr. George Veni, Executive Director of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute and President, International Union of Speleology. “But effective preservation and protection is often impossible without good scientific research to identify needs and best management practices. SCCi's Science Awards Program helps assure their caves are sustainably managed, and supports both established and young scientists' focus on much needed cave and karst research."

This year’s science award recipients are:

(1) Drs. Cathy Borer and Angela Poole, of the Department of Biology, Berry College in Rome, Georgia for “Molecular identification of plant roots” to be conducted at Howard’s Waterfall Cave Preserve, Georgia.  The researchers will develop and test molecular techniques needed to identify plant species of roots that are exposed in cave walls and ceilings.  The researchers note that root physiological studies done at the land surface are difficult to conduct without damaging roots and influencing their physiological processes while exposing them for study.  However, roots exposed in caves allow for easy access to plant roots for study and most importantly they can be sampled with minimal damage to the root system for analyses. In order to properly study root physiology, the plant species must be identified first.  Thus, this study will develop and test molecular techniques to identify the plant species from root samples. The SCCi has awarded $1,500 to support this important research.

(2) Joe Lamb and Dr. Yong Wang, of the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, Alabama, for "Abiotic factors influencing cave use by salamanders in northern Alabama.”  This study forms part of Joe Lamb’s M.S. thesis.  The researchers note that cave salamanders have strict environmental tolerances (temperature, humidity), and that their abundance and diversity are an indicator of the health of a cave environment and perhaps the ecosystem health of forest systems surrounding caves.  Joe and Dr. Wang will determine salamander abundance, density, and diversity in the near-surface parts of Tumbling Rock Cave Preserve in Alabama.  The SCCi has awarded $1,500 to support this important research.

For more information about our science mission and to inquire about submitting science proposals for next year, please contact SCCi Chief Scientist, Dr. Matthew Niemiller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SCCi Opens New Office

office

The Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc. (SCCi), the largest land conservancy in the world solely focused on protecting wild caves, recently moved into its new office space at 2213 Fairmount Pike, Signal Mountain, TN.

The new office will allow SCCi to grow its staff and volunteer base is as it continues to acquire and protect more caves. "Our growth plans reflect 27 years of progress," says Ray Knott, Executive Director of SCCi. "Since SCCi started in a living room in Atlanta, we've come a long way in protecting more than 170 caves that span the Southeast US. But stewardship of these underground treasures is never-ending, and we need fresh ideas and more allies. With this new space, we'll be able to better foster collaboration with our donors, members, and conservation partners."

SCCi's work is vital to the effort of environmental conservation. "The Southeastern US is home to some of the most beautiful and scientifically significant caves in North America. But sadly, many of them are under threat of destruction from development or misuse. So we work to protect and preserve these caves for you, for future generations, and for the hundreds of endangered species that call them home," Knott said.

About Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc.
Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc. protects and preserves caves through conservation, education, and recreation. When caves are safeguarded, fragile ecosystems are protected, historic artifacts are preserved, and endangered species thrive. SCCi is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Signal Mountain, Tennessee. Visit SaveYourCaves.org for more information.

Tumbling Rock Rescue

At approximately 7:30 pm (Central) on Saturday February 10th, Huntsville Cave Rescue Unit was dispatched to SCCi’s Tumbling Rock Cave Preserve. A visitor hurt his knee on the Wildcat Rock Pile. At approximately 11:00 pm (Central), the visitor was carried out by the Huntsville Cave Rescue Unit.
Special thanks to SCCi Board Members Patty Springer and Steve Davis and SCCi Preserve Manager Nathan Williams for their onsite assistance.
Incidents like this are a reminder that visiting wild caves come with inherent dangers. Accidents can and do happen. To learn more about recreational caving, visit a local Grotto (Chapter) of the National Speleological Society at www.Caves.org.

Call for Nominations - 2017 John Van Swearingen IV Stewardship Award

John JV Van Swearingen IV Stewardship AwardJV Van Swearingen IV. Nominate cave stewards for the JV Van Swearingen IV Stewardship Award!

SCCi, in cooperation with the Huntsville Grotto, is proud to announce that nominations are open for the 2017 John Van Swearingen IV Stewardship Award! The award was conceived by the Huntsville Grotto in honor of long-time member, conservationist, cave steward, and SCCi Director, JV, who passed away in 2001. It is presented annually at the TAG Fall Cave In.

JV served for many years as the Fern Cave Access Coordinator, providing stewardship of the Fern Cave system and preserve for both the US Fish and Wildlife Service and SCCi. The purpose of the award is to meaningfully recognize the stewardship efforts of an individual, a group of individuals, or an organization that has provided significant stewardship activities for one or more caves, cave preserves, or karst properties, personally conducted over an extended period of time.

The award, sponsored by the Huntsville Grotto and the SCCi, is also intended to promote long-term cave conservation and stewardship activities, and to encourage and thank those individuals and organizations who perform them. We are accepting nominations until September 30, 2017. Please fill out the award nomination form and send it to the award committee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Please recognize deserving individuals or organizations! Feel free to re-post and/or print for your Grotto and fellow cavers. If you have any questions, please contact the committee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Cave Safely

NSS LogoThe following basic safety information is provided with permission from the National Speleological Society. To learn more about caving or find a local grotto (chapter) of the National Speleological Society visit www.caves.org. While you are there, become a member!

Basic Safety Information

There are several versions of cave safety guidelines. Having adequate training and reliable equipment are the main points in each one. Safe use of equipment can be achieved only by sharing information, teaching and demonstrations. Chances of being injured are reduced by awareness of dangers and by knowledge of your equipment and techniques.

Statistically, caving accidents are mostly attributed to poor judgment, little or no caving experience and falls. The most common causes of caving accidents include: falling, being struck by falling objects and hypothermia.

Falling: To reduce the risk of falling, one should avoid jumping and uncontrolled sliding down slopes, wear proper footwear, check and discard any faulty or worn vertical equipment and obtain proper training. When caving, you should always try to have three points of contact when moving over uneven ground. This means having three points on your body supported on immovable objects to stabilize your body while moving through difficult areas.

Falling Objects: Injury caused by falling objects are best avoided by always wearing a helmet. It is best to stay clear of the base of drops and climbs. Secure all items of equipment so that they will not drop on cavers below you. Remember to always yell "ROCK!" for all falling objects, even if it's your water bottle. Saying "WATER!" will take too much time for the person to think when a second of reaction time is all they have.

Hypothermia: If the temperature drops more than a few degrees, the body can no longer function properly. Dress appropriately for the weather and carry extra clothing or something that can protect you from the cold. The first signs of hypothermia are fatigue, drowsiness, exhaustion, unwillingness to go on, feeling cold, poor coordination and stumbling.

Other Hazards: Not all caving problems involve injuries. A few people do get lost in caves, become stuck or are unable to climb up a ledge or rope to get out of the cave. Exhaustion and a lack of light (or light failure) may cause someone to become lost who might otherwise have found their way out of the cave.

A Closer Look Into Safety

As you plan to go on a cave trip, there are several things you should include in your pre-trip planning. Proper preparation will help you have a safe trip and will give some amount of protection against the many dangers of being under ground.

The mere fact that you are interested in caving implies that you are probably comfortable with some level of risk and are somewhat comfortable with the unknown. These are good things, but a person preparing for a cave trip considers the risks, tries to anticipate the problems and thinks about the unknowns. No one wants to have a problem while we are under ground, but we should never go into the cave without at least taking a few minutes to think about the things that can go wrong on our trip.

NEVER Cave Alone

This is dangerous, fool hardy and is a sure recipe for a disaster. The smallest size group recommend is four people. With this number, if someone is hurt, one person can stay and comfort the injured and the other two can get help.

First-time Cavers

There are several things that should be discussed with people who have never been underground before. Discussing the following points with them will help them be mentally prepared, safer and have a better experience.

  1. Three points of contact should be exhibited when moving over uneven ground. This means having three points on your body supported on immovable objects. Whether it is your left foot, right shoulder and knee; your left elbow, head and right hip; or your right hand, bottom and back.
  2. The group needs to stay together. The only reasons not to have people stay together will involve either someone with an injury or an emergency.
  3. Do not exert yourself beyond the limits of your endurance and never do anything that your are not comfortable with. Remember, discretion is the better part of valor. If anyone should have any questions or anxieties, he or she should make their concerns known. It is a team effort when underground.
  4. Do not leave trash behind, pick up others' trash, do not vandalize and do not take souvenirs. Everyone should know the importance of cave conservation on the trip. The caver's motto: Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing footprints, kill nothing but time.
  5. Have an emergency plan and discuss what will be done if something goes wrong. Everyone should know to wait for instructions from the trip leader, unless he or she is in a life-threatening situation. They need to understand that the trip leader makes the decisions in case of an emergency.

Getting Equipped

Every caving trip requires the same basic equipment and supplies. These items include light, head protection (helmet), food, water, first aid kit and proper clothing.

Responsibility

Caving responsibly involves planning a trip, moving through the cave safely and returning on time. You and your partners are responsible for protecting yourselves and the caves you visit.

Tell Someone Your Plans

Establish a time to be out of the cave and a contact person who knows this information. Notify a reliable person about your caving plans, including the name, the location of the cave you are visiting and your estimated time of return. Agree on what to do if you do not return on time. He or she should understand that they will be the person to call for help if you have not checked in with them after the trip should have ended. If you exit the cave after your estimated exit time contact this person as soon as possible to prevent an unnecessary rescue.

Group Size

A good group size is four to six people. Groups larger than six tend to be slow and difficult to manage, so divide a larger group of cavers into separate groups. Each group should have at least one, preferably two, people who are familiar with the cave and good caving skills and practices.

Alertness and Challenges

When caving it is important to remain clear headed. Drugs, including alcohol, that affect your alertness, judgment or ability to think clearly make you a threat to your group’s safety.

Everyone going on the trip should be physically and mentally ready for the challenges that will be associated with the trip. He or she will also need to have the skills required for the kind of cave. For example, does someone have a limiting medical condition? Is someone claustrophobic and you are going on a tight trip? Will everyone on a vertical trip understand on-rope techniques like a change over? The bottom line is, if you think that you or someone else on the trip is not up to challenges that you will be encountering, it is far better to bring it up before a serious problem arises inside the cave.

