Talk:Sauta Cave National Wildlife Refuge

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Archived information[edit]

This information was removed during a renovation of this page on 03:54, 21 March 2006 (UTC).

Sauta Cave National Wildlife Refuge (known as Blowing Wind Cave NWR until 1999) is a 264 acre (1.1 km²) National Wildlife Refuge purchased in 1978 located about 7 miles (10 km) downriver from Guntersville, Alabama. Managed as a National Wildlife Refuge, with no public use lands.

It provides protection for the federally endangered gray and Indiana bat and their critical habitat. The cave provides a summer roosting site for about 200,000 - 300,000 gray bats and a winter hibernaculum for both the gray and Indiana bats. There are two entrances into the cave on the Refuge but they are closed to the public.

The must-see event of the year at the Refuge is the bat exodus. Typical summer evenings at dusk, over 200,000 gray bats fly from the cave in the largest annual emergence in the eastern United States.

In the past, the cave was used extensively. Saltpeter mining continued on and off from the War of 1812 through the Civil War to World War I. A building near the cave was also used as a fishing store and nightclub from 1919 to 1956. The cave was prepared as a fallout shelter by a local National Guard unit in 1962.

Saltpeter Mining at Sauta Cave[edit]

The main article on Sauta Cave National Wildlife Reguge states that saltpeter was mined from Sauta Cave during World War One.

I do not think that this is correct. I have never seen any documentation anywhere to suggest that cave saltpeter was ever commerically mined after the Civil War. I have done extensive research on saltpeter mining in Tennessee and can state that there was never any commercial saltpeter mined in Tennessee after the Civil War. I am reasonably sure that this holds for Alabama, as well.

There was a very large saltpeter mine in Sauta Cave during the Civil War, and this is well-documented.

Larry E. Matthews

Saltpeter Mining in World War I[edit]

It was brought to my attention that someone has re-Edited this page to state that saltpeter was mined in Sauta Cave during World War I.

If you will read my previous discussion on this, I am convinced that no cave in the United States was ever mined commercially for saltpeter after the Civil War.

I would challenge whoever is making this statement to provide some documentation to support this claim.

Larry E. Matthws Professional Geologist —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 15:10, 10 December 2006 (UTC).

My understanding is that the test pits in the cave were dug during the Spanish-American War. There was a concern about the Spanish erecting a naval blockade which would limit supplies of gunpowder to the US. As a precaution, well-known salt peter mines were evaluated in the event they were needed to be put back into production. There are many test pits in the cave, some a good 20 feet deep. This pits go into the level of the "Catacombs" that made up the mining operations during the Civil War.

With "smokeless powder" becoming available in the 1880's, there would be little need of black powder at the time of WWI.

Sitoym 20:42, 13 February 2007 (UTC)ronny miller

Rating from WikiProject Alabama[edit]

Rated as a Start class, the addition of references may bring it up to B class. Altairisfartalk 05:55, 19 December 2007 (UTC)