BLM gives cavers access to caves | AspenTimes.com

BLM gives cavers access to caves

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The Bureau of Land Management has approved a special use permit that will give cavers access to caves around the Roaring Fork Valley during a convention in Glenwood Springs next month.

The National Speleological Society was given permission to lead tours at three BLM-managed caves in Garfield and Eagle counties. There can be 10 to 12 visits per cave with no more than five people per visit. Each tour must have an approved leader. Cave visitors must decontaminate their gear to reduce the risk of spreading White-nose Syndrome fungus, which is deadly to bats.

The approved caves have “either no use or very limited use by bats,” according to a statement by the BLM. White-nose Syndrome has killed an estimated 1 million bats in the eastern half of North America. It hasn’t been detected yet in Colorado.

The U.S. Forest Service placed a temporary ban on entering all caves in the Rocky Mountain Region last July to prevent the possible spread of the fungus. The White River National Forest lifted the ban for the National Speleological Society, with strict rules on access and decontamination.

The National Speleological Society will meet July 16-24.

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