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State Parks Open Some Caves After White Nose Syndrome

The state is providing limited cave access as part of a pilot program. The caves were originally closed because of a bat disease called white nose syndrome.

Lower Bronson Cave - Spring Mill State Park, Indiana

Photo: Dan Davis (Flickr)

The Lower Bronson Cave at the Spring Mill State Park.

The Indiana state parks are offering free admission this weekend and access to some caves that have been closed for five years.

The state shut down all of its caves in 2009 because of the threat of white nose syndrome, a deadly fungal disease that can devastate bat populations.

Ginger Murphy, the Assistant Director for Stewardship for Indiana State Parks, says the state is providing limited cave access as part of a pilot project.

“We don’t want to spread white nose syndrome, which is the reason all of our caves have been closed, but we feel like it’s important to provide some cave access with appropriate decontamination procedures,” Murphy says.

The changes affect caves at Spring Mill State Park and McCormick’s Creek State Park. Wolf cave at McCormick’s Creek will be open for everyone and the Donaldson Cave at Spring Mill will be open.

Access to other caves in those parks  is restricted to registered groups who have completed an online training on White Nose decontamination.

There are special activities at every state park this weekend  as part of Welcome Back Weekend. Admission is free to the public on Sunday, and on Saturday it is free to military members.

Sara Wittmeyer

Sara Wittmeyer is the News Bureau Chief for WFIU and WTIU. Sara has more than a decade of experience as a news reporter and previously served with KBIA at the University of Missouri, WNKU at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, KY, and at WCPO News in Cincinnati.

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