In response to the threat of White-nose Syndrome (WNS) spreading to its
bat populations, Acting Superintendent Pat Kenney has issued a temporary
closure of all caves within the boundary of the Chickamauga and
Chattanooga National Military Park.
White-nose Syndrome (WNS) is an emerging disease that is causing
unprecedented mortality in several species of hibernating bats. WNS has
continued to spread, and has now been confirmed in fourteen states and
the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, Canada. Despite the proximity of a
large number of national parks to WNS-positive sites, Delaware Water Gap
NRA, Great Smoky Mountains NP, and Ozark Scenic Riverways are the only
national parks with bats that have tested positive for Geomyces
destrucans, the fungus that causes WNS. However the potential for this
apparently exotic disease to continue spreading and impact additional
parks and resources is considered very high.
In response to the threat of WNS and our responsibility to limit the
human-assisted spread of the disease, the park has initiated a temporary
closure of the cave system that is within the park boundary.
No permits will be issued to any groups or individuals that wish to
enter the caves as a recreational activity. Access to the caves will be
limited to individuals who hold appropriate research permits and who
have been appropriately screened by NPS personnel.
This closure is effective as of October 26, 2010 and will continue until
the park is able to evaluate the threat level of WNS.
For information about programs at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National
Military Park, contact the Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center at (706)
866-9241, the Lookout Mountain Battlefield Visitor Center at (423)
821-7786, or visit the park’s website at www.nps.gov/chch.