Hazards

A novice’s apprehension before a caving trip is healthy and an awareness of possible hazards helps you avoid them. Here are some of the dangers of caving.

  • Getting lost
  • Running out of light
  • Hypothermia
  • Passages flooding
  • Falling rocks
  • Poor footing, falling
  • Falling down pits

Science Awards Announced

The Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc. (SCCi) announces the inception of the Annual Science Awards program to help fund scientific and conservation research projects on SCCi preserves.  As the nation’s largest and most successful land conservancy devoted to acquiring and protecting caves, the SCCi understands that scientific research must be part of our mission. We firmly believe that research is essential to conserving karst resources and it is a foundation upon which good stewardship must depend. We aim to have a well-rounded research program with focus mainly towards cave/karst topics in geology, geochemistry, hydrology, biology, environmental science and archaeology.  The SCCi currently protects 171 caves on 31 preserves in 6 states.  Any one of these would be worthy of various types of scientific investigations. The SCCi is now accepting grant proposals from non-profit caving groups, independent scientists, university/college faculty members, and undergraduate-graduate students for conducting research projects at SCCi properties, beginning in 2017.  Funds can only be given to a not-for-profit organization or education institution. For this year, there are 3 annual awards of $1,500 each for (1) geology, geochemistry, or hydrology, (2) biology (zoology and botany) and (3) environmental/archaeological projects. All proposals must be submitted using the SCCi research proposal online.  The deadline for submissions is August 1, 2017. A team of reviewers will evaluate all proposals and base their decisions on scientific merit.  Decisions will be announced by September 1, 2017.  If an awarded project is to continue into the following year, the researcher(s) may submit a proposal for a research extension.  Results from the research must be submitted to the SCCi as a written report or thesis.  We encourage publishing in scientific journals but the SCCi reserves the right to review each report for approval/disapproval prior to publishing. To submit a grant request visit https://permits.scci.org/annual-science-awards. You must register to complete a grant request. For more information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Board Candidate Nominations Open



Call for Board Candidate Nominations


 
SCCi is the world's largest land conservancy solely dedicated to cave and karst conservation. The Board of Directors provides strategic oversight for the organization including stewardship of 31 cave preserves, responsible planning for future acquisitions and the management of over $2 million in assets. Currently, SCCi has a 5-year strategic plan which provides for the future growth and direction of the organization. You can read a summary of that plan by clicking here.
Each year a portion of the Board is selected by membership to three year terms. This year there are four positions up for vote.You can self nominate by sending an email with a position statement (in Word or PDF format) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before midnight July 12, 2017. Only members in good standing as of June 10, 2017 can run for a board seat.
The following should be reviewed before deciding to run for the a board seat.
Expectations of Board Members

  • Must be willing to actively serve a full 3-year term, if elected.

  • Must know and support SCCi’s mission and strategic plan.

  • Must acknowledge the accountability, legal liabilities, and possibility of exposure to litigation while serving as a Director.

  • Must acknowledge that as a Director they will be considered ambassadors for SCCi and will be viewed as such by everyone. Individual actions will reflect on the SCCi as a whole.

  • Must recognize the cost, both in time & money, associated with board service. Examples may include telephone expense, property research, and travel to attend meetings and events.

  • Must have email capability as much of SCCi business is conducted outside of scheduled meetings.

  • Beneficial to have attended previous Board meeting(s) to see how SCCi conducts its business.

  • Beneficial to possess knowledge, skill, and experience with financial matters for running a business. Being able to understand the nuances of the annual operating budget, the balance sheet, and the income statements prepared by the Treasurer is critical to the continued success of the SCCi.

  • Beneficial to possess leadership experience obtained from either career venues or from serving in leadership roles in organizations outside of work.

  • Should possess an overall understanding of conservation challenges associated with caves and karst properties.

  • Support the SCCi financially according to your individual means.

  • Realize that fundraising is a major activity of SCCi. Board members are expected to take an active role in fundraising and seeking donations.


 
Schedule of Elections (all days end at midnight Eastern time)
July 12, 2017 Nominations and Candidate Statements Due
July 19, 2017 Elections Open (A voting link will be emailed. If you do not have an email address on file or your email bounces, you will be mailed a notification postcard to the address on file).
August 19, 2017 Election Closes
August 26, 2017 Results Announced at Quarterly Board Meeting
If you have questions related to the election, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 423-771-9671 during regular business hours.

SCCi Acquires 31st Cave Preserve

On Friday, April 21 2017, we announced the purchase of the Daleo Entrance to the Roppel section of Mammoth Cave, the longest cave system in the world. The land surrounding the entrance, now named the Elroy and Marilyn Daleo Cave Preserve, is one mile east of Mammoth Cave National Park and protects 88 acres of classic karst on the Mammoth Cave Plateau.
Southeastern Cave Conservancy
The Daleo Entrance is now the only entrance to the Mammoth Cave system outside the national park owned by a conservation organization.
The preserve includes a number of caves, most notably the Daleo Entrance to the Roppel section of Mammoth Cave. The Daleo entrance is a significant portal into much of the cave system, and its acquisition is important in the overall goal of protecting the unique resources of the longest cave on earth.
“With this acquisition, SCCi continues its mission of protecting significant caves in the southeast United States,” said SCCi Board Chair, Brian Krebs. “Now, the Daleo Entrance to the Roppel section of Mammoth Cave will be protected forever and accessible for recreational caving and scientific exploration. It is with great pride we announce this purchase and look forward to working with the broader cave conservation community of Kentucky.”
SCCi would like to recognize the National Speleological Society (NSS) for its gift of $5,000 toward the purchase of the Elroy and Marilyn Daleo Cave Preserve. The NSS is a non-profit organization dedicated to the exploration, study, and protection of caves and their environments, and foster fellowship among cavers.
Those interested in supporting the Elroy and Marilyn Daleo Cave Preserve acquisition and stewardship, can do so here: http://scci.org/daleo.
As part of National Park Week, SCCi held a formal announcement at the Mammoth Cave National Park Visitor’s Center. The Cave Research Foundation (CRF) hosted a reception and meet & greet with SCCi following the announcement.

2017 Member Appreciation Day @ Frick's Cave Preserve

Each year we open Frick's Cave for ONE DAY ONLY for our members and their guests to enjoy as our way of thanking them for their membership and support.
After exploring the cave, please join us for hot food and a presentation by Dr. Robert Handford on local geology and cave formations!

To help our volunteers plan please RSVP here.


Date: February 4, 2017
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Who: Open to current SCCi members and their guests.
Schedule of Events – 
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM: Cave open for visitation, assuming 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.
12:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Hot food will be available until supplies run out.
Don’t forget to RSVP so we can plan!
Location:
SCCi Fricks Cave Preserve

1536 Fricks Gap Road

Chickamauga, GA 30707



How to get there:

From the intersection of GA 136 and GA 193 (between LaFayette and Trenton, GA),  go south on GA 193 2.1 miles to Harold Stephens Road. Turn right. Continue until you dead end into Frick's Gap Road. Turn left. Follow this road to the signs for the open house parking.




Questions:

Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Call us at (423) 771-9671

Events & Goals for 2017

As we approach the end of the our 25th year, we are starting to think about what 2017 will bring for us.  It was a great year for SCCi in 2016.  We stepped it up a notch with events, marketing, fundraising, outreach, and overall publicity.  We also started hearing from more of our volunteers.  It was wonderful to see what the power of volunteering could do for events such as Bats, Beer, & Bluegrass and the TAG Fall Cave-In.  We anticipate more outreach to our volunteers and Preserve Managers in 2017, and hope to hear from each of you.
Below is our 2017 calendar so that you can save the date for many of your favorite SCCi events throughout 2017.
Feb 4 – Member's Appreciation Day at Fricks
Feb 25 – Board Meeting
March 11 – Preserve Managers Meetings
June 10 – Board Meeting and Annual Meeting
August 26 – Board Meeting
November 18 – Board Meeting


Keep your eyes open here and through our social media outlets for more SCCi initiatives, goals, and updates.  Without you, our supporters and volunteers, we couldn't move forward with our mission of conserving the caves of the Southeast.

SCCi's First Online Auction Is Live!

SCCi's first ever online auction is up and live!  We have a lofty goal of $2500 and we KNOW we can do it! Our items are either hand-made or extremely unique and would make great gifts for the caver/art lover/nature lover on your Christmas or holiday gift list. Many thanks to everyone who contributed items; Bob Biddix, Glen Mills, Carolina Payne Shrewsbury, Mel Eady-Pumplin, Tim White, Bill Halliday, Jody Bailey, Kelly Smallwood, Jean Rush Huffines, Nathan Williams, and Eugenia Johnston.


You can bid on one of a kind items and more here:  www.32auctions.com/scci2016

Thank You For Visiting

Thank you for visiting an SCCi Preserve and deciding to support us with your donation. It is because of people like you seeing first hand the importance of preserving these unique places that SCCi has become the largest land conservancy in the world focused on cave preservation.
At whatever level you donate, know your contribution goes far in conserving the most significant caves of the Southeast US.

 

Bats Beer and Bluegrass

 

3rd Annual Bats Beer & Bluegrass


September 22, 2018 - Chickamauga GA





Bats, Beer & Bluegrass is a unique concert fundraising event for SCCi.  It has something for everyone - outdoor enthusiasts, craft beer lovers, and bluegrass fans!




