John Attaway Donates SCCi's 32nd Preserve

On July 27, 2020, John Attaway has generously donated to the Southeastern Cave Conservancy (SCCi) a 17-acre parcel containing Mayapple  and  Meander caves. This stunning piece of property is located in Payne Cove in Grundy County, Tennessee.

Closing2Mayapple Cave has three entrances, all located on the property, with more than 6,000 feet of horizontal passage and 154 feet of vertical cave. Meander is a smaller cave with 123 feet of horizontal passage.

The preserve will be named the “Mayapple - Steve and Nancy Attaway Preserve” in memory of John’s son Steve who passed away a year ago and in honor of Steve’s wife Nancy who resides in New Mexico. Steve was an active caver in the Southeast during the 1970's and 1980's and served in cave rescue alongside his father.

Steve moved to New Mexico to work at Sandia National Laboratories in 1987 and enjoyed a successful career there until his passing. He maintained his dedication to rescue by serving in Albuquerque Mountain Rescue as a rescue leader, performing hundreds of rescue missions in the wilderness of New Mexico over the years. Steve and Nancy were also accomplished jewelers and gem carvers, winning awards for their work.

Mayapple BBiddix 
 Photo credit B. Biddix

SCCi Director Kyle Lassiter says, “John Attaway has been an exemplary caver and landowner for over 45 years. He has always been a very active and engaged member of the caving community. It is not a surprise that his children (Steve and his sister Myrna) followed suit and greatly enriched the caving community in their own right. His generous donation to the SCCi will allow the Attaway legacy to be remembered for many generations to come. The SCCi is excited to protect these caves on this beautiful land forever, honoring his passion for cave conservation.”

SCCi is currently making preparations to open the preserve for visitation. As with SCCi’s other 30 preserves, recreational use will be carefully balanced with conservation.


Written by : Ray Knott