Caving is a popular sport in Alabama and the ABWG wants to work closely with the caving community to help slow the spread of WNS. Most cave explorers are aware of White Nose Syndrome, cave closures, and decontamination procedures to help prevent the spread of WNS, but this page provides links to information about these topics and provides some information specific to Alabama.
Human transport of the WNS fungus to new areas has not been proven, but it may be a possible mechanism for transport. As a result, the FWS developed a disinfection protocol to treat cave gear and kill WNS spores. The FWS recommends decontaminating cave gear before every trip. Also please do not use any cave gear used in a WNS state in Alabama.
Using clean cave gear is important not only to help prevent the spread of WNS, but also to help protect the fragile cave ecosystems in every cave. Many caves are home to a wide variety of animals and microscopic organisms that may be adversely affected by taking dirty clothes and gear into caves. In this new era of WNS, we encourage cavers to start using “clean caving” practices to help protect all life inside caves.
We ask that people caving in Alabama observe the cave closures noted on the TAG Closed Cave list. We also encourage cave explorers to join a local NSS Grotto in Alabama to learn about safe caving and cave conservation. There are many clubs across the state.
The following sections provide additional information about decon, cave closures, clean caving, and other items of interest to cavers. Let us know if you would like more information about any of these topics!
- Gear Decontamination: links to the FWS gear decon procedures, plus recipes to mix each product. Also check out the YouTube channel with links to videos about how to decon gear.
- Alabama Cave Closures: Links to cave closures in the state
- Karst Ecosystems: Some interesting links about cave and karst ecosystems.
- Clean Caving: Why clean your cave gear? It’s more than just protecting bats from WNS!
- Caver Partnership Projects: The ABWG is working with cavers throughout the state to monitor caves for WNS.