BLM Logo
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT NEWS RELEASE
Cody Field Office
 
Release Date: 11/05/10
Contacts: Sarah Beckwith    
  307-347-5207    

BLM and Grotto Group Partner to Protect Bats


The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Cody Field Office recently partnered with a group of caving enthusiasts to protect a colony of hibernating bats in a cave near Lovell, Wyo.

BLM Cave Specialist Bryan McKenzie discusses the project with BLM Archaeologist Seth Lambert and volunteer Dave Ulane.
BLM Cave Specialist Bryan McKenzie discusses the project with BLM Archaeologist Seth Lambert and volunteer Dave Ulane.

Brady Morris, Seth Lambert and Bart Adolf improve the entrance gate.

Brady Morris, Seth Lambert and Bart Adolf improve the entrance gate.
Bart Adolf of Part Time Grotto installs a new gate piece.
Bart Adolf of Part Time Grotto installs a new gate piece.
The group takes a break after a hard day’s work (from L to R): Brady Morris, Bryan McKenzie (kneeling), Dave Ulane, Bart Adolf (front) and Seth Lambert.
The group takes a break after a hard day’s work (from L to R): Brady Morris, Bryan McKenzie (kneeling), Dave Ulane, Bart Adolf (front) and Seth Lambert.
Spence Cave, used as a hibernation and summer roost site by Townsend’s big-eared, big brown and little brown bats, has been subject to habitat disturbances for many years. Bonfires during the 1980s and 1990s killed hibernating bats.

A 1999 cooperative project involving the BLM, Wyoming Game and Fish, Bat Conservation International, and regional and local caving group volunteers constructed a restrictive but bat-friendly entrance gate at Spence Cave to protect bat habitat and curb the vandalism of cave resources. The gate allows for seasonal recreational use.

BLM staff and volunteers from Part Time Grotto, a group of spelunking enthusiasts who frequent caves in the area, recently rebuilt and installed modifications to the entrance gate to allow for proper seasonal closures of the cave.

Any disturbance to hibernating bats has the potential to harm them. “If the bats are disturbed while they’re hibernating,” said BLM Cave Specialist Bryan McKenzie, “they expend energy that they wouldn’t normally have to expend during the winter. It weakens them.”

Bart Adolf, who assisted with the project, says that Part Time Grotto volunteers for such projects because of their love for the sport and the resource. “We want the caves to be clean and healthy so we teach cave ethics to others and help with cleanups,” Adolf said.

Part Time Grotto has partnered with the BLM on several projects over the years to help protect and further explore cave resources. Past projects have included cave cleanup, restoration, survey and mapping. “We are happy that Bryan is actively engaged in these activities and cares about the resource and we're always glad to lend a hand,” said Adolf. “We provide input on decisions that are made and feel like we are making a difference.”

Adolf has been caving for 50 years. His dad took him into Horsethief Cave with flashlights and a Coleman lantern in 1960 when he was seven years old. He was involved with a small spelunking group in high school and has been mapping and exploring caves ever since.

“Volunteers from local caving groups are vital to the management and protection of cave resources on public land,” said McKenzie. “They are a valuable partner because they are familiar with and know the local history of the caves in the area.”

The BLM reminds the public to not enter any caves unless all clothing and equipment has been de-contaminated to help prevent the spread of White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) to Wyoming. WNS is a recently discovered fungal disease that has killed more than one million bats across the northeast and mid-Atlantic U.S. during the past four years and continues unchecked. Hibernating bats are especially vulnerable because underground caves and mines provide the cool, moist conditions favorable for the fungus to thrive. Do not use any clothing or equipment in Wyoming caves or mines that have been previously used in states where WNS occurs.

For more information, please contact Bryan McKenzie at 307-578-5900. To learn more about WNS, visit http://ww.blm.gov/wy/st/en/programs/Wildlife/wns.html.



The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2013, the BLM generated $4.7 billion in receipts from public lands.
--BLM--

Cody Field Office   1002 Blackburn Street      Cody, WY 82414  

Last updated: 11-05-2010