Thank you to the sponsors that made the 2017 Bats Beer & Bluegrass Possible


 

GOLD LEVEL SPONSORS


 


BRONZE LEVEL SPONSORS



Strategic Plan

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After going through a multi-phase planning process, the Board of Directors adopted an ambitious 5-year plan to guide SCCi to the next level. Below are the Aspirations and Results from the SOAR plan. If you have any questions or comments, please send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 
 

Aspirations


Aspirations are those things SCCi is striving to be or become. Aspirations include, talents,skills and capabilities that are needed to support current and future goals.
Fundraising

  • Be successful grant writers

  • Revenues provide for debt-free acquisitions

  • Sustainable revenues/expenditures

  • Revenues support the organization in perpetuity

  • Provide world-class donor services


Acquisitions

  • Create a defensible acquisitions list

  • Acquire all significant TAG caves


Membership

  • Provide world-class member services

  • Engage Members

  • Double membership/retain 50% sustaining members


Stewardship

  • Provide world-class stewardship

  • Plan for forever stewardship


 Organizational Development/Operations

  • Increase personnel to match organizational outcomes

  • Ensure business-like management systems

  • Build/expand expertise to match footprint

  • Stay flexible


Reputation

  • Be THE storyteller for caves of the Southeast

  • Brand SCCi

  • Be recognized on the national stage re: cave conservation


5-Year Goals


These 5-year goals are specific deliverable supported by the aspirations listed above.


  • Achieve Land Trust Alliance Accreditation

  •  Recruit Volunteer Chief Scientist

  •  Establish Stewardship Endowment Fund of $2.5 million/Strategic Acquisition Fund of $1.0 million

  •  Buy 5 Targeted Caves

  •  Increase Awareness Through Community/Media Events

  •  Build Education/Outreach Center


To achieve these goals, SCCi will need to break new ground in how we operate, fundraise and engage members. If you are interested in being part of this bold new future, click here to fill out a volunteer interest survey.

SCCi Announces Bats, Beer, & Bluegrass Anniversary Party

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The Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc. is planning it's 25th Anniversary celebration and fundraiser  titled Bats, Beer, & Bluegrass. This event is sure to excite cavers, nature enthusiasts, bluegrass fans, and more!  The event will feature Barefoot Nellie & Co., a smooth driving bluegrass band based out of Chattanooga, TN. The group compiles impressive driving, darker arrangements, blending standard traditional bluegrass with a more innovative approach  -- and they have quite a fan-base!
The event will take place at the Frick's Cave Preserve, located in Walker County, Ga. on September 24, 2016 @ 7pm.  Although the cave will be closed at the time of the event to protect the hibernating bats, guests will be able to enjoy the above-ground features the preserve has to offer.  Food will be provided by 212 Market Restaurant, Tennessee's first green restaurant and winner of the Best Farm to Table restaurant in Tennessee by Travel & Leisure magazine.  Beer and 25th Anniversary merchandise will be available for purchase at the event.
Sponsorship & ticket price information, and further details will be publicized in the coming weeks.
If you are interested in sponsoring or volunteering for this first-time bluegrass event, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 
 
 

Clean Caving Procedures

In addition to making caves available for recreational use, SCCi is also committed to protecting caves and fragile cave ecosystems. The following clean caving procedures are required when visiting SCCi caves. If you have any questions, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 423-771-9671 Extension 101.

Introduction of foreign substances into caves can have unintended consequences to cave life. In addition to concerns regarding White-nose Syndrome (WNS), some caves have microscopic life that is unique to that cave, and can be decimated by material introduced from other caves.

CLEAN CAVING PROCEDURES

  • When caving  in WNS positive counties, clean your gear (Steps 1-2 below).
  • When caving between WNS negative counties, clean your gear (Steps 1-2 below).
  • When caving from a county that is WNS positive to a county that has no identified cases, disinfect your gear (Steps 1-3 below).
  • When caving in likely WNS positive counties disinfect your gear (Steps 1-3) going in and, going out, disinfect your gear (Steps 1-3) if visiting WNS negative counties or clean your gear (Steps 1-2 below) if visiting WNS positive counties.

Refer to the following table for the list of counties and SCCi caves that have been identified White-nose Syndrome positive. Any cave located in a county where White-nose Syndrome has been identified should be treated as positive.

State County Preserve WNS Positive
Alabama DeKalb Steward Springs YES
  Jackson Fern YES
  Jackson Horse Skull YES
  Jackson Kennamer YES
  Jackson Limrock Blowing YES
  Jackson Neversink YES
  Jackson Stephens Gap YES
  Jackson Tumbling Rock YES
  Jackson Valhalla YES
  Madison Glove Pit YES
  Madison Varnedoe YES
  Shelby Anderson YES
Florida Jackson Hollow Ridge NO
  Marion Jennings NO
Georgia Dade Howards Waterfall YES
  Dade Fox Mountain YES
  Dade Johnsons Crook YES
  Walker Fricks YES
Kentucky Hart Frenchman Knob YES
  Hart Logsdon YES
Tennessee Cocke Rattling LIKELY
  Cumberland Run to the Mill YES
  Fentress Wolf River YES
  Franklin Sinking Cove YES
  Marion Gourdneck YES
  Marion South Pittsburgh YES
  Rutherford Snail Shell LIKELY
  Wayne Holly Creek YES
West Virginia Pocahontas Lobelia YES

For a map of all US counties and their White-nose Syndrome status visit https://www.whitenosesyndrome.org/resources/map.

Step 1: Get the Dirt Off Remove as much mud as possible while still at the cave entrance. Place gear in a garbage bag and seal shut. Take home for cleaning.

Step 2: Clean your Gear Pre-clean submersible gear by hosing it down well. Use a scrub brush and mild soap if necessary to remove all sediment. When water runs clear, machine- or hand-wash with a mild cleanser.  For non-submersible gear (such as cameras and other electronic gear), remove all visible mud by wiping with a damp cloth or scrubbing.

Step 3: Disinfect your Gear Use one of the following methods to disinfect your gear:

Hot Water Bath Soak gear in hot water that is at least 122°F (50°C) for at least 15 minutes. Top-loading washing machines may be used if the hot water heater temperature is set high enough. Tubs or baths also work, using either hot tap water, or hot tap water supplemented by heated water.

Chemical Solution Bath Soak your gear for at least 10 minutes in a bath or tub one of the following solutions:

  • Lysol I.C. Quaternary Disinfectant Cleaner – use 1 oz. per gallon of water;
  • Professional Lysol® Antibacterial All-purpose Cleaner - use 1 oz. per gallon of water;
  • Household bleach (6% hypochlorite, or HOCl)- use 1-part bleach per 9 parts water.

Rinse your gear thoroughly after removing it from the bath, being careful not to let it touch any potentially contaminated surfaces.  Soft gear and clothing may be run through a washing machine. The recommended Lysol products are available from janitorial supply stores and online sources; household bleach is widely available at grocery and other retail stores.  If you don’t get a lot of silt and clay in your tub, Lysol baths have been demonstrated to be effective for at least a month, even with repeated use (Barton, personal communication, 2011). Bleach solutions can weaken nylon and other materials, and must be discarded within 24 hours, because the diluted bleach breaks down quickly.

Non-Submersion Methods For gear that cannot be submersed in water, use one of the following methods:

  • Lysol Disinfectant Wipes: Wipe all surfaces. After 10 minutes, wipe dry with a clean cloth or towel.
  • Formula 409® Antibacterial All-Purpose Cleaner: Spray at full strength on all surfaces. After 10 minutes, wipe dry with a clean cloth or towel.

Safety Disclaimer: You’re responsible for using any of these methods safely. Be sure to follow manufacturer’s recommendations, label instructions, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs), and common sense.

SCCi Celebrates 25 Years!

Did you know that the SCCi is celebrating 25 years of conserving caves? 20_years_logo
 It all started in 1991 with a small group of cavers who wanted to create something new; a land conservancy dedicated solely to cave protection and access. 25 years later, their idea has turned into something much bigger than they ever imagined. The Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc. (SCCi) is now the largest land conservancy devoted specifically to caves. SCCi owns and leases 170 caves on 30 preserves in 6 states. It has succeeded through the hard work of many individuals, good timing, and patience.
As SCCi continues growing beyond its 25th year, the organization is primed to continue buying significant caves, engaging more people in the mission of cave conservation, and educating our communities about the importance of preserving caves and karst environments. Last year, SCCi acquired Stephens Gap and Johnsons Crook preserves, two significant purchases that cavers and nature lovers alike will enjoy for generations to come. It also hired its first full-time employee, an Executive Director. SCCi is actively engaged with numerous conservation partners, always setting the example for balancing environmental conservation with continued recreational access.
There are many ways to get involved with SCCi and be a part of its next 25 years. Basic membership, sustaining membership, Buy A Piece of the Cave, and other giving opportunities allow SCCi to remain on solid financial footing. Volunteers are regularly needed for special events like cave cleanups and other important functions. The Valhalla Society is a way to give to the SCCi from your estate or life insurance policy and ensure caves are protected even after you are gone.
However you choose to get involved, rest assured you will be part of an organization like no other. For more information, visit www.scci.org or call 423-771-9671 Ex 101.

Successful Fundraiser at Chattanooga Bar & Eatery

The Flying Squirrel, a Chattanooga bar and eatery, hosted a fundraiser for the SCCi on Wednesday, April 6.  The concept was simple.  SCCi was to invite as many people as possible to enjoy drinks and dinner, while the Flying Squirrel would give us 10% of their profits for the night.  In addition, a local organization named the Lamp Post Group, would match the total by 10% , totaling 20% of that evening's profits.  SCCi was invited to set up promotional materials inside the restaurant and provide information about our organization.  We had a huge crowd of supporters and interested patrons.  We raised over $1,000 total for that night.  Many thanks to everyone who came out to support us.

Annual Member's Meeting

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The SCCi board of directors invites you to attend the 2016 annual members meeting on May 21, 2016  at John T. Dolberry Tumbling Rock Cave Preserve. The annual meeting will begin at 4 pm CST. The board will hold its quarterly business meeting on the preserve beginning at 1:00 pm CST. Both meetings are open to current SCCi members and their guests.
You and your guests are also invited to a cookout immediately following the annual meeting.
Members are also allowed to enjoy exploring the cave that day.  Members who intend on camping should email that preserve team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Camping is allowed on Friday and Saturday night. The preserve street address is 3407 County Road 111, Fackler, AL.
If you have questions or need more information, please call 423-771-9671 Ex 101 or send .an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 

2016 Fricks Cave Member Appreciation Day

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SCCi is pleased to invite our members and their guests to the Fricks Cave Member Appreciation Day, February 27th from 9 am - 4 pm.

