NCC again closes three caves for WNS

The Northeastern Cave Conservancy (NCC) announced today it is again closing three of its caves for the winter, effective October 1, 2009, to protect hibernating bats in response to the continuing White Nose Syndrome cris is. The affected caves are Knox Cave, Crossbones Cave, and Ella Armstrong Cave, all in New York State. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the caves will re-open in the spring. The other caves owned and managed by the NCC will remain open for visitation under regular visitation policies. Details about all NCC caves and visitation may be found on the NCC web site. The full text of this press release can be found here.

NSS Closes Two Cave Preserves
due to White Nose Syndrome

Christa Hay, manager of the Schoharie Caverns Nature Preserve, and Thom Engel, manager of the Barton Hill Nature Preserve (including Gage’s Cave) have closed these two New York caves, effective October 1, 2008.  These two caves have historically remained open throughout the year, but were forced to close last year to do the onset of WNS.  They are scheduled to re-open May 15, 2009

Both of these caves were initial “ground zero” White Nose Syndrome sites, and have seen their bat populations decimated.  Al Hicks, biologist for the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, concurs with these closures, as the caves have good historical data, and can provide a continuous comparison of the evolution of the White Nose Syndrome.

McFail’s Preserve, also in New York, closes anyway on October 15, 2008 to protect hibernating bats, according to its long-standing management plan.  No changes are anticipated.

Tytoona Preserve, in Pennsylvania, will remain open, unlike last year.  Preserve Manager, Garrett Czmor, reports there are no bats in the cave.  Pennsylvania Game Commission personnel have made no requests to close the cave this year.

At the John Guilday Preserve in West Virginia, manager Dave West reports that the newly-gated Trout Cave closed on Labor Day for the season to protect the growing population of Indiana bats.  Unlike last year, New Trout and Hamilton caves remain open for visitation.

NCC closes three caves for WNS

The NCC has closed Knox, Crossbones, and Ella Armstrong Caves, all in immediate proximity of each other, due to White Nose Syndrome, again effective October 1, 2008.  Knox is another of the original WNS sites, and saw much of its bat population destroyed.  See the NCC Press Release.


NSS John Guilday Cave Preserve
Closed Until Further Notice

January 24, 2009

Two bats have been observed in Hamilton Cave in Pendleton County, WV that display a fungal presence on their nose area and wings. The bats are not located near the entrance, and in fact are relatively deep into the cave. This has not been confirmed as White Nose Syndrome, but photographs provided show a strong resemblance. Until proven otherwise we will proceed as though it is. We sincerely hope it is not.

In a compilation of trip reports from cavers that had visited affected caves in New York assembled by the Northeast Cave Conservancy, Hamilton Cave was among the caves subsequently visited by one of the groups reporting.

If you have visited Hamilton or New Trout Caves, both of which are located on the NSS owned John Guilday Caves Nature Preserve, please ensure you thoroughly disinfect your caving gear before caving elsewhere. Please refrain from visiting either cave until more information can be obtained in the coming weeks.

The Preserve will need to be closed until further notice. We apologize for any inconvenience, and beg your understanding of the situation.

If you can forward this to a list serve not included above, please do so.

Thank you,

Dave West, Manager
John Guilday Caves Nature Preserve