MAQUOKETA CAVES: Hundreds Attend Opening

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The weather warmed up Saturday just in time for people to get outside. Hundreds of people flocked to Maquoketa Caves State Park for the park’s season opener.

The park was closed for two years starting in 2010 but reopened last year.

It had closed due to a fatal fungus for bats called white nose syndrome. Now that the caves are back open, the Iowa DNR is doing all they can to prevent the disease from spreading to the caves.

If they bats caught the white nose syndrome,  they likely would have died during the fall or winter months.

“Throughout the whole hibernation period, what happens is the bat will end up probably starving to death or flying out of their hibernaculum and go out into the elements and possibly freeze to death,” explained Scott Dykstra.

The DNR is trying to prevent the spread by asking visitors to spray all clothing, shoes, and gear with anti-fungal or disinfectant spray before and after visiting the caves.