 
Throughout the year, Fricks Cave is closed to protect endangered bats and salamanders that live in the cave. On this ONE DAY ONLY, while the bachelor colony of bats is not present, the SCCi will open the cave to show our appreciation for our members. After exploring the cave, please join us around the fire for hot food and announcement of the winners of the 2nd Annual SCCi Photo and Video Contest!
This event is only open to current SCCi members and their guests.
Registration is closed for 2016. Looking forward to seeing everyone there!
 
Schedule
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM: Cave open for visitation, assuming summer gray bat colony has not yet returned.
Note: SCCi Clean Caving Procedures will be strictly enforced! Fricks is a stream cave, please dress accordingly.
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM: Hot food will be available until supplies run out. Winners of the 2nd Annual SCCi Photo and Video Contest will be announced in the afternoon.
Camping on Friday night the 26th 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.
Questions:
Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Call us at (423) 771-9671 Ext 101

Go Deep


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How deep will you go for the caves you love?


 

At the Southeastern Cave Conservancy, we’re in the business of preserving the most significant caves in the Southeast.  We work tirelessly to balance protecting these environments with providing access to cavers, hikers, and nature lovers.


 

And it’s working!


 

SCCi now protects over 170 caves on 30 preserves in 6 states across the Southeast. Over the past 24 years, thousands of people have financially supported SCCi  to acquire and protect these amazing places.  All of these people dug deep to support SCCi, and the protection of caves.


Sloshing through waist-deep water, belly crawling through mud, rappelling  hundreds of feet down a vertical shaft, or just enjoying a hike on an SCCi preserve - these are all things we love.  Will you Go Deep for the places and activities you love?


Our 2015 Go Deep Campaign is a call to SCCi’s most important supporters – a call to reach down and go deep by making a gift of any size dedicated to protecting the caves of the Southeast.


We would love you to share the SCCi places and people that are special to you using social media. Tag your photos and tweets with #GoDeep.


Every member of our staff and board has committed to joining the campaign, because we love the caves of the Southeast too! All Go Deep Campaign donors who give at least $30 (number of SCCi preserves – so far) will receive an SCCi bandana.


 

Go Deep for SCCi so that we can Go Deep for caves.


 

Use the secure form below to make your donation today


or call 423-771-9671 Ext 101


Christmas Party Auction Items




We have a lot of great items available for our silent auction on December 5th in Chattanooga! Check back often to find out about even more items! If you haven't bought tickets for the Christmas Party, get yours today!

 
Stunning Cave Photographs, Folk Art, Handmade Jewelry, Cave-Themed Quilts and more...

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SCCi on TV (Watch the Video)

ET Davis and Sara Keys recently shared information on recreational caving and conservation with Ranger Nick on the Georgia Farm Monitor show. The show will air Nov 22 at 11pm and Nov 26 at 6pm on RFD-TV (DISH 231 and DirecTV 345) or you can watch it here. Big thanks to the Fricks Cave Preserve Management Team for making this happen.

3rd Annual SCCi Christmas Party Tickets Available Now!

TheChattanoogan
SCCi is happy to announce the 3rd Annual Christmas Party will be held December 5th, 2015 at The Chattanoogan Hotel in Chattanooga, TN. Past years have been a great time to visit with other cavers, celebrate SCCi’s accomplishments and take home some great made-by-caver crafts at the silent auction.
Buddy Lane will give a presentation on the discovery, exploration and history of caving at Run To The Mill Cave.
Tickets are $40 and includes dinner. Cash bar available. Space is limited so make your reservations today.
 

2nd Annual SCCi Photo Contest

2015_PhotoCompetition_Award
Announcing the 2nd Annual SCCi Photo Contest!
Last year's contest uncovered some great cave photographers and we are excited to see what this year brings. Share with your friends and start submitting your pictures today!
Be sure to notice a few changes to the contest (a novice and advanced category) and submission deadlines. Read the contest guidelines and rules here: 2016 SCCi Photo Contest
 

2015 John Van Swearingen IV Stewardship Award

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The SCCi, in cooperation with the Huntsville Grotto, is proud to announce Mark Ostrander as the 2015 John Van Swearingen IV Stewardship Award!
Mark is known for his service to the sport of caving and conservation of cave preserves. He has served as the SCCi Kennamer Cave Preserve manager for six years. From maintaining the parking area to marking preserve boundaries, Mark's service knows no season. Mark is a truly an ambassador for the Kennamer Cave Preserve working with caving groups to make the most of their trips. He is currently working with first responders to use Kennamer Cave for a mock cave rescue while ensuring the preserve is protected from any lasting damage. Also, Mark has led and attended  cave cleanup projects over the years including Kennamer Cave, Devil's Den and Cathedral Caverns.
The John Van Swearingen Stewardship Award was conceived by the Huntsville Grotto in honor of long-time member, conservationist, cave steward, and SCCi Director, JV, who passed away in 2001. It is presented annually at the TAG Fall Cave In. JV served for many years as the Fern Cave Access Coordinator, providing stewardship of the Fern Cave system and preserve for both the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the SCCi.
The purpose of the award is to meaningfully recognize the stewardship efforts of an individual, a group of individuals, or an organization that has provided significant stewardship activities for one or more caves, cave preserves, or karst properties, personally conducted over an extended period of time. The award, sponsored by the Huntsville Grotto and the SCCi, is also intended to promote long-term cave conservation and stewardship activities, and to encourage and thank those individuals and organizations who perform them.

SCCi Partners with Georgia-Alabama Land Trust to Create New Cave Preserve

 GALT Logo
        Little Nicka Cave
          SCCi Logo


The Georgia-Alabama Land Trust (GALT) and Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc. (SCCi) are partnering to create the largest cave preserve in Georgia. The Charles B. Henson Cave Preserve at Rising Fawn will include approximately 1,300 acres of land that has been acquired by Georgia-Alabama Land Trust over a three year period in the failed subdivision known as the Preserve at Rising Fawn in Dade County.  The “Preserve“ is located in the unique and threatened landscape of Johnson’s Crook, a deep horseshoe-shaped cove with high bluffs in the Lookout Mountain ridge.
Many of the slopes of Johnson’s Crook are underlain by limestone bedrock, in which more than 30 known caves have formed. These caves are important habitat for many types of cave-dwelling species, and also have in the past been popular among recreational caving enthusiasts for their varied challenges and remarkable beauty.
According to GALT Executive Director Katherine Eddins, “Partnering with SCCi is a natural fit for this property given its extensive cave system.”
Ron Miller, SCCi Chair, adds: “We are very excited to work with GALT in managing one of Georgia’s most significant cave areas.  We are also honored that this cave preserve is being named in memory of longtime SCCi member and benefactor Chuck Henson. Johnson’s Crook and its many caves held a special place in Chuck’s heart, and he worked tirelessly in the last years of his life to save this exceptional landscape. “
The Georgia-Alabama Land Trust, accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, founded in 1994 by conservation-minded individuals in response to rapid development and encroachment of natural areas, farms and woodlands. It is now the largest private lands conservation organization in the Southeast, protecting over 268,000 acres of land with 775 voluntary conservation easements.
The Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc. (SCCi) is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization founded in 1991 that protects cave and karst resources in the southeastern U.S. through management, conservation and education. The largest nonprofit in the U.S. dedicated to cave conservation, SCCi owns and/or manages 30 preserves containing over 140 caves in six southeastern states.
For more information, visit http://www.scci.org/preserves/johnsons-crook-cave/
 

Access Changed to Kennamer Preserve

SCCi works hard to maintain good working relationships with our neighboring land owners to ensure preserve visitors have access to SCCi preserves and disturbances are kept to a minimum for our neighbors. Due to recent ongoing incidents, the landowner who owns the road to the Kennamer Cave Preserve has installed a locked gate to provide more controlled access to his lands.
Visitors to the Kennemar Cave Preserve must now request the gate code from the preserve manager by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please check with the preserve manager before visiting in the event the gate code is changed.
For more information visit http://www.scci.org/preserves/kennamer-cave/.

2015 Photo Competition Winners

2015 marked the First Annual SCCi Photo and Video Competition based around our new marketing campaign Sharing the Secrets. Photographers were encouraged to submit photographs and/or videos taken on preserves owned by the SCCi in four categories - Secret Beauty, Secret Adventure, Secret Life, and Secret Water. Submissions began January 1st and ran through February 14th. The winners were announced at our membership appreciation event, Frick's Cave Open House, on February 28th.
There were 126 photographs submitted by 15 photographers. Five categories were judged by professional photographers who were both cavers and non-cavers. The sixth category, People's Choice, was voted on via Facebook likes and received 72 votes (the next closest had 55 votes).
We would like to first give a special thank you to everyone who submitted photographs! The judges certainly had their work cut out for them choosing from the stunning images.
We are proud to now share the winners of the First Annual SCCi Photo Competition!

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The winning photographers received a plaque in recognition of their work.


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It's never too early to grab your cameras and start taking pictures! This was but the first of our annual photo competitions. We are very excited to see what beautiful images our supporters come up with for next year. Don't forget to Like our Facebook page so you do not miss our announcements about the 2016 installation of the photo competition.

SCCi People's Choice Photo Contest on Facebook - Vote for Your Favorites!

Photo entries are posted on the SCCi Facebook page
for this year's contest; now it is up to you to help us select the People's Choice winner! The photo with the most "likes" by February 27 at 11 PM Eastern will be the winner of the People's Choice Award. Please be sure to share these photos and encourage all of your friends to vote, both cavers and non-cavers alike. Please also share with other groups on Facebook with an interest in photography, outdoors, hiking, etc.
At the conclusion of the contest, photographers names and preserve names will be added to the photos.

Stephens Gap Callahan Cave Preserve is open!

