"There are few places in the Upper Cumberlands that are not special
to someone. There are even fewer places that are special to everyone.
Scott's Gulf is one of those places."

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Big Laurel Falls, frozen by the Winter of '93

Frequently Asked Questions

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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Q: There are a lot of cool pictures in the Virtual Tour. How can I visit all these great places?

Answer: Much of Scott's Gulf is still privately owned and closed to public access. Please show consideration for the landowners in the Gulf by obeying all No Trespassing signs and following "leave no trace" practices wherever you go.

Thanks to the foresight and generosity of Bowater, Inc., and Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc., the Virgin Falls Pocket Wilderness and the Centennial Wilderness, as well as the navigable portions of the river itself, are now all open to public access...with a few reasonable restrictions.

Virgin Falls is one of the older hiking areas in the Gulf, and will give you a great sample of the beauty and wildness of Scott's Gulf. You can find out some specifics about the trail and view a trail map at the Centennial Wilderness web site published by TWRA. Photos of some of the scenery in the VFPW are also available in the Virtual Tour on this web site.

The Centennial Wilderness shares property lines with the VFPW and can be accessed using basically the same driving directions. Thanks to the efforts of TWRA and the Friends of Scott's Gulf, who have done a great deal of volunteer trailblazing work, there are now over 30 miles of hiking trails in the Centennial Wilderness, with more on the way. Many trails have wilderness campsites at their end or enroute. You can find out the latest information on this growing trail system at the Centennial Wilderness web site.

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Q: Bridgestone/Firestone has donated most of their property to the State. Isn't the Gulf safe now?

Answer: Although Bridgestone/Firestone has donated most of its Gulf property to the State of Tennessee, there are still several large tracts in the Gulf owned by private landowners. Although these owners are good caretakers of the land, there is no knowing what will become of their properties, several which are in the heart of the Centennial Wilderness area, should they decide to sell their acreage. Furthermore, those who unwittingly cross the boundary between the Centennial Wilderness and these private tracts run the risk of being arrested for trespassing.

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Q: What's happened to money that was donated to the Trust for Scott's Gulf?

Answer: Funds donated to the Trust for Scott's Gulf will be used for land acquisition to supplement the property the state has already acquired. In fact, a large part of the money that was received betwen 1995 and 1998, has ALREADY been used for this purpose and was instrumental in acquiring the Jerry Clark property, a 194-acre tract in the bottom of Scott's Gulf. If your donation has not been used to finance that purchase, you can rest assured all donations, dues, etc., will be used to benefit the Gulf in some way, for example, to pay for educational publications, protect caves, or build trails.

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Q: Why does the Trust for Scott's Gulf still need money?

Answer: The Trust for Scott's Gulf has been partially depleted by the Jerry Clark property purchase. More importantly, money that was borrowed from the Tennessee Park's and Greenways Foundation's land bank will need to be repaid. Your donation will either help repay this IOU or be used to help with future purchases.

For more information, contact the officers of the Friends of Scott's Gulf.

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Q: Where can I send a donation?

Answer: Send your donation to the Trust for Scott's Gulf, care of Sparta/White County Chamber of Commerce, 16 West Bockman Way, Sparta, TN 38583. You can also request a Scott's Gulf pledge form from the Chamber by calling (931) 836-3552 or 1-800-869-0761.

If you are interested in becoming involved in this effort and would like to be kept updated on ongoing activities, consider spending your money on a membership in the Friends of Scott's Gulf instead. An annual membership in the FOSG can be had for as little as $5 per year. You'll find a .gif membership form at the following url: http://orgs.tntech.edu/grotto/Gulf/images/memform.gif

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Q: If I give money and the Friends of Scott's Gulf disband, can I get my money back?

Answer: Since the Trust for Scott's Gulf is established under a 501(c)3 account, this means that donations are tax deductible. It also means that in order to get your money back, you must be willing to file an amended tax return for the year in which the donation may have been claimed. Even then, the red tape involved may make it difficult to return it expeditiously. However, if you do need to withdraw your funds, the administrators of the Trust will do their best to accommodate you.

The charter of the Scott's Gulf Wilderness Foundation (the fiscal name for the Friends of Scott's Gulf) provides for funds to be turned over to the State of Tennessee Division of Parks if the organization dissolves. So, the money could still be used for park acquisition on other projects.

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Q: What's in it for me?

Answer: The acquisition of Scott's Gulf for public use is a project that is providing outdoor enthusiasts with the opportunity to pursue their favorite passtimes in a rugged, beautiful setting forever unmarred by modern development, a snapshot of how the Upper Cumberland area appeared three hundred years ago. The added dollars and jobs that may one day be generated by ecotourism in this area will provide a substantial boost to the economy of the surrounding counties. However, cast all these considerations aside and the Gulf is still a beautiful place that deserves preservation on its own merits. When Savage Gulf was purchased by the state in the early 70s, Scott's Gulf was promised to the citizens of Tennessee as a future acquisition. Working together, we've made a good start, but your voice and your support will serve as a constant reminder to our state officials of why the protection of Scott's Gulf needs to remain a priority.

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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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