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.

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

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.

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 varnedoe@scci.org 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)

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 runtothemill@scci.org.  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 chair@scci.org.