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The Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc. is excited to announce that our Stephens Gap Callahan Cave Preserve is now open for visitation! Under an access agreement with the owner of the property crossed by the hiking trail to the preserve, SCCi is now issuing permits to visit this unique place. Permit requests can be completed electronically; details are available on the Stephens Gap preserve web page. Visitors will need to complete and return a liability waiver and the Clean Caving Questionnaire with their permit request, and place the issued permit on the dashboard of your parked vehicle while you are visiting the preserve. Permit requests and questions about the permit process should be emailed to the preserve managers at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
SCCi purchased Stephens Gap Cave last December, protecting it forever! But we need to raise $150,000 to cover our acquisition and stewardship costs; will you help? You can make a secure online donation today at http://www.scci.org/support/. You can "buy" an honorary piece of Stephens Gap Cave, join SCCi as a regular or sustaining member, increase your current sustaining contribution level, or make a one-time donation. SCCi is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization; your donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.
If you've already made a donation in support of SCCi's acquisition of Stephens Gap, thank you!
Not ready to join as a member or make a financial contribution, but want to stay connected with SCCi? By providing us with your contact information, you can stay informed about exciting SCCi news and announcements!
Ron Miller
Chair
Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc.
Photo ©Stephen Alvarez. Used with permission.

Hollow Ridge Preserve gets new gates!

The Gating of Hollow Ridge Cave: A SCCi Preserve



Allen, Kristen and Uriah at entrance #1 gate with lock
Allen, Kristen and Uriah at entrance #1 gate with lock[
]
On December 5-7, 2014 a group of cavers met to gate Hollow Ridge Cave in Jackson County, Florida. This was necessary because the county was in the process of building hiking trails just downhill of the bluff line where the lower cave entrances are located. The gates were constructed to keep out vandals and to keep people from getting lost in the cave which contains 3400’ of surveyed passage. There are also rare cave fauna that need protection.
Kristin Bobo designed the cave gates and provided her expertise in installation. Her Assistant, Uriah Pryor, cut the steel. The hauling group consisted of Allen Mosler, Bufford Pruitt, and Tevis Kouts. Tiffiny Kouts, Terrin Kouts, and D’Ann Mosler ran errands. Guy Yates helped return some of the equipment to Tallahassee.
It took three days to build four gates. The gate at Entrance 1 (with lock) was located at the upper entrance and is 3’x8’ in size. The gates at Entrance 2 were located 70’ inside the entrance and are 3’x3’ and 6’x2.5’ at the flood plain level. Entrance Gates 3 & 4 were placed 30’ inside the cave and block three of the mid-bluff entrances. It took about a day and a half to build each gate. The process was Kristen would measure for the needed steel, Uriah would cut the steel, and someone would carry the steel to the gate and help Kristen with the installation. The gates were impressive being made from 6”x6”x3/8” and 4”x4”x3/8” angle iron. They look bullet-proof.
In addition to the people above who provided their time and talent, I would like to thank the following grottos and cavers that made donations: Flint River Grotto, Florida Speleological Society, Middle Georgia Grotto, River City Grotto, Tamps Bay Area Grotto, Paul Aughey, Matt Fisher, Jerry Johnson, Kitty Markley, Roger Moore, Allen Mosler, Steve Nemeth, Ed Pratt, Larry Rueff, and Philip Walker. Donations of over $4000 were made that covered about 60% of the cost of building the gates. The extra steel was taken to Gainesville by Bufford Pruitt to be used in the reconstruction of Warrens Cave gate, a NSS Preserve.
This hard-working and generous group of cavers made this project a success…thank you.
Allen Mosler
Property Manager, Hollow Ridge Cave
Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc.
 
[gallery ids="1717,1712,1715,1716,1713,1714"]

Frick's Cave Open House - Membership Appreciation Event

Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc is pleased to invite our members and their guests to the Frick's Cave Annual Open House. 
Throughout the year, Frick's Cave is closed to protect endangered bats and salamanders that live in the cave. On this ONE DAY ONLY, while the bachelor colony of bats is not present, the SCCi will open the cave to show our appreciation for your membership. After exploring the cave, please join us around the fire for hot food, a talk about the endangered bats, and announcement of the winners of the 1st SCCi Photo and Video Contest!

To help our volunteers plan please RSVP here.


Date: February 28, 2015 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Who: Open to current SCCi members and their guests.
Schedule of Events - 

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM: Cave open for visitation, assuming 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.


12:00 PM - 4:00 PM: Hot food will be available until supplies run out.
Don't forget to RSVP so we can plan!


1:00 PM: Trina Morris, a bat biologist from GA Dept of Natural Resources, will talk about the Frick's Cave gray bat colony.


Winners of the SCCi Photo and Video Contest will be announced after the bat talk.


Location: To protect our properties we do not publish their locations online. If you are a member and do not know where the Frick's 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.. Call us at (423) 771-9671.

Update on Stephens Gap Cave Preserve Access

As most of you probably are aware, in December, SCCi purchased a property containing Stephens Gap Cave, Pipeside Pit and three other known caves in Jackson County, Alabama.
Unfortunately, working out an access agreement with the new owner of the land between the county road and SCCi's property boundary near Pipeside Pit is taking longer than anticipated. The trail to the cave goes through this neighbor's property, and he has asked that we not allow visitors to cross his property until an agreement is in place.
We apologize for the delay in opening the preserve to visitation; however, we are hopeful that we will be able to come up with an access solution that works for all parties in the near future.
We'll keep you posted here and at our website of any changes. Until then, please respect the property rights of our neighbor and postpone any planned visits to the Stephens Gap Cave Preserve for now. SCCi appreciates your patience as we work out these access issues.

Buy a Piece of Stephens Gap eStore Active!

Stephens Gap Cave. Photo by Lynn Roebuck (https://www.flickr.com/photos/caving).
Stephens Gap Cave. Photo by Lynn Roebuck (https://www.flickr.com/photos/caving).

We are happy to announce that the Buy a Piece of Stephens Gap Cave Preserve eStore is now active. Named features are first come, first served so don't delay if you have one in mind!
Follow this link to see what features are still available or to reserve a slice of the Pit or Walkdown Entrances.
(Please note that this will take you to a secure site off of the SCCi.org website.)
PURCHASE A PIECE OF STEPHENS GAP HERE

Stephens Gap Callahan Cave Preserve

Stephens Gap Cave. Photo by Lynn Roebuck. Stephens Gap Cave. Photo by Lynn Roebuck.
Stephens Gap is one of the most beloved caves in the Southeast, with a beautiful 143-ft pit that cavers love and a huge walk-in entrance that draws hikers, photographers, and other outdoor enthusiasts. The view of the pit from the walk-in passage is one of the most photographed wild cave scenes in North America. Located in the heart of Jackson County, AL, Stephens Gap, is SCCi’s 30th cave preserve. By acquiring this preserve, SCCi ensures that it’s protected and preserved for future generations of cavers, hikers, and photographers.
The bottom of the entrance pit can only be reached using vertical caving skills, knowledge, and equipment to safely descend by rappelling a rope and ascending that same rope with specialty equipment to exit the cave. The bottom of the entrance pit is 143 feet below the edge.
The best way to obtain the skills needed for vertical caving is to join a local caving club (grotto) of the National Speleological Society (www.caves.org) and receive hands-on training from its members. The walk-in passage does not require rope, but is steep in places and may be slippery, particularly when it’s wet. The walk-in passage intersects the pit about 50 feet above the floor; therefore, extreme caution should be exercised close to the edge as footing can be uncertain.
Help us preserve and protect this beautiful cave by making an honorary purchase of a section of Stephens Gap by clicking here.

Important Information About Your Visit



  • If you do not possess vertical caving skills, ability or experience needed to safely visit the bottom of the pit, Stephens Gap is still an impressive and unique place to visit and the short walk-in passage alone may be worth the hiking effort. Please be careful – the trail is primitive and can be steep and slippery. Bring water and stay hydrated.

  • Helmets, headlamps and sturdy shoes/boots are strongly recommended, even in the walk-in passage; helmets are required for any climbing or rope-related activities.

  • Cellular telephone coverage is poor to nonexistent in the area; don’t count on being able to call for help from the preserve.

  • Please do not endanger your life or the lives of rescuers by attempting anything beyond your known skills and abilities.

  • There are only three rig points for rope allowed at the top of the pit: the large tree near the arrival area; the large tree on the bench above the arrival area; and one of several trees up the hill from the “Keyhole” entrance.

  • Pad any trees used to rig ropes at Stephens Gap.

  • Camping is only allowed on the bluff above the pit entrance (no camping in the parking area); there is only room for a couple of small tents; conditions are primitive (no electricity, water or toilets) and all waste must be packed out. Add camping to your permit request’s itinerary if you’ll be staying overnight.

  • Use of drones is prohibited.

  • When you visit the preserve, please place your permit on the dashboard of your parked vehicle while you are visiting the preserve. Vehicles without evidence of a permit – either the permit form itself, or a piece of paper with a valid permit number must be displayed – may be towed. Do not use or block the green gate into the adjacent quarry property.


Preserve Information


Cave type: 143 ft open-air pit (requires vertical rope skills) and steep walk-in horizontal entrance
Trail: Approximately ¾ mi / 300 foot increase in elevation
Hiking-only permit (no cave access) available: No
Camping: Yes; limited primitive camping (no electricity, water or toilets); campsite is on bluff above pit entrance ¾ mi from parking area
Pets: On leash; pack out waste
Acreage: 123 acres in Jackson County, Alabama
Preserve Management Team: Milton Polsky, Tom Whitehurst, and Aaron Polsky (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Preserve Management: Stephens Gap Visitor Use Plan
Maps: Cave Map | Pit Map


All SCCi Preserves require a no-cost permit. Visit permits.scci.org .


 

The SCCi Buys Stephens Gap!

