Iowa’s Maquoketa Caves Reopen to Visitors

April 23, 2012 / Iowa, United States, North America
Maquoketa Caves State Park

Photo by Phil Roeder/flickr

After being closed for two years, Iowa’s Maquoketa Caves State Park recently reopened its caves to visitors.

The caves, closed by officials in 2010 to try to protect bats from white-nose syndrome, were opened thanks to legislation put forward by Iowa Senator Tod Bowman.

A major attraction, the caves helped bring in more than 200,000 visitors to the park each year. Since their closure that number had dropped 80% to a mere 40,000 people each year.

In order to combat the concerns that visitors might inadvertently spread geomyces destructans, the fungus that causes WNS, from one cave to the next by their shoes or clothing, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has implemented a short educational program.

Before entering into our caves you have to go through an education awareness program we’re doing this to prevent the spread of this disease, to the best of our knowledge we do not have the fungus. So this program is to make people aware of the importance of our bats and inadvertently spreading this disease, Scott Dykstra, Ranger

Local businesses are anxiously awaiting the visitors returning to the area.

Maquoketa Caves reopen for first time since 2010 [kwwl.com]

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