Threat of WNS Closes Caves at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

 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.

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