Stephens Gap Cave Alabama
Stephens Gap Cave, photo by Alan Cressler

Stephens Gap is one of the most beloved caves in the southeast, with a beautiful pit that cavers love and a huge walk-in entrance that draws hikers, photographers, and outdoor enthusiasts. The SCCi is very excited to announce that we now own this fantastic cave! Located in the heart of Jackson County, AL, the Stephens Gap Callahan Cave Preserve is our 30th cave preserve! By purchasing this beautiful cave, the SCCi will ensure that it's protected and preserved for future generations of cavers, hikers, and photographers. This purchase was not cheap. We need to raise $150,000 to cover the land costs, closing costs, and the funding needed to care for the cave in to the future. If you enjoy visiting Stephens Gap, or would like to visit it in the future, please join us in establishing our newest, and likely one of our most popular, preserves! Thank you for your support.
Help us preserve and protect this beautiful cave! 
Details coming soon about how you can buy your own honorary piece of this beautiful cave.

Ticket Sales for Christmas Party are LIVE!

TheChattanooganHotel
Ticket sales for the 2nd Annual SCCi Christmas Party are LIVE! 


This year's event will be held at The Chattanoogan Hotel, a lovely venue in downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee on December 13th starting at 6:00pm. Guests will be treated to a special presentation by Jennifer Pinkley who will describe the early years of discovery and exploration in the 1960s and share a wide variety of historic photos and maps. Steve Pitts will then discuss more recent activities in the cave including information about the remapping project. The evening will also include Buffet Dinner, Cash Bar and Silent Auction.  Tickets are $40 each and may be purchased by following this link.
For guests wishing to stay the evening hotel rooms are available for a special rate of $99/night. These may be purchased directly from the Chattanoogan (www.chattanooganhotel.com or 800-619-0018). Please mention the SCCi Christmas Party and make your reservation by November 15th to ensure the discounted rate.
For more information about the event follow this link to the event page. Make sure you check back often as we will be updating the list of items included in the Silent Auction.
Though we have chosen to hold this year’s event at an indoor location we encourage you to visit Tumbling Rock Cave to see the Christmas Tree in a Cave. The Christmas Tree will be decorated on November 22nd and lit every Saturday through the Holiday Season. Tumbling Rock, Inc invites you to join them for the lighting of the tree and Smokey the Kitty Anti-Vandalism Rally on November 22nd. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

Mark Your Calendars! December 13, the 2nd Annual Christmas Party

SCCi Tumbling Rock Preserve
Our property managers posing next to the beautiful Christmas Tree in Tumbling Rock. Photo by Nathan Williams & Sabrina Simon

Last year, the SCCi hosted our first annual Christmas Party at our Tumbling Rock preserve. It was a huge success and everyone had a great time--except it was really cold! We're planning our 2nd annual Christmas party for Saturday, December 13. Mark your calendars! To make sure we all stay warmer this year, the party will be indoors at a venue probably in Chattanooga. This year, Steve Pitts and Jennifer Pinkley will give a presentation about the history and current status of Fern Cave, Alabama. We will also have another silent auction featuring caving related art.
We're still working out the details and will let you know more soon!
Even though the party will not be held at the Tumbling Rock preserve, you can go caving in Tumbling Rock during the day, visit the decorated Christmas Tree, then head over in the afternoon for the party!
 
 

Call for Nominations: JV Van Swearingen IV Stewardship Award

John JV Van Swearingen IV Stewardship Award
JV Van Swearingen IV

Nominate cave stewards for the JV Van Swearingen IV Stewardship Award!
The SCCi, in cooperation with the Huntsville Grotto, is proud to announce that nominations are open for the John Van Swearingen IV Stewardship Award!
The award was conceived by the Huntsville Grotto in honor of long-time member, conservationist, cave steward, and SCCi Director, JV, who passed away in 2001. It is presented annually at the TAG Fall Cave In.
JV served for many years as the Fern Cave Access Coordinator, providing stewardship of the Fern Cave system and preserve for both the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the SCCi.
The purpose of the award is to meaningfully recognize the stewardship efforts of an individual, a group of individuals, or an organization that has provided significant stewardship activities for one or more caves, cave preserves, or karst properties, personally conducted over an extended period of time.
The award, sponsored by the Huntsville Grotto and the SCCi, is also intended to promote long-term cave conservation and stewardship activities, and to encourage and thank those individuals and organizations who perform them.
We are accepting nominations until September 15, 2014. Please fill out the Award Nomination Form and return your nomination to the award committee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please recognize deserving individuals or organizations! Feel free to re-post and/or print for your Grotto and fellow cavers. If you have any questions, please contact the committee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Past winners of the JV Van Swearingen IV Stewardship Award:
2013: Chuck Henson, Rossville, GA
2012: Nathan Williams, Huntsville, AL
2011: SERA Karst Task Force (SKTF), TAG Region
2010: Tom Moltz, Byron, GA
2009: Jay Clark, Birmingham, AL
2008: Buddy Lane, Signal Mountain, TN
2007: Bill Overton, Pegram, TN
2006: Bill Birdsall, Ocala, FL
2005: Steve Pitts, Ardmore, TN
2004: Lonnie Carr, Sparta, TN
2003: Bruce Brewer, Tallahassee, FL
2002: William Oldacre, Gainesville, FL
 
 
 
 

New Access Information for Horse Skull/Jack's Hole Preserve

Cavers may have heard that it's been a challenge to access the Horse Skull/Jack's Hole Cave Preserve lately due to lots of downed trees on the property and some issues with parking. Our great property manager Andy Zellner coordinated cutting and flagging a new trail that leads from the paved road, through the beaver swamp, across the power line cut, and through the woods. Details on the parking area are still being worked out, so please contact Andy Zellner at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before you visit the cave to make sure you have the most up to date information. Cavers should not use the neighbor's driveway at this time.
Jacks Hole Preserve

SCCi Leases Varnedoe Cave

The SCCi is pleased to announce a new lease agreement of Varnedoe Cave. This fine cave is located within the city limits of Huntsville, Alabama and is one of the more popular multi-drop caves in the southeast. Both entrances to Varnedoe Cave can be rigged all the way to the Fox Skeleton Room where the register is located. Entrance 1 has a pit series of 73’, 15’, 41’, 72’ and Entrance 2 has a pit series of 115’, 12’, and 69’ with the latter entrance route dropping near the waterfall in the Fox Skeleton Room. Beyond the Fox Skeleton Room are meandering passages that lead to tall dome complexes and a formation area. Access to Varnedoe Cave requires a permit. Contact the Varnedoe Cave Access Coordinator Julie Schenck Brown at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at least three days before you would like to visit the cave.
Varnedoe Cave with Elliot Stahl and Joy Palmer (Photo by Alan Grosse)
Varnedoe Cave with Elliot Stahl and Joy Palmer (Photo by Alan Grosse)

Varnedoe Cave Preserve

Varnedoe Cave is located within the city limits of Huntsville, Alabama and is one of the more popular multi-drop caves in the southeast. SCCi  currently leases the cave through an agreement with the landowner. Both entrances to Varnedoe Cave can be rigged all the way to the Fox Skeleton Room where the register is located. Entrance 1 has a pit series of 73’, 15’, 41’, 72’ and Entrance 2 has a pit series of 115’, 12’, and 69’ with the latter entrance route dropping near the waterfall in the Fox Skeleton Room. Beyond the Fox Skeleton Room are meandering passages that lead to tall dome complexes and a formation area. Access to Varnedoe Cave requires a permit.
Varnedoe Cave with Elliot Stahl and Joy Palmer (Photo by Alan Grosse)
Varnedoe Cave with Elliot Stahl and Joy Palmer (Photo by Alan Grosse)

Preserve Information: Acreage: Lease/management agreement in Madison County, Alabama.
Preserve Management Team: Julie Schenck Brown (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
Jack Fischer at the entrance of Varnedoe Cave (Photo by Matthew Setchfield)
Jack Fischer at the entrance of Varnedoe Cave (Photo by Matthew Setchfield)

Preserve Acquisition Timeline

Below is a brief timeline of SCCi Cave Preserve purchases, donations, leases, and management agreements:

2017

Elroy and Marilyn Daleo Cave Preserve, KY
Goshen Hollow, AL
Howards Waterfall Second Entrance, GA

2014

Varnedoe Cave Preserve, AL (leased)
Stephens Gap Callahan Cave Preserve, AL

2013

Run To The Mill Cave Preserve, TN

2012

Lost Canyon Cave Preserve, GA

2011

John T. Dolberry Tumbling Rock Cave Preserve, AL

2009

Kay Hill Deen Fern Cave Preserve (Fern Sink aka Surprise Pit entrance), AL
Kennamer Cave (Orgy entrance) and Secret Pit (additions to Kennamer Cave Preserve), AL

2008

Steward Spring Cave Preserve, AL

2007

Anderson Cave Preserve, AL (management agreement)

2006

Hollow Ridge Cave Preserve, FL (donated)

2005

Byers Cave, GA (addition to Fox Mountain Cave Preserve)

2003

Frenchman Knob Cave Preserve, KY
Limrock Blowing Cave Preserve, AL

2002

Rattling Cave Preserve, TN (leased)
Wolf River Cave Preserve, TN
Snail Shell Cave Preserve, TN 
Valhalla Cave Preserve, AL

2001

Hound Dog Drop (Holly Creek Cave Preserve), TN
Sinking Cove Cave Preserve (includes 73 caves), TN (leased)
Custard Hollow Cave Preserve, TN

1998

Lobelia Saltpeter Cave Preserve, WV (donated)
Jennings Cave Preserve, FL

1997

Fox Mountain Cave Preserve (including Cemetery Pit and Rustys Cave), GA
Logsdon Cave Preserve, KY (leased)
Fricks Cave Preserve, GA
Gourdneck Cave Preserve, TN (leased)
Kennamer Cave Preserve, AL
South Pittsburg Pit Preserve, TN
Horse Skull Cave Preserve, AL 

1995

Neversink Preserve, AL
Glove Pit Preserve, AL (donated)

1991

Howard's Waterfall Cave Preserve, GA (donated)

Privacy Policy

Thank you for your interest in the Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc. (“SCCi”, "we" or "us"), and for visiting our website (the "Site"). We are committed to protecting the personal privacy of the users of our Site, who may submit personal information or financial information to us. As used herein, the term "Information" refers to personally identifiable information that visitors submit on the Site, including, without limitation, your name, address, email address and phone number. Through our activities, Information may be collected. Our success depends on your trust. To better protect your privacy, we have established this Privacy Policy to inform you of our practices with respect to how we collect and use your information.

