Neversink is Ours!
December 5, 1995
On Tuesday, December 5 1995, the Southeastern Cave Conservancy became the owner of the classic TAG pit, Neversink. The closing was held in Scottsboro, Alabama, with Mark Wolinsky, Bill Putnam, and Buddy Lane representing the SCCi. This event is the culmination of almost three years of work by many SCCi members. It was made possible by the generous support of cavers and organizations throughout the US. We would especially like to thank Pigeon Mountain Industries, the Dogwood City Grotto, the Huntsville Grotto, and the Richmond Area Speleological Society for their early and generous financial support. A large share of the credit for bringing this complicated deal to completion goes to SCCi Acquisitions Chairman Mark Wolinsky, who handled the negotiations and ran down countless details to make it all work.
The total cost of the acquisition was just over $51,000, including legal fees and survey expenses. The SCCi raised $31,000 and borrowed another $20,000 to make the purchase. As a result of a very successful fundraising campaign, the debt was paid in full by October, 1996.
Neversink. Photo by John Van Swearingen, IV. The Southeastern Cave Conservancy is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to the acquisition and management of caves and cave access in the Southeastern US. Membership costs $25 per year and is open to anyone interested in the management and protection of caves. Member dues go directly to buy, lease, and manage caves.
History of the SCCi Neversink Acquisition Neversink is a beautiful 162 foot open air pit in Jackson County Alabama. Long known and loved by TAG cavers, the cave is considered by many to be the classic TAG pit. It is probably the most photographed pit in TAG due to the beautiful fern covered ledges (including some rare and endangered ferns), waterfalls, and other features. The pit is about 40 feet in diameter at the top and bells out to 100 feet in diameter at the bottom. It has been featured in countless slide shows and has been pictured in many publications including the NSS News, various convention guidebooks, and the cover of Bob Thrun’s book Prusiking.
The pit was closed in 1993 due to a change of ownership. The new owner was concerned about liability and about disturbance of the water pipe from the spring above the pit. The spring is the only reliable water supply for a home at the bottom of the mountain.
The SCCi was already in negotiations to buy the pit when it was sold in 1993 to another buyer who bypassed the real estate agent. We then made contact with the new owner and entered into negotiations to buy the pit from him. After much work, an agreement was reached. We began raising money to pay for the cave. At the eleventh hour the owner had second thoughts and decided to sell the land to the person using the spring. We then made contact with that person, and were eventually able to reach a agreement to buy the cave from him in return for a guarantee of a water rights easement for the spring.
In July 1995 the Southeastern Cave Conservancy signed a contract with the owner to purchase the pit. Following a survey of the property and some arrangements regarding parking and walking access, the SCCi completed the purchase and took ownership on December 5, 1995.
Total cost of the purchase was a little over $51,000. The SCCi raised most the money and secured a loan sufficient to allow us to complete the deal. We had six months to pay off the loan at no interest.
At the 1995 TAG Fall Cave In the SCCi kicked off a major new fund raising program for the Neversink Purchase called “Buy a Piece of the Pit”. Similar in organization to the NSS Office Buy a Brick campaign, the plan allows cavers to make a contribution to the SCCi Neversink Fund and receive a complimentary Neversink T-Shirt with a map of the cave and the words “I Bought A Piece of the Pit” plus an honorary certificate of ownership, suitable for framing, which identifies your particular plot on the property. The fund raising program was a major success and allowed us to retire the debt from the purchase in one year.
All contributions are tax deductible in accordance with IRS rules for charitable contributions. The SCCi is a 501-c-3 non-profit tax exempt organization.
Any questions regarding Neversink may be referred to SCCi Neversink Property Manager Jim Hall.
If you would like to support the SCCi by joining as a member, the dues are $25 and should be sent to SCCi Treasurer Buddy Lane, 40 Hidden Brook Lane, Signal Mountain TN 37377.