"Leave Nothing but Footprints, Take Nothing but Pictures, Kill Nothing but Time."

About the Upper Cumberland Grotto of the NSS

Tennessee Technological University
Cookeville, Tennessee

The Upper Cumberland Grotto is an organization for people interested in caves and caving. We are affiliated with the National Speleological Society and we encourage our members to join the NSS; however NSS membership is not required, unless one wants to become an officer. The Upper Cumberland Grotto provides opportunities to meet fellow cavers and to explore caves in the Upper Cumberland area, but its primary mission is to educate its members, teaching them to cave in a safe, responsible and environmentally conscientious manner.

NOTE: We understand that new cavers may not want to invest in costly equipment at first. That is why we provide equipment for those who want to participate in grotto trips but lack the proper equipment. However, if you continue to cave, you are expected to purchase your own equipment as time and money allows. For tips on how to find low-cost, but perfectly adequate equipment in the Cookeville area, please review the article on Basic Equipment and Gear.


The Grotto meets the first Wednesday of each month. The location varies, so contact a grotto officer for the location of the next meeting. Annual dues are $10. The Grotto keeps a small amount of caving equipment of its own, which is available for beginners to use on grotto trips or for borrowing by grotto members. However, if you intend to spend much time underground, we strongly *encourage* you to invest in your own gear. Grotto members will be happy to advise you on the best places to purchase gear and what you really need.

Caving trips are scheduled periodically according to demand; however, the Grotto also schedules camp-outs (usually twice a year), ridgewalks (annually), rescue/medical training workshops and vertical practices (whenever there's demand). In addition, the Grotto's members are usually involved in a variety of ongoing, personal projects.

One final word about meetings.... People new to our meetings may at first feel a little bit overwhelmed. Although we *do* try to present programs at the meetings which will help educate new cavers, we feel that the best way to learn about caving is to *go* caving. No amount of discussion about conditions underground will prepare you for the actual experience. So, if you think you might enjoy caving, go on one of the Grotto's trips. You might just get hooked!!


... on grotto activities, meetings and events, contact a grotto officer.


The Grotto *actively* supports positive landowner relations and cave conservation. Cave vandalism and the removal of fauna or speleothems from caves (stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone, draperies, gypsum, etc.) will be reported whenever possible to local authorities for prosecution under the Cave Protection Law. If convicted, offenders could pay fines of up to $1,000 (per offense) and serve as much as one year of jail time.

Remember the motto of the NSS, it is our creed:

Leave nothing but footprints...
Take nothing but pictures...
Kill nothing but time.


Dr. Hugh Mills
TTU Earth Sciences Department
Campus Box 5062
Cookeville, TN 38505
PHONE: (931) 372-3521
E-MAIL: HMills@tntech.edu

April Hannah (Maintainer of this Web site)
300 Madison Boulevard, Madison, TN 37115
PHONE: (615) 612-2143
E-MAIL: april_h_o@yahoo.com

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Find out more About the UCG.

Leave this alcove and go back to the Entrance.

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We welcome your comments or bug reports
via email to your friendly, neighborhood speleoweb hostess,
April Hannah, NSS #35012.

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(C) Copyright 2005, April Hannah for the Upper Cumberland Grotto of the NSS. All Rights Reserved. Photos available on this web site are the property of individual members of the Upper Cumberland Grotto. Failure to request permission before saving these images to disk for your own use is a violation of the U.S. Copyright Law.