We are pleased to announce that the Southeastern Cave Conservancy Inc., in cooperation with the Appalachian Grotto has secured access to Rattling Cave with a ten year lease.
Rattling Cave was one of the earliest caves explored in the east Tennessee region by organized cavers. In 1949, William M. Morrison and eight others rigged ropes, ladders and pulleys for the 130-foot descent into the cave. The cave has a number of attractive formation areas and contains an abundance of cave dwelling fauna including a sizable population of federally-listed endangered Gray Bats. Some 18,000 individuals have been observed hibernating in the winter months. The cave was surveyed to a length of more than 2,000 feet by the Smoky Mountain Grotto in the late 1960’s, and extended by more than 500 feet by members of the Appalachian Grotto in the late 1990’s.
We are especially excited about this acquisition because it is one of the deepest and most scenic pits in East Tennessee. Rattling Cave is located at the edge of the Appalachian Mountains, where very few caves exist in the predominately metamorphic strata. The impressive 130-foot entrance pit leads to several levels of cave passages and nice formation areas.
The current management plan, access procedures, and policies may be found on the SCCi web site. Access procedures for the cave still require checking in with the water utility, owners of the cave. Please follow the access procedures carefully. Rattling Cave will continue to be managed to allow access in the summer months but will remain closed to visitation from September 15th to April 30th to protect the hibernating bats.
The SCCi is counting on the help and support of the caving community in meeting the financial responsibilities that come with the stewardship and management of our cave preserves. The year 2002 has already been our most active year with recently purchased Snail Shell Cave in Rutherford County Tennessee, Valhalla in Jackson County Alabama, and Wolf River Cave in Fentress County Tennessee. Acquiring these three fantastic cave preserves in the same year has severely depleted our operating cash, and has increased our debt load to the highest level since we began acquiring caves. It also significantly reduces our ability to act quickly in situations like the Wolf River Cave auction. We need your help to get back to full strength, so that we are able to take advantage of new opportunities as they arise.
Please consider joining the SCCi as a Sustaining Member, and helping to pay for the caves we all love and enjoy. For as little as $10 a month you can be a cave owner. For information on SCCi Sustaining Membership, see our web page or contact Sustaining Membership manager Bill Stringfellow at firstname.lastname@example.org. Regular memberships are also available for $25 per year.
On behalf of the directors, I thank all of you for your continued confidence and support of our so very important mission.
Mark N. Wolinsky, Acquisitions Chairman
Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc