BEDFORD — The Hoosier National Forest will reopen its caves this summer.
In 2009, the forest closed the caves in an effort to combat the spread of white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that threatens the bat population in the U.S. and Canada. According to a press release, biologists have determined that since the fungus has now spread throughout Indiana, neighboring states and beyond, a year-round closure of caves is not an effective means for protecting the forest’s bat population.
Caves will still be closed from Sept. 1 to April 30. However the public can enter and explore the caves from May 1 through Aug. 31. Anyone who enters the caves when they are closed may be fined $5,000 or face imprisonment of no more than six months.
Explorers are asked to remember proper cave etiquette and safety. The public is reminded to never go caving alone and to tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return. Dress in layers and wear sturdy shoes. Carry appropriate equipment including multiple light sources and a first aid kit. Also don’t forget to take food and water.