Forest Service closes caves to protect bats | AspenTimes.com

Forest Service closes caves to protect bats

Bob Moen
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Thousands of caves and abandoned mines on federal land in Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and South Dakota will be off limits to explorers for the next year.

The U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain region announced Tuesday that it is barring entry to caves to help prevent humans from inadvertently spreading a disease that’s fatal to bats.

White-nose syndrome has killed nearly a million bats in the eastern and southern United States and is spreading west.

The Rocky Mountain region consists of 22 million acres of forest and grassland in the five states.

Wonderland Cave at Sturgis, S.D., is the only concessionaire cave affected by the order. However, it will be allowed to remain open because it limits public access.

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