Wolf River Cave Preserve

Wolf River Cave Bob Biddix

Wolf River Cave, photo courtesy of Bob Biddix

Wolf River Cave Wolf River Cave is more than eight miles long and is one of the most significant caves in North America in terms of its biology, anthropology, archeology and zoology. Many areas of the cave contain cultural resources or pristine formations and it’s very important that you Stay on Established Trails!

The Southeastern Cave Conservancy Inc., in partnership with The Nature Conservancy , Tennessee Chapter (TNC) and Bat Conservation International (BCI), purchased Wolf River Cave and 33 acres of surrounding karst land near Jamestown in Fentress County Tennessee. The cave and surrounding property were part of a family farm that was sold at auction on July 20, 2002. Our cave conservation partnership was able to outbid other potential buyers with a winning bid for the cave tract of $74,000. The purchase was completed on Friday, August 16, in Cookeville ,TN when SCCi Chair Diane Cousineau and Treasurer Buddy Lane delivered the check and signed the papers. The SCCi now holds title to the property and will manage it under a joint agreement with TNC.

The cave also contains Tennessee’s second-largest hibernation colony of the rarest endangered bat species in the Southeast – the Indiana bat. According to a survey conducted by Tennessee Technological University, the winter colony numbers between 2,400 and 2,500 bats. One of the first species to be placed on the federal endangered species list, Indiana bats hibernate in caves from September through early April. The cave is also known to house a small number of federally listed endangered Gray Bats in the summer, as well as a few Rafinesque’s Big-Eared Bats. In addition, cavers have reported observing blind crayfish and cave beetles.

Wolf River Cave Bob Biddix

Wolf River Cave, photo courtesy of Bob Biddix

The Nature Conservancy , Tennessee Chapter and SCCi operate under a Memorandum of Understanding for joint projects involving caves and cave protection in Tennessee.  Along with its other goals and objectives, the ability to act quickly and in concert to purchase caves in immediate danger is one reason the MOU was implemented.  In a land auction participants often have little time to prepare and prices can soar above appraised values.  This important acquisition would not have taken place without the financial assistance of TNC and Bat Conservation International.  Gabby Call, Director of Protection for TNC’s Tennessee Chapter, and Jim Kennedy, Assistant Director of BCI’s North American Bat Conservation Partnership, were instrumental in securing the necessary financial support and in forging a successful partnership among the three organizations.

Preserve Information:

Acreage: 32.86 acres in Fentress County, Tennessee
Property Manager: Wolf River Cave Preserve Management Committee (wolfriver@scci.org)
Access: Permit required.
Preserve Management: Management Plan
Preserve Map: Wolf River map