National Wildlife Refuge
|2700 Refuge Headquarters Road
Decatur, AL 35603
Phone Number: 256-353-7243
|Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
|Up to 300,000 gray bats roost in Sauta Cave and one can view their spectacular evening emergence during the summer months.|
Sauta Cave National Wildlife Refuge
Sauta Cave NWR (known as Blowing Wind Cave NWR until 1999) is a 264 acre Refuge purchased in 1978 to provide 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
As is the case with many large caves, rare and unique species occur in Sauta Cave. As a result, the Alabama Natural Heritage Program ranks the cave's biodiversity as a site of very high significance. Surprisingly, the cave is not a pristine one as it was used as a saltpeter mine during the Civil War, a nightclub during the 1920's, and a fallout shelter during the 1960's.
In addition to the rare fauna within the cave, the federally endangered Price's potato bean occurs on the Refuge. All 264 acres of habitat outside of the cave is predominately hardwood forest.
Getting There . . .
Sauta Cave NWR is located just above the Sauty Creek embayment of TVA's Guntersville Reservoir, seven miles west of Scottsboro, Alabama, just off highway 72.
Get Google map and directions to this refuge/WMD from a specified address:
Sauta Cave itself is gated and not open to the public due to the potential for disturbance of federally endangered gray and Indiana bats.
Sauta Cave NWR is a satellite Refuge of Wheeler NWR in nearby Decatur, AL. Sauta Cave NWR is currently unstaffed and all management activities are carried out by Wheeler NWR staff. The predominant management activities are law enforcement and resource protection aimed at protecting the critical habitat of the bats. Gates are erected and maintained, and law enforcement patrols are conducted to ensure that people are abiding by Refuge regulations, particularly rules prohibiting entrance into the cave itself.