As used in this Privacy Policy, the term "you" shall refer to any visitor to our Site, including, without limitation, volunteers and donors.

Collection, Use and Sharing of Your Information

    • We respect your privacy, and, in general, you can visit our Site without revealing any Information about yourself. We will not collect any Information about you unless you choose to provide that Information to us.
    • Information may be collected through online forms or forms that can be downloaded from the Site. By completing online or downloadable forms or otherwise providing us with your contact information, you are consenting to receive information from us about the Site and SCCi.
    • SCCi will use your Information to process and respond to inquiries and for the purposes for which you provided the information, such as to process donations, register or renew you as a member, purchase merchandise, or receive information about a project.
    • You may opt out of future correspondence with SCCi at any time and ask us to delete any Information we have about you, or you may access, correct, amend and update your Information, by contacting us as outlined below.
    • SCCi will not sell, share or retransmit your Information to any party not affiliated with SCCi, unless (i) we have your permission to make the disclosure, (ii) the disclosure is required by law, regulation or other legal requirement, or (iii) the disclosure is necessary to protect the rights, property or safety of SCCi or others.


Credit Card Information 

If you choose to provide your credit or debit card information to SCCi, we will use that information for the purposes for which it was provided.

How We Protect Information

SCCi has taken certain physical, administrative and technical steps to safeguard customer information which may include but are not limited to password restricted access to personal information and encrypting data where applicable. We take efforts to help ensure the security, integrity and confidentiality of customer information; however, no transmission or electronic storage of information can be guaranteed to be 100% secure.

Contact
If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions regarding this privacy policy, please send us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; call us at (423)771-9671; or write us at:

Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc.
PO Box 250
Signal Mountain, TN 37377

SCCi Takes a Huge Step Forward in Expanding its Cave Acquisition Capacity

This month, the Southeastern Cave Conservancy has taken a huge step forward in our efforts to expand our cave acquisition capacity! As we have reported previously, in early 2013 the SCCi board of directors approved a strategic plan for 2013-2015. The strategic plan set an ambitious goal  – to double and eventually triple the number of caves that SCCi protects each year. In order to achieve that goal, the board recognized that SCCi must ramp up our game with respect to the plans, policies, and procedures that foundations and other major conservation donors expect, and also do a better job serving our growing membership. After much discussion, the board concluded that a key step in our ability to successfully implement the plan was to obtain professional administrative support services for SCCi. At our March 2014 board meeting, we welcomed Sage Morgan to fill this part-time contracted position.
We are confident that Sage has the right skills to help SCCi move forward with our strategic plan. Not only is she already assisting with SCCi's day-to-day operations by doing things like dramatically improving our ability to keep current with the recurring credit-card donations from our nearly 500 sustaining members, she is also assisting each of SCCi's volunteer-based committees in completing the many tasks that they are charged with as part of implementing our strategic plan.
Please join me and the SCCi board in welcoming Sage to SCCi. If you would like to contact her, she may be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Ron Miller
Chair
The following is a message from Sage:
Hello! I would like to take a moment to express how honored I am to be a part of the growth of this truly grassroots organization. I am inspired by the ability of this "For Cavers, By Cavers" group of volunteers to drive this organization for the past 20+ years. I look forward to helping SCCi move to the next level. My virtual door is always open. Please feel free to call or email at any time. Thank you!
Sage:)

Frick's Cave Open House This Weekend

Don't forget that the Frick's Cave open house is Saturday, February 15! Several people have asked us what the cave is like. It's a large horizontal stream cave and will be very cold and very wet this time of year. Be sure to wear plenty of warm layers if you go inside the cave and be sure to bring a change of clothes! Others have asked if they can visit the cave another day if they miss the open house. The cave is only open one day a year, so if you want to see it, be sure to join us Saturday!
If you would like to go into the cave, you will be required to use gear and clothing that’s been cleaned and disinfected according to the SCCi Cave Visitation Policy. In addition, white-nose syndrome was found inside the cave last winter so please also clean and disinfect your gear after the trip.
Stream passage in Frick's Cave. Photo by JV Van Swearingen IV
Stream passage in Frick's Cave. Photo by JV Van Swearingen IV

Right now the weather is looking great for Saturday! Hopefully that won't change! We're planning to cook burgers and hot dogs between noon and 4 PM. We'll also have a fire so everyone can warm up. Please join us around the fire to visit with friends, eat some great food, and meet new friends.
The address for the open house parking area is 1536 Fricks Gap Rd., Chickamauga, GA. Directions from the intersection of GA 136 and GA 193 (between LaFayette and Trenton): Go south 2.1 miles to Harold Stephens Road. Turn right. Continue until you dead end into Fricks Gap Road. Turn left. Follow this road to the signs for the open house parking.
We hope you can join us for this once-a-year opportunity. We look forward to seeing you!
Formation area in Frick's Cave. Photo by JV Van Swearingen IV.
Formation area in Frick's Cave. Photo by JV Van Swearingen IV.

Large Room in Frick's Cave. Photo by JV Van Swearingen IV.
Large Room in Frick's Cave. Photo by JV Van Swearingen IV.

 
 
 

SCCi to Exhibit at Banff Film Fest in Atlanta Mar. 17 - Discounted Group Tix Available!

 
We are excited to announce that SCCi will be exhibiting at the upcoming Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour, coming to Atlanta (at the Georgia Tech Ferst Center again!) on March 17! Check out this year's thrilling Banff World Tour trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=gCzgqIm_Ofg
The event begins at 7 PM; doors open at 6 PM. Films shown during the three hour event (including an intermission with a great raffle!) are among the best films from the annual Banff Mountain Film Festival. As the REI event blurb states: "This year's tour features a collection of the most inspiring and though-provoking action, environmental, and adventure mountain films. Traveling from remote landscapes and cultures to up close and personal with adrenaline-packed action sports, the 2013/2014 World Tour is an exhilarating and provocative exploration of the mountain world."
From the film "Down the line"
From the film "Down the line"

We are able once again to get group-discounted tickets for just $12 (adults or children). Also this year, both SCCi and DCG (Dogwood City Grotto) will be exhibiting at the event, so we'll also need a few volunteers to help staff our tables. If you're interested in helping out with that, please contact Nancy Aulenbach (see contact info at the bottom of this note). As part of the agreement to exhibit, we've committed to trying to sell at least 50 group tickets, so we really need to have a great turnout from cavers! If we sell enough tickets, we may also be able to convince them to reserve us a block of good seats (which they almost never do, but they did for us the year we sold 54 tickets!)
A few years ago, we had a great "festival before the festival" dinner and social hour at the nearby Gordon Biersch restaurant. If there's sufficient interest, we'll try to do that again - let Dianne know if you're interested, as we'll probably need reservations for a decent sized group.
Please contact Dianne Guthrie (her contact info is at the bottom of this note) if you want tickets, and how many. Group tix are all the same price - $12 (vs. regular price of $15 adults, $13 students, seniors and children), and anyone 4 or older needs a ticket. Once she has purchased your tickets, you're on the hook for those tickets! Dianne hopes to be able to hand the out at the DCG meetings in February and March. If you won't be attending these meetings, not to worry - we'll mail them to you!
• Date: 3/17/2014
• Event Location: Ferst Center
• Event Fee: See event details
• Time: 6:00 - 10:00 PM EDT
• Leader: Banff

Description: REI once again hosts the only Atlanta stop on the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour! This year's tour features a collection of the most inspiring and though-provoking action, environmental, and adventure mountain films. Traveling from remote landscapes and cultures to up close and personal with adrenaline-packed action sports, the 2013/2014 World Tour is an exhilarating and provocative exploration of the mountain world. $15 General Admission, $13 Students/Seniors. All proceeds go to support the Georgia Conservancy's Heartland Rivers of Georgia Paddle Series. Monday, March 17th at the Ferst Center at Georgia Tech. Doors open at 6pm, show starts at 7pm. For more information or group ticket sales of 10 or more, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 404.633.6508x203. Buy your tickets at any REI store. Georgia Conservancy's Heartland Rivers of GA Paddle Series: http://www.georgiaconservancy.org/heartland.html
We look forward to seeing you at Banff!
Contact info:
Dianne Guthrie
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
404-545-9961
Nancy Aulenbach
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
 
 

Goodbye to Steve Hudson

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.
Sincerely,
Kris Green SCCi Co-Founder, Sustaining Member #8, Vice Chairman, Director

DATE CHANGE for the Frick's Cave Open House!

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.

Southeastern Cave Conservancy Acquires Significant New Preserve in Central Tennessee

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, www.scci.org, 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..

Save the date! February 15 is Frick's Cave Open House

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.

Member Appreciation Day at Fricks Cave Preserve

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.
 

Annual Members' Meeting

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!

SCCi Board Meetings

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.
 

Volunteer Opportunities

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.
 
 
 

Join us for the Tumbling Rock Christmas Party!

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 Preserve

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 http://permits.scci.org  Cave is closed September thru April. Closure is dependant on bat activity.
Preserve MapsCave Map | Land Survey | Tilted Well Map

The SCCi Now Owns Run To The Mill Cave!

The SCCi is extremely pleased to announce our newest cave preserve, Run To The Mill. This cave is a TAG classic, with a deep pit, beautiful formation areas, 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 a caver's cave. And it's one more cave that we can permanently remove from the TAG Closed Cave List.
Support This Purchase! Buy a Piece of a Cave Preserve! This is our newest purchase, and it cost $200,000. We need your help to pay for it.  You'll receive a thank-you gift of your choice. To provide ongoing support and help us fund other purchases of other amazing caves, 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!

We signed the closing paperwork transferring ownership of the property to the SCCi just last week, so we're still creating a management committee and defining access policies. We will post all of the information about how to visit the cave as soon as we can. In the meantime, to give you a better idea of why this cave is such a fantastic purchase for the SCCi and all of our members, here are just a few photos of the cave Buddy Lane provided. We look forward to seeing photos from all of you now that cavers can once again visit this wonderful cave. For even more photos, please visit our Facebook page.


