The Northeastern Cave Conservancy (NCC) announced today it is closing four of its caves for the winter, effective today, October 1, to protect hibernating bats in response to the continuing effects of the disease White Nose Syndrome.
The affected caves are Knox Cave, Dragon Bones Cave, Bensons Cave, and Merlin's Cave, all in New York State. Access to all the caves will return to their summer status after May 15th, 2015.
The other caves owned and managed by the NCC will remain open for visitation under regular visitation policies.
Action by the NCC parallels that of the National Speleological Society, which is also closing its three New York cave preserves October 1 – Schoharie Caverns, Gage Cave (Barton Hill Preserve), and McFail’s Cave.
The NCC advises all cavers to clean and decontaminate their gear and clothing according to the protocols found on the US Fish and Wildlife web site. In addition, any gear and clothing used here should not be taken out of the region, in an effort to contain the disease.
The Northeastern Cave Conservancy is committed to the conservation, study, management, and acquisition of caves and karst areas having significant geological, hydrological, biological, recreational, historical, or aesthetic features. The NCC owns and manages 8 Cave Preserves containing 15 known caves in the Northeast.