BATS are friendly helpers at Timp Cave

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BATS are friendly helpers at Timp Cave

Postby Wayne Harrison » Jul 15, 2006 8:40 am

Young volunteers help visitors, gain career experience

By Jared Page
Deseret Morning News

<img src="http://deseretnews.com/photos/3079139.jpg" align=left vspace=10 hspace=10> AMERICAN FORK CANYON — Visitors inside Timpanogos Cave didn't pay much attention to the two BATS quietly trailing their tour.
August Miller, Deseret Morning NewsAbbey Chandler of Draper, center left, Lisa Lindow of Highland and Camille Horrocks of Draper, right, are Behind-A-Tour Specialists, or BATS, who act as ranger assistants during tours through the caves at Timpanogos Cave National Monument in American Fork Canyon. Not until the cool temperature and sound of dripping water inside the caves left one young tourist in need of an emergency exit to the little boys' room.

That was a job for a BATS girl.

Lisa Lindow, 17, of Highland, is a Behind-A-Tour Specialist, a youth volunteer who acts as a ranger's assistant on tours of the three interconnected limestone caves at Timpanogos Cave National Monument.

Along with Camille Horrocks, 20, of Draper, Lindow followed the 15 to 20 tourists in the group on a recent Saturday afternoon to assist park ranger Royce Shelley.

On this particular tour, that meant escorting the young boy and his father out of the caves and to the outhouse positioned nearby for such emergencies.

Lindow's assistance allowed Shelley to continue to lead the tour, which the young boy and his father later rejoined.

"Just their presence is a big help," Shelley said of the BATS, "but it's much more than that."

The BATS are "invaluable" in helping to protect Timpanogos Cave National Monument's natural resources, said Mike Gosse, chief ranger.
The youth volunteers act as the eyes and ears for rangers who lead the tours, making sure visitors abide by park rules by staying on the trails and not touching the cave walls or formations.

"Every now and then, we have some damage done to the cave, either inadvertently or on purpose," Gosse said. "We've never had a case of cave vandalism when we've had a BATS on a tour."

The BATS benefit, too, Horrocks said.

"It's a good experience," she said. "It gives you a foot in the door if you want to be a ranger or work in the Forest Service."

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Wayne Harrison
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