Entrance to Run To The Mill Cave
Entrance to Run To The Mill


 Run To The Mill Cave
One of many formation areas in Run To The Mill

Run To The Mill Cave
The top of Tilted Well, a 167-foot deep pit in the cave

Run To The Mill
Looking up the pit in Run To The Mill

 
Run To The Mill Cave
Borehole in the lower level of Run To The Mill

We would like to thank all of the people who support the SCCi with your time and money. It's thanks to our supporters that we are able to finance such incredible purchases. If you are happy about this new cave purchase, please consider supporting us!

Regional Stewardship Managers

To help you get the information you need about our cave preserves, we have Regional Stewardship Coordinators who support our property managers and our This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you have any questions about a cave in a particular state, try to contact the property manager for the cave you're interested in first. If you have any problems contacting the property manager, you may contact our regional coordinators at any time for help.
Brian Killingbeck: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Brian helps manage all preserves in Alabama.
John Hickman: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
John helps manage all preserves in Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia
Brad Tipton: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Brad helps manage all preserves in Georgia and Florida.

Events

Below is a brief outline of the SCCi's events. Follow the title links to learn more details about each. We hope to see soon!
Bats Beer & Bluegrass

Bats Beer and Bluegrass is an annual fundraiser held at Fricks Cave Preserve in September. The event includes a catered dinner and live blue grass music.
SCCi Board Meetings
Are you interested in the inner workings of the Southeastern Cave Conservancy? We hold quarterly board meetings and members are welcome to attend our open afternoon sessions.
Annual Members' Meeting
Each year, the Board of Directors holds an Annual Members' Meeting and cookout. Click here for more information on the next meeting.
Member Appreciation Day at Fricks
Have you had the chance to visit Fricks Cave in Georgia? Fricks is Georgia’s richest biologic spelean environment hosting 10,000 endangered Gray Bats and Georgia’s only known population of the rare Tennessee Cave Salamander. Due to the presence of the Federally Endangered Gray Bats this cave is normally closed to visitation. Once a year, while the bats are gone for the winter, the Board of Directors hosts an Open House to give the members an opportunity to visit this beautiful cave. Check back for information on the 2016 Open House.
TAG Fall Cave In
Each year the SCCi sets up a booth at the TAG Fall Cave-In, a fundraiser hosted by Dogwood City Grotto based out of Atlanta, GA. Join us at our booth on Friday evening, 8:00 EST, to learn about what we have accomplished over the last year. We hope that you will take this opportunity to meet us in person and hear our latest news. You may also stop by any time over the weekend to make a donation, renew your membership, and receive a nice thank you gift!
 

Cave Cleanup Guidelines

The SCCi owns or manages several properties that have been vandalized, abused or used as illegal dump sites. Individuals and organizations wanting to help in the clean-up of these properties and sites are welcomed and encouraged by the SCCi. The following policy is designed to protect the  properties, the caves, their artifacts, and their biota, and to ensure fairness to those desiring to conduct clean-up projects at our preserves. If you're interested in conducting a cleanup trip in one of our caves, apply for a permit SCCi Cleanup Permit, or contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.for more information.
When is a Clean-up Permit required?

  • A permit is not required when the maximum group size for a preserve will not be exceeded or for trips where only trash or small debris removal is anticipated.

  • A permit is required when the maximum group size for a preserve will be exceeded, formations repaired, graffiti or paint removed, when an entrance or entrance sink is cleaned, or when removal of appliances or large quantities of debris and trash is anticipated.


SCCi Policy for Permitted Clean-up Projects

  1. All qualifying individuals and organizations wishing to engage in a clean-up project on SCCi owned or managed properties must submit an application to the SCCi Stewardship Chair. The Stewardship Chair will review the application and if approved, the individual or organization will enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the SCCi that describes the responsibilities of both parties.

  2. A summary of the proposed clean-up shall be submitted before all permitted clean-up trips. The summary should include estimated numbers of participants, date of proposed trip(s), cleaning methods to be used, section(s) to be cleaned, funding if any, and any related information pertinent to the clean-up. If hauling systems are to be used, elaborate on system, methods used, erosion control, biota protection and grounds restoration planned (see “SCCi Clean-up Permit Application”).

  3. Applicants must submit their qualifications to conduct such a project.

  4. Applicants must reveal any funding involved in the project, and any contracts or subcontracts involved in such project.

  5. Applicants will be responsible for obtaining any necessary permits. Copies of required permits will be provided with the approved application.

  6. A signed liability release is required for each participant. Release forms will be provided by the SCCi Property Manager or Representative.

  7. Applicants will provide sanitation facilities if group size mandates.

  8. Before any cleaning begins, an inventory or survey of the affected area of the preserve or cave must be performed and presented to the Stewardship Chair. Inventories shall include listings and locations, and where appropriate, photographs, of any historical graffiti of possible significance,  petroglyphs, drawings and or possible art, formation areas, and cave life. A careful eye is required to determine the origin of such items. It is recommended an archaeologist or other qualified personnel be enlisted for this inspection.

  9. An appointed SCCi Representative will be present at all clean-ups and have sole authority to halt the clean-up if unacceptable or unsafe practices are observed or the SCCi Clean-up Policy is not adhered to.

  10. Applicant is responsible for maintaining a sign-in/sign-out list. A copy of this list must be provided in the final report.

  11. Use bristle type brushes for removal of graffiti or paint – either natural or man made fiber is acceptable. If more aggressive metal or steel brushes are necessary, approval by the SCCi Representative is required.

  12. Graffiti and paint removal will begin with the least-invasive removal methods before more aggressive methods are employed.

  13. Generators may be used to supply electricity for lights and ventilation only. Under no circumstances will electrical power tools, sand blasting or glass bead blasting be permitted.

  14. Areas not to be cleaned will be clearly defined and marked.

  15. If trash collection containers are used, approval for placement by the SCCi Representative is required.

  16. Applicant is responsible for the removal and disposal of collected materials, unless otherwise stated.

  17. A final report must be submitted within a reasonable time to the Stewardship Chair upon completion of any permitted clean-up trip. Reports should include:



  • Date(s) of clean-up trip.

  • List of participants.

  • Signed release forms for all participants.

  • Details of section(s) cleaned, including photographs of before and after shots of the affected

  • area or passage(s) when possible.

  • List of products used, i.e. solutions, brushes, etc. If cleaning solutions are used,

  • manufacturer data sheets must be provided.

  • Any cave life disturbed.

  • Any hazardous materials found or disturbed.


 Application Review and Approval Procedure

  1. Completed clean-up applications are to be sent to the Stewardship Chair.

  2. The Stewardship Chair is responsible for:

    • Reviewing the application and seeking any additional specialists if necessary to evaluate the application.

    • Providing oversight for the clean-up project if the application is approved.



  3. For properties not owned by the SCCi, the Stewardship Chair shall provide a copy of the proposed permit to the owner and obtain the owner’s permission for the project. If the issue is addressed in the management contract, then the Stewardship Chair will abide by the management contract. Deviations from management contracts will be brought before the Board Chair for approval.

  4. The Stewardship Chair will review the application in a timely fashion but may take up to one (1) month to review and give a recommendation to approve or disapprove to the Board Chair.

  5. The Board Chair will approve or disapprove the application.

  6. The Stewardship Chair should identify any problems, issues, and other items that need to be addressed in a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). These items may include but are not limited to:
    Restrictions or guidelines on collection or cleaning techniques.

    • Disposal of material collected.

    • Collection and disposal of human waste.

    • Designation of an individual to represent the SCCi during the course of the project.

    • Exceptions to numbers of individuals normally allowed in cave.



  7. The Stewardship Chair is responsible for developing the MOA and sending it to the Board Chair for approval before sending it to the applicant.

  8. The Stewardship Chair is responsible for notifying the applicant.

  9. Any issues related to the MOA must be negotiated by the Stewardship Chair before it is sent to the Board Chair for final signature.

  10. Amendments to the MOA that are suggested after the Clean-up has begun are the responsibility of the Stewardship Chair and the SCCi Representative.


 

Sustaining Membership - Join, Upgrade or Modify Your Monthly Gift

cavergroup

Sustaining Membership is a way to save caves month after month after month. Your monthly gift makes it possible for SCCi to make long-term plans to acquire and protect caves.

Your Sustaining Membership donations are conveniently billed to your credit/debit card or directly from your bank account on a regular, monthly basis. 

Nearly 400 people have committed to a sustaining membership with monthly gifts ranging from $5 to over $300. That commitment makes it possible for us to acquire and protect preserves like Tumbling Rock and Run to the Mill.

Your Sustaining Membership includes all the perks of membership:

  • SCCi's email newsletter
  • Membership Card & Lanyard
  • Stickers for your car and gear
  • Invitation to Member Only Events
  • Discount Bats, Beer & Bluegrass tickets
  • $10 off your next $100 order at InnerMountain Outfitters

Use the form below to start or change your monthly gift. 

Regular Membership

michaelhopkinsSCCi membership is only $35 per year.

With your membership you will receive:

1. SCCi's email newsletter
2. Membership Card & Lanyard
3. Stickers for your car and gear
4. Invitation to Member Only Events
5. Discount Bats, Beer & Bluegrass tickets
6. $10 off an order over $100 at InnerMountain Outfitters
7. Most importantly, the knowledge you are doing your part to conserve caves and the important ecosystems around them.

One Time Donation

under 2 rocks Ryan Maurer

Whether you have visited an SCCi Preserve or just like to know you are part of protecting one of the Southeast's most unique natural resources, we appreciate your decision to make a donation today.

SCCi is the world's largest land conservancy solely dedicated to cave and karst conservation. It currently protects 170+ caves on 31 preserves from Central Florida to West Virginia. Each cave has 

For over 25 years, SCCi has worked to protect the habitat of endangered animals, historic resources and provide wild natural experiences for tens of thousands of preserve visitors from toddlers to baby boomers.

Your gift helps fund education, acquisition, trail building, and research. A gift of even $25 will go a long way to helping SCCi continue its important work.