Sauta Cave National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region
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Public Use Opportunities

New wildlife viewing platform. Credit: USFWS

New wildlife viewing platform. Credit: USFWS

Wildlife Observation and Photography: Public use of the refuge is light, but increasing. Sauta Cave itself is gated and not open to the public due to the potential for disturbance of federally endangered gray and Indiana bats. Other portions of the 264 acre Refuge are open to the public. Persons wishing to visit the cave may park outside the Refuge entrance gate and walk to the cave entrance. During the months of June, July, and August, one of nature's most spectacular events occurs every evening. At dusk, approximately 250,000 bats leave the cave to begin their nightly foraging. This event can last for up to an hour. Large numbers of visitors may go to the cave on summer weekends to observe the streaming emergence of the gray bats. To view the bat emergence, park at the Refuge entrance gate and walk approximately 100 yards to the cave entrance on your right. A new wildlife viewing platform has been constructed to aid in the viewing experience. The best viewing will be from either side of the cave entrance.

Biennial visits to the cave by members of the National Speleological Society (NSS) are via a Special Use Permit which allows one entry into each cave entrance per year during times when bats will not be disturbed. Entry into the lower cave is permitted between mid-July and mid-August and the upper cave between 1 and 31 October. Permits to enter the cave are also provided periodically for scientific research.

New wildlife viewing platform. Credit: USFWS

New wildlife viewing platform. Credit: USFWS

Hunting Opportunities: Upland game hunting is permitted on a very small portion of the refuge and is subject to the State of Alabama's Sauty Creek Wildlife Management Area Regulations.

Hours: Open daylight hours only (year-round). The cave entrance area is open until it gets too dark to see the emergence.

Entrance Fees: All Refuge facilities are free to the public.

Use Fees: All Refuge activities are free to the public.

 

Last updated: June 15, 2009