Due to historic drought levels across much of the SCCi region, CAMPFIRES ARE BANNED on all SCCi preserves until further notice. Please help us protect our forests and karst lands by being vigilant.

Kelly Cove-Sinkhole Preserve Acquisition

Our goal was to raise $165,000 in 30 days to cover the purchase and infrastructure costs for Sinkhole in Marion County, TN. This ensured the protection and management of this unique pit for generations to come.


Cave heroes have already responded to the call. 

109% Funded
179,092 Raised
Days to Go
204 Sponsors


Thanks to generous supporters, many TAG classics have already been purchased and protected. 

Protected Classics

Now it's our chance to do the same for Sinkhole.

Donate Now

If you would like to donate with a check, please mail to P.O. Box 250 Signal Mountain, TN 37377. Include "Sinkhole" in the memo.

The story of Sinkhole goes back to the golden age of caving...

Nearly 50 years ago, a crew of Chattanooga area cavers caught word of a few unexplored holes along a ridge just off I-24 in Marion County, TN. Walking along the ridge, it was a cool day in early March when not even the trillium had poked through the leaf litter. The forest surrounding them was mixed oak and hickory with tulip poplar and beech spread throughout; typical of a southeastern mixed hardwood forest. Spotting a cave at this time of year can be difficult. All the cool breezes consistently blowing easily mask the tell-tale breath of a cave. However, the crisp air and lack of foliage gave them the advantage of higher visibility. Navigating through the trees and occasional embedded rock exposed at the surface, they soon caught a glimpse of water pouring off rocks before it disappeared into the ground...

Sinkhole Past


Although only a short distance from the busy highway, the roar of a waterfall crashing 164 feet into a pit drowned out the sounds of any passing vehicles. 

It was 1975 and these ridgewalkers had just discovered Sinkhole.

PC040057 copy

 Photo Credit Bob Biddix


For the next 20 years, cavers from the southeast and beyond journeyed to experience the pit. The L shaped cave was rapidly becoming a favorite due to it's ease of access and rich biological surroundings. As it gained in popularity, the land was beginning to show how loved it was becoming, with saplings, shrubs and wildflowers retreating to less trodden parts of the property. As the roots gave way to boots, compaction and erosion became major issues, causing concern for the landowner and caver, Harry White. Much to the dismay of the caving community Harry shared in a letter to Speleo Themes  on September 6, 1994 that Sinkhole was closed to cavers. 

Nearly 30 years later, SCCi has the opportunity to reopen the cave for responsible recreation and protect and manage its biological resources.


With your support this property can be protected and re-opened for responsible recreation. 

Donate Now

The Kelly Cove-Sinkhole Preserve will be 27.5 acres of caving, limited camping, and surface permits. In the rapidly growing southeast, preserving green spaces like this are becoming more important than ever for the future we all depend on. Consider donating to help protect these wild places. 

For a donation of $5000 your name will be listed on the Kelly Cove-Sinkhole Preserve Kiosk as a designated Cave Hero.

For a donation of $1000 you will receive a donor exclusive leather bound SCCi padfolio.

If you would like to donate with a check, please mail to P.O. Box 250 Signal Mountain, TN 37377. Include "Sinkhole" in the memo.


Together We Can Save Our Caves