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MEEKER I On Tuesday, the Deputy Regional Forester, Tony Dixon, announced a temporary public restriction to all caves and abandoned mines on U.S. Forest Service lands within the five-state Rocky Mountain Region. This closure order will be in effect for one year and affects hundreds of caves and about 30,000 abandoned mines throughout the Rocky Mountain Region, including Spring Cave at South Fork.
During the year-long closure, the Forest Service and partners will conduct educational activities, and start baseline detection and monitoring of bats and White-Nose Syndrome. This is a legal closure of Forest Service caves and abandoned mines, but we are not going to rely heavily on law enforcement presence. We are asking for the public’s cooperation to honor this closure and help slow the spread of this deadly disease.
White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) is a devastating fungal disease killing bats without species discrimination. WNS is a newly discovered fungal disease that was first detected in New York in 2006. In just four years this disease spread across New England and Mid-Atlantic States and in its wake killed more than one million bats.