USFS Wants To Add Bat Protection Grates To Cave Near Glenwood Spgs

The U.S. Forest Service wants to add grates to the entrance of Hubbard Cave near Glenwood Springs.

They say the measure is needed to protect bats from White Nose Syndrome.

White Nose Syndrome is a fungal infection specific to bats that has killed 6 million of the flying mammals across 29 states since 2006.

The disease has been recently detected in Oklahoma and as far west as Washington state. The Hubbard Cave has been closed since 2010.

"It’s got a sensitive species -- big-eared bats," said Natasha Goedert, a biologist with the ranger district. "And it’s a very important Hibernaculum. That’s what we call it when they use those caves for the winter."

Adding grates to the cave entrance would ensure that people stay out but bats could still come and go.

“It’s a possibility that White Nose Syndrome fungus can get on caving gear, boots, ropes -- that sort of thing," said Goedert. "That’s one of the reasons we require decontamination at all of our caves.”

The Aspen-Sopris Ranger District is asking for public comment on adding grates by Sept. 12.