Bat Hibernating Sites Off-Limits In Forbes State Forest

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Bat Hibernating Sites Off-Limits In Forbes State Forest

Postby Wayne Harