Showing posts from December, 2016

8 Secret Places in Crossville and Cumberland County

For the purpose of this blog post, secret is somewhat subjective. All the below places have been visited and documented well before my time. For one reason or another, they all remain less than well known. In the near future, I suspect that this may change. My publication of photos here is not an invitation to trespass either. Get permission before you go onto private property. In the meantime, here are some places that perhaps you didn't know about... Black Mountain Black Mountain is a state natural area managed by TDEC. It is a classic "rock town" formed of Rockcastle conglomerate, a sandstone with quartzite pebbles of up to 1cm in size locally. The overlooks are south to south-east facing and are a great place to catch a sunrise in the Winter. If you're lucky, fog will be sitting in the coves below like milk in a bowl. Little Cove is immediately south, and Grassy Cove is south-west. Both are sinkholes, and there is more about Grassy Cove below. Google Map

The Role of Grottos in the Outside Community

My previous blog post discussed the role of grottos in the caving community . It focused on the internal aspects of grottos as way of making better cavers. This post will focus on the external aspects of a grotto and ways they can make your city, county, or region a better place to live, work, and play. Landowner Relations I am frequently contacted by landowners, land developers, and land managers who wish to better understand caves, sinkholes, or karst on their property. Curious landowners will seek out experts and that may lead them to you, your local grotto, or people that you know. By being a known person in the community, you yourself can be the resource that people seek out. This is a wonderful opportunity to introduce them to the caving community and put our best foot foward. Some strategies I use to help myself and the caving community with landowners, land developers, and land managers includes: Keeping accurate and up-to-date contact information for la

The Role of Grottos in the Caving Community

Grottos (caving clubs) are internal organizations of the National Speleological Society (NSS). When I first discovered caving, it was through the Upper Cumberland Grotto (UCG). Since then, I have been involved in caving and our community. I have seen the UCG's membership wax and wane a few times, and at low points I have at times struggled with what the role of a grotto is in the digital era. Below are my thoughts. Historically, a grotto was a place where cavers could meet other like-minded individuals. We are now well into the age of the Internet and few people have trouble identifying who other cavers are (it's easy, they are wearing a muddy helmet in all their social media avatars). The need to have aformalized group is not as important as it once was. This has created a crisis of identity for caving clubs across the United States. Aged leadership, full of institutional and historic knowledge, and perhaps not savy with social media is disconnected from the youth.