Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Maquoketa caves closed, park still open




If you want to visit a popular Quad Cities tourist attraction- you'll have to wait.

Some of the area's largest caves are closed because of a fungus that's killing wildlife.

We went there on Monday to check it out ourselves.

"It was very interesting," said Jane Carlson, who made the trip down to Maquoketa from Cedar Rapids, to enjoy a hike and see the caves she saw 30 years ago.

Only this time- she couldn't go inside.

"We saw the caves from the outside," she said.

It's the second year in a row the caves at Maquoketa's state park have been shut off to the public because of a fungal infection that is killing off bats- especially out east.

"We've read about the fungus in the east coast and I'm glad they're closing them and protecting the bats."

The fungus hasn't been confirmed in Iowa caves- yet.

But, it has appeared in a cave north of St. Louis.

The disease is called White Nose Syndrome.

It's only been around for about five years.

Because of the proximity of the cases in Missouri, wildlife experts here aren't taking any chances.

"It's just too new of a disease that we don't know much information on it," said Scott Dykstra, a state park ranger.

He says park rangers tried to come up with alternatives to shutting the caves down, like having guided tours.

"That requires a lot of staff and unfortunately with the budget, we don't have that staff it would take to run something like that efficiently," he said.

So, for now, park-goers will have to do without the caves.

"We're taking a preventative measure because we want to protect our ecosystem and protect our natural resources for future generations to enjoy."

Dykstra wants to remind everyone in the community, even though the caves are closed, the park itself, along with 6-miles of hiking trails and campgrounds, is open.

Source: Fox59

Related Posts by Categories



Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Maquoketa caves closed, park still open




If you want to visit a popular Quad Cities tourist attraction- you'll have to wait.

Some of the area's largest caves are closed because of a fungus that's killing wildlife.

We went there on Monday to check it out ourselves.

"It was very interesting," said Jane Carlson, who made the trip down to Maquoketa from Cedar Rapids, to enjoy a hike and see the caves she saw 30 years ago.

Only this time- she couldn't go inside.

"We saw the caves from the outside," she said.

It's the second year in a row the caves at Maquoketa's state park have been shut off to the public because of a fungal infection that is killing off bats- especially out east.

"We've read about the fungus in the east coast and I'm glad they're closing them and protecting the bats."

The fungus hasn't been confirmed in Iowa caves- yet.

But, it has appeared in a cave north of St. Louis.

The disease is called White Nose Syndrome.

It's only been around for about five years.

Because of the proximity of the cases in Missouri, wildlife experts here aren't taking any chances.

"It's just too new of a disease that we don't know much information on it," said Scott Dykstra, a state park ranger.

He says park rangers tried to come up with alternatives to shutting the caves down, like having guided tours.

"That requires a lot of staff and unfortunately with the budget, we don't have that staff it would take to run something like that efficiently," he said.

So, for now, park-goers will have to do without the caves.

"We're taking a preventative measure because we want to protect our ecosystem and protect our natural resources for future generations to enjoy."

Dykstra wants to remind everyone in the community, even though the caves are closed, the park itself, along with 6-miles of hiking trails and campgrounds, is open.

Source: Fox59