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Carter Cave WNS Regulations

PostPosted: Dec 19, 2013 10:02 am
by ohiocaver
While announcing that caving is back at Carter Caves State Park in Kentucky, the park has posted what have to be the most ridiculous anti-WNS regulations seen in the past five years. :down:
Here’s what the Park wants:
• Participants are not to bring any clothing or gear that has been in another cave or mine outside of the Carter Caves Region since 2006.
• Participants going on multiple wild cave trips during the weekend must have complete different sets of clothing/gear for each wild cave trip.
• You cannot use the same gear on two different wild cave trips.
• Participants are to wear coveralls or an outer layer of clothing that can be stripped and bagged after leaving the cave. Bags provided.
• Participants will also bag any other soft gear like knee or elbow pads.
• Participants will have their shoes & hard gear (helmets, lights) decontaminated following the cave trips.
The Park expects all gear not to have been in any other cave outside of Carter since 2006!!! And for cavers to bring two or three different sets of helmets, lights, coveralls, etc.!!! The cynics amongst us might term that the "support vendor's row" rule. What possible reason is there for cavers to have new and different gear for each intended cave trip? Visit three caves and you have to have three separate sets of gear.
The Park’s environmental decisions about WNS seem based on knee-jerk decisions first made in 2007 when, in fairness, nobody knew much about WNS in this country. I realize it is safer to say “no” than to say “yes” for any bureaucracy. Yet, part of the mission of the Parks is to educate. It seems the Kentucky Parks have gotten way off base with WNS requirements that are based on supposition, not science. The Carter Caves January event used to be a great weekend of caving. Where is the science that shows that any caver, anywhere, has been responsible for spreading the fungus and that it is not spread bat-to-bat? :sad:

Re: Carter Cave WNS Regulations

PostPosted: Dec 19, 2013 3:11 pm
by ohiocaver
From Coy Ainsley at Carter Caves via PM - with his permission:
I understand your feelings and thoughts about WNS, but as a State Park we need to do anything we can to help conserve and preserve our Natural Resources. Things will continue to change as we see new research developing and mainly more time to firm up some of our answers we have about WNS. Until then we will continue to work with both KDFW and USFW services to attempt in the best way to help protect a very important part of our environment, Bats!. -Coy :bat sticker:

Re: Carter Cave WNS Regulations

PostPosted: Dec 27, 2013 2:03 pm
by Teresa
1) Who does the inspection at Carter Caves to ensure the change? What if a caver bought 4 identical sets of gear to come to your site? How do you tell the difference?

2) Why do you not respect the known efficacy of the USFWS decontamination protocols? They require decontam of gear between caves in different regions, and recommend entering one cave per day but do not require separate sets of gear for one location.

3) Your requirements might be seen as a financial hardship,and in conflict with the mission of the state parks to serve those of all economic backgrounds; in effect saying people rich enough to buy unlimited sets of gear are welcome, but those who can afford only one are excluded. This may put you in conflict with other parts of your mission.

Re: Carter Cave WNS Regulations

PostPosted: Dec 28, 2013 11:41 am
by Crockett
The park summary web page does not match up with their agreement. The agreement allows gear from outside the Carter Cave region if it has been decontaminated.

Basically (by the agreement) you must bring only gear that has been decontaminated by USFW protocols AND you must bag then decon your gear after each trip.

The unusual part is the requirement to have a different set of gear for multiple trips in the same weekend. This requirement seems to come from a simple lack of trust that trip participants will decontaminate their gear between cave trips. It may also be based on a lack of time between trips or possibly a concern that decontamination facilities on site would be overwhelmed...but I don't see any indication that Carter Caves will provide any facilities to decontaminate cave gear.

If you read the agreement, rather than the web page, the requirement is to start your trip with decontaminated gear from anywhere and then decontaminate after each trip.

If you read the decontamination protocols all you really need is hot water, labor, and time. A brush comes in handy.

Without an explain action I will remain confused about the requirement for multiple sets of gear.

Re: Carter Cave WNS Regulations

PostPosted: Dec 28, 2013 1:42 pm
by Crockett
I left out Woolite and Lysol Wipes on the basic needs list. A tub comes in handy too but there are alternatives. A thermometer to insure that your hot water is hot enough is good for confirmation. When in doubt leave it in longer. Overall decontamination based on the USFW protocol is not all that complicated or difficult.

The multiple sets of gear in the same weekend requirement is something somebody made up without enough thought. It takes a little more than 10 minutes to decon a helmet, lights, foot ware, and other non submersibles. Why not allow those to go back into the Carter Caves on the same weekend? (I suppose that's a rhetorical question.)

Re: Carter Cave WNS Regulations

PostPosted: Jan 9, 2014 3:32 pm
by PYoungbaer
It's really good to see Carter Caves moving in the direction of re-opening caves for wild caving, while continuing to balance the WNS survival needs of the bats. That said, I totally agree that the multiple sets of gear requirement was not thought through. It is unnecessary,and does nothing to further prevention. It is costly to comply with, with no added benefit.

Indeed, in other areas of the country federal agencies have adjusted the protocols to permit multiple cave visits the same day in the same area. That area is differently defined, depending on circumstances, but two examples I am aware of include a watershed area and a ten-mile radius. Being a little familiar with Carter Caves and the environs, it does not make sense to me to need to decon between such closely located caves - once at the end of the day should suffice.

My two cents.

Peter Youngbaer
former NSS WNS Liaison