The History Raccoon Mt. Caverns/Ruby Falls, was founded in 1929 by a man named Leo Lambert, a local farmer, then later opened to the public in the summer of June 28, 1931. They were then named “Tennessee Caverns and Ruby Falls” They became a big tourist attraction, thus beginning the tours throughout the cave and/or the falls which became known as the “Lambert Tours” named after the man who discovered the caverns and falls. Some 20 years after the openings, the Smith Brothers were managing them. On one of their tours, they discovered a small hole just off the Crystal Palace Room (The biggest “room” in the cave.) It was said that it was so tight that they had to exhale to squeeze through the tiny opening. About 20 ft. down, they discovered an even bigger room and thus extending the tour and calling it the “Crystal Palace Tour.” Today they have mapped about 5 ½ miles of the cavern and Ruby Falls. With new discoveries made every day. Over the years, the name of the cave has changed to “Raccoon Mt.” A.K.A “Rocky Mt. Caverns.” They are still a big tourist attractions today.
Environmental Issues/Technology The park has been working very hard to maintain the habit of keeping the spread of WNS (You will learn more in the paragraph below) and has been working long gruesome hours to clean areas that have been contaminated by man and it’s technology that they need and use to operate the cave tours, park management, etc… I.E: It’s light sources and safety. White Nose Syndrome News Update: White Nose Syndrome (WNS) is a fungus that covers the faces and wings of bats as they hibernate and has been observed as far south as the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee and as far west as Oklahoma. While no afflicted bats have been found in the Chattanooga area, Raccoon Mountain Caverns is working hard to prevent the spread of WNS. Fortunately, it has not been observed within our pristine cave system. Since December, we have been donating a portion of the proceeds of our souvenir Penny Press machine to Bat Conservation International to help fund needed research to stop the spread of WNS. Raccoon Mountain Caverns is committed to protecting our beautiful cave, its delicate eco-system, and the life within the cave. (updated May 18, 2011) (Copied from http://www.raccoonmountain.com/html/cave.html)http://www.raccoonmountain.com/html/cave.html
Ruby Falls Formation The Ruby Falls Cave is located deep in the heart of Lookout Mountain. It is a limestone cave (sometimes called a Solution Cave). The process that forms a limestone cave can be broken down into a few steps: Carbon dioxide in the air is absorbed by rain water falling through it. The rain water also absorbs carbon dioxide that is in the soil after it hits the ground. Water breaks carbon dioxide down into a very weak acid called carbonic acid. The weak acid comes into contact with limestone rock when subterranean streams find their way through the cracks in the limestone rock that have been produced by tectonic forces. The acid solutes (or eats away) the limestone (which is made of calcium carbonate or calcite) causing the cracks to become larger and caves and passages to form. This process is called chemical weathering. At one time, the water table was much higher and the Ruby Falls Cave was at the top of it. Rushing water flowed through it for many years washing out the cave and enlarging the faults and cracks. The water table has since lowered and that explains the lack of water in the cave. Copied from www.rubyfalls.com
Formations The rock formations in the cave Columns Sprouting Stalagmitees Soda Straws
Attractions Around the Area -Spelunking (exploring the cave on a tour) -Tours (for both the cave and the falls) -Rock City Tours - Amusement Parks -River Rafting Attractions
Seasonal Attractions and Events Spring: - Rock City’s Shamrock City - Conference on Southern Literature (Live) - 4 Bridges Art Festival - Chattanooga Market (Sundays May-December) - Nightfall Concert Series - Traditional Jazz Festival Summer: - Riverbend 9-day Festival - 3 State/3 Mountain Challenge - Rock City’s Southern Blooms Festival - Pops on the River - Lake Winnepesaukah’s Jukebox Junction - Southern Brewers Festival - Bessie Smith Heritage Festival Fall: - Tennessee Aquarium’s Thrills, Gills & Chills - Rock City’s Enchanted MAiZE Maze & Forrest of Fear - Rock City’s “Rocktoberfest” - Ruby Falls Haunted Cavern - Wine over Water - Boo! In the Zoo -Tennessee Valley Railroad’s Eerie Express - Culture Fest - Three Sisters Bluegrass Festival - RiverRocks 10-day Outdoor Festival - Head of the Hooch Rowing Regatta Winter/Holidays: - Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights - Ruby Falls “Deck the Falls” & “Ruby Red Christmas” - Tennessee Aquarium’s Tropical Holiday Adventure - Tennessee Valley Railroad’s North Pole Limited Adventures - Mainx24 Festival (24-Hour Festival) - Southern Belle Riverboat’s Christmas Carol Dinner Cruises
Fun Facts about Ruby Falls -Ruby Falls, has two activities in the winter that include both parts of its name, “Deck the Falls” & “Ruby Red Christmas” -It was found the same year as the cave and by the same man, too! -The Falls has had 15 people manage the area since the falls opened! -There was only ONE time when both the cave and the falls were being managed together! -If you are on a tour the same time as a spelunking tour, you can hear the people on the tour inside the cave, even though the cave walls are 10.83 inches thick! -Ruby Falls has the largest underground waterfall in the U.S!
Fun Facts about Raccoon Mtn. Caverns It was named after a HUGE raccoon infestation! It is a whopping 5.13 mi. long! The attraction that they are best known for is their spelunking tours! To learn more about spelunking go to: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_spelunking
Links to Websites about Ruby Falls and Raccoon Mountain Caverns www.wildcave.com www.raccoonmountain.com www.outdoorchattanooga.com/120.htm www.rubyfalls.com
Bibliography Trumpmans, Dianna E. Raccoon Mountain. Cathy Simone, 13 Sept. 2001. Web. 25 Apr. 2005.. National Caves Association. Cave Directory. Park City, KY: National Caves Association, 2008. Print Kall, Debby G. "Caverns of the U.S." National Caverns. National Caves Publishing, 14 Dec. 2004. Web. 12 Aug. 2009.. Fraskins, Carl R. "Chattanooga Tennessee." Official Visitors Guide to Chattanooga. Chattanooga Fun Publishing Company, 9 Feb. 1993. Web. 31 May 2005.. Finilio, Carol D. "Raccoon Mountain Caverns." Raccoon Mt. Caverns. Becky Catherib, 29 Oct. 1995. Web. 19 July 2003.. Chattanooga Convention & Visitors Bureau. Official Visitors Guide to Chattanooga. Chattanooga: Chattanooga Convention & Visitors Bureau, 2011. Print Baskal, Ryan W. "Wild Cave Tours Across The U.S." Wild Caves! Wild Cave Publishing, 11 Mar. 1996. Web. 17 Nov. 2001.. AAA, comp. "Kentucky Tennessee." Map. AAA. South Fork, TN: AAA, 2012. Print. State Ser AAA. AAA. 2012 ed. Heathrow, FL: AAA, 2012. Print
If you go on a cave tour this is what’ll happen: Before:After: