U.S. Forest Service Region 2 Requests Comments on Future WNS Policy

Close Up of Little Brown Bat with WNS.

Close Up of Little Brown Bat with WNS. Photo courtesy Ryan von Linden/New York Department of Environmental Conservation

The Rocky Mountain Region of the U.S. Forest Service are looking for public feedback to assist in the development of management options for the human introduction, spread, and impact of white-nose syndrome.

As an attempt to slow the spread of white-nose syndrome, a closure of all public cave and abandoned mines was ordered in the region in July 2010.

The measure was recently renewed again in August 2012 with slight modifications. The changes included permission for active members of the National Speleological Society (NSS) and Cave Research Foundation (CRF) to access caves for “activities consistent with national agreements, in addition to other activities on a case-by-case basis.”

Now, in an attempt to develop a more finalized plan to protects the bats as well as allow access to cavers, the Forest Service has begun an environmental analysis of the situation.

The new plan would create rules to govern the more than 200 caves and abandoned mines in the five states – Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, most of South Dakota and most of Wyoming – that encompass the region.

Comments, accepted until December 14th, 2012, can be sent by email to [email protected]; by post to Trey Schillie, USDA Forest Service, 740 Simms St., Golden, CO 80401; by fax to 303-275-5134; by calling 303-275-5067; or in person at the previous address.

National Forests Begin Environmental Analysis for White-Nose Syndrome [U.S. Forest Service]

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