Northern Region Cavers Comment on Coming Closures

Cavers and the general public have two weeks to comment on the new measures being put forward by the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Region. The measures include restricting or closing caves and abandoned mines in Montana, northern Idaho and North Dakota and north western South Dakota.

U.S. Forest Service Northern Region Map

Local cavers from the Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto are not interested in seeing a ban similar to the ones put in place in much of the eastern U.S. met with Northern Region on Thursday to discuss the issue. “We realize with White Nose Syndrome there is a need, and we identified several caves that had bats in them we thought should be closed,” said Mike McEachern, president of the grotto.

Members of the group suggested a policy similar to what’s in place in Arizona and New Mexico, where caves with significant bat populations would be closed while others would be open to those who followed decontamination procedures.

The decision, which was previously expected May 1, has been extended due to a slow melt this spring.

Comments should be forwarded to the U.S. Forest Service by emailing [email protected].

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Proposed northern Rocky Mountain cave restrictions open for public comment[Missoulian]

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