It is unusual for CD-Traveller to point out that an attraction is to close but that is what is happening to the Sequoyah caverns in the US state of Alabama.
For nearly 50 years members of the Jones family have shown visitors around the caverns which are to be found on land the family has farmed since 184. Over the years local and overseas visitors have visited these caverns to see what has been described as “looking-glass lakes.” These “lakes” reflect the thousands of intricate rock formations and natures magnificent underground creations. Along with the reflection pools, the caverns also feature towering stalagmites, waterfalls, and writings on the walls dating back to the early 1800s.
Since not that many of put Alabama on their US trips, I doubt whether many Britons or Irish have been to see the caverns and I have to admit that I haven’t either. It just seems rare that anything that has been lauded as being so spectacular; to have won awards as best tourist attraction and have historic connections going back to the early days of the country should close.
On their website it says that 12,000 visit the attraction each year; that’s only about thirty a day on average which seems a very small quantity and this may be why the Jones family has decided to shut up shop. They say that the increase of petrol prices has deterred visitors for coming to an area where there is nothing else other than the caverns to see. It seems that there isn’t enough in the area to justify a day trip. But you would have thought that educational institutions would be jumping over themselves to send school children to see these rare sites. Look how many visit Cheddar in Somerset each year.
And then to have wall writing in some of the caverns that dates back to the early 1800’s must be a bit unusual in the US.
Even if that was all Sequoia had to offer, that would seem attraction enough but the grounds where the caverns are situated also include the opportunity for fishing and hiking to Lookout Point Trail which gives a view of the valley below. Other activities include mining for multi-coloured gems in mountain water as it flows down a hand-made wooden trough .
From early September then, if you haven’t visited Sequoia, you won’t have that opportunity. Something the Jones family has tended for so long closes. The family doesn’t want to overly commercialise the land they also farm. It might re-open in the future if the younger generation of the family decide but, too often, when something closes, that’s it.