USFS Rocky Mountain Region Reopens Closed Caves
After being closed for the past three years, most caves of US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region are once again open to the public.
Effective today, a new adaptive management strategy replaces an emergency cave closure that has been in place throughout the region’s national forests and grasslands in Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota and Kansas since 2010 when Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome, was discovered in Oklahoma.
Although both WNS and P. destructans have yet to be confirmed in the Rocky Mountain Region, the adaptive management approach includes proactive measures to limit the likelihood of introducing the fungus to caves by humans and helps protect bat populations before the disease arrives.
These measures include mandatory advanced registration to access caves and compulsory decontamination at all caves, with no clothing and equipment used in states/provinces where white-nosed syndrome is found or suspected allowed at all. In addition, all known bat hibernacula are closed during the winter hibernation period.
For more information on the Adaptive Management Strategy, specifically how the new measures affect cavers, visit the region’s Information For Cavers page.
Adaptive Management Strategy for White-nose Syndrome [US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region]