White Nose Syndrome


What is white-nose syndrome?
Hibernating bats in the northeastern United States are dying in record numbers, and we do not know the cause of the deaths. This wildlife health crisis, white-nose syndrome, is named for the white fungus evident on the muzzles and wings of affected bats.


How is WNS transmitted?
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service believes that WNS is transmitted primarily from bat to bat. There is a strong possibility that it may also be transmitted by humans inadvertently carrying the causative agent from cave to cave on their clothing and gear.

What should cavers know and do?
The Service and the states request that cavers observe all cave closures and advisories and avoid caves, mines or passages containing hibernating bats to minimize disturbance to the bats. The Service asks that cavers and cave visitors stay out of all caves in the affected states and adjoining states to help slow the potential spread of WNS.

It is also advise that you decontaminate previously used gear immediately, store them away, and thoroughly wash and decontaminate any surfaces with which these items may have come into contact (e.g., car trunk, duffle bag, etc.). Currently, 10% bleach solution, Lysol® All-purpose Professional Cleaner, and the antibacterial form of Formula 409® have been demonstrated to be effective at killing Geomyces sp., the fungus associated with WNS, on nonporous surfaces.

For a complete list of decontamination procedures for cavers click here.


For more information, see http://www.fws.gov/northeast/white_nose.html.
Federal Relay Service for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
1 800/877 8339
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
1 800/344 WILD
www.fws.gov
WhiteNoseBats@fws.gov

(The above information is taken from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service White-nose syndrome in bats Frequently Asked Questions publication available here)
 

Bowl Cave

This cave is located in a small bowl directly behind an old mill. It is very small as we were only able to measured 11' of length. The only formations found inside were a couple of very small pieces of bacon on the ceiling.



The entry is pretty well hidden behind some trees, but it is not hard to find if you are looking for it.

This tiny piece of bacon is the only formation we found.

This is a picture of the old mill/smelter. The cave is located just behind it in the bowl.
 

Ireko Cave

Ireko Cave follows a limestone fissure straight back into the mountain and has a very strong breeze coming out of it. We measured 110' from the entrance to the squeeze that was too tight for me to comfortably try on my own. When I tossed a rock through the pinch point I could hear it roll for a good 6 seconds. With how much air movement there is in this cave I would expect it to continue on much further.


You can see an old PVC canister with aluminum lids on it laying on the floor in the photo above. The only reason I think that it could be there was that it was used to haul dirt out of the cave.

This cave has a lot of small stalagmites and soda staws.

This is the tightest squeeze in the cave. As you can see, it was not much bigger than my helmet. I was able to fit through it with some wiggling, but I don't think Shane would have made it. He waited for me on the other side of this squeeze.

Just past the tight squeeze there is an open fissure headed up into the ceiling. We did not get a chance to explore it on this trip however.

I was a little weary about squeezing through this one. It did not look much bigger than my boot, but once I got down in it I slipped through pretty easily.

A little past the third squeeze we found a off shoot. It was tight and made two 90 degree bends fairly close to each other, so I did not attempt it this trip either.

I stuck my camera around the corner of the turn off and you can clearly see it opens up to another passageway. We will have to go back up for another mapping trip.

These two small stalagmites remind me of the "salt and pepper shaker" in Timpanogos Cave.

At the end of this tunnel is where the tightest squeeze was encountered, and with no one there that could pull me out if I were to get stuck.... I decided not to push it. When I tossed a rock through it I was surprised to hear it bounce and fall for a good 6 seconds before coming to a rest. The airflow through this squeeze was very strong and cold, just as it had been through the entire cave. This is a great indicator that there is a lot more passage to explore.

Right before the last squeeze we found this old anchor bolted into the wall. I was very surprised to think that anyone else could fit through that hole if I couldn't.

Hiking up to the cave I discovered this small solution tube that day lighted at the top through a crack in the cliff. This was a very encouraging sign that Ireko may be close since we did not know of it's exact location.



We also found this interesting caterpillar. I believe it is a spotted tussock moth caterpillar.

And a Tarantula crossing the road.
 

GMZ Cave

GMZ is a 198' deep pit. It may have some possibilities of continuing at the bottom, but some digging in the snow pile at the bottom would be required to push this cave further.
Map courtesy of Brandon Kowallis. Copyright 2006.


Matt Broadhead dropping into the entrance.
Looking up at the snowpile at the bottom.
A little bit of flowstone decoration.
Looking up toward the entry from the bottom.
 

Pole Creek Cave

Pole Creek Cave is a large horizontal cave that is great for beginners to explore. It is only accessible in the fall since the Pole Creek river comes out of the entrance at high flow levels. The dry portion of the cave is roughly 900' long and ends at a pool of water that remains year round. The pool is diveable and is roughly 200' long and then continues 500' in another dry portion of the cave until another pool is encountered. Currently Underwater Dynamics is exploring the second pool in hopes of pushing it further. The end goal is to connect the entrance with the upper sink that is 1.5 miles away.
When I visited the cave in the spring (see image below) a heavy flow of water was coming from the entry. Warning! No attempt should be made to enter this cave when water is flowing out of the entry!

The Pole Creek Sink (see image below) located about 1.5 miles upstream from the cave entrance is where the river disappears into the cave system. With the high runoff this spring (2011) the sink filled up to where you could barely see the top of the right mine entrance.
The two large black holes in the photo are an attempt by Gale Rhoades to open an old Spanish mine he located in the sink. You can read more about the venture here.

Cameron Coles standing in front of the sink.
 

Garners Cave

Garners Cave is a good hour hike and a short climb up a cliff face to access. There is a rope in place there since this cave sees a good amount of traffic. Inside there is one main passage and two small side passages. Most of the cave is wet and has several tight crawls that would not be suitable for the large in stature, so please be careful in these areas. The cave has been trashed over the years and you will find a lot of graffiti, trash and broken formations inside. If you visit the cave, please pack out any trash you come across.
Looking up at the entry from below.














 

Interstate Caves

The Interstate Caves are comprised of Interstate Cave, Highway Cave, Roadside Cave and Left Cave with Interstate cave being the largest by far at approximately 1062 ft. in length and 200' deep. Roadside cave is the second longest at approximately 224 ft. long.


As you can see by the photos these caves are mostly tight passages. To enter Interstate Cave requires a permit as well as about 300' of rope as it requires a rappel to enter the cave and to descend to the lower passages. Entrance to this cave is highly discouraged as there are delicate gypsum formations in it's tight passages.
 

Glory Hole

Glory Hole has about a 40 foot entrance rappel and was supposedly a large cave system. There is no official map and there may never be now that the cave is being mined and there is no longer any access into the cave.




 

Cascade Cave

Cascade Cave is an interesting geological feature. The nearby Navajo Lake drains into sink holes and the water flows through Cascade Cave and empties out a waterfall at Cascade Falls. The water level in the cave changes based on conditions in the lake.




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