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:

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 or 404.633.6508×203. Buy your tickets at any REI store. Georgia Conservancy’s Heartland Rivers of GA Paddle Series:

We look forward to seeing you at Banff!

Contact info:
Dianne Guthrie

Nancy Aulenbach




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.


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

DATE CHANGE for the Frick’s Cave Open House!

fricks cave open houseDATE 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  Individuals wishing to visit the cave will also be required to follow the SCCi Cave Visitation Policy, which includes following the Conservancy’s Clean Caving Procedures. Run To The Mill Cave is presumed to be positive for the presence of White Nose Syndrome (WNS), based on visual evidence of white fungus observed on tri-colored bats in January 2013. WNS is a disease of hibernating bats that has killed millions of the animals in the eastern U.S. and Canada since its discovery in 2006.  The condition is named for a distinctive white fungus that grows on the noses and bodies of affected bats.  While WNS is not directly harmful to humans, the loss of so many bats may have significant and far ranging impacts.  Bats play a major role in many ecosystems, and benefit agriculture by crop pollination and insect control. SCCi is currently raising $200,000 to pay the costs of acquisition and funding for long-term stewardship of the new preserve.  The Lyndhurst Foundation has already made a generous $50,000 grant in support of the acquisition, and SCCi members have also contributed or pledged another $50,000 to date. Donors wishing to support the Run To The Mill Cave Preserve acquisition may contribute securely online by going to the SCCi web site,, or by mailing a check to the address listed on the website. For additional information and more photos of the preserve, visit the SCCi Run To The Mill Cave Preserve web page, or contact SCCi Chair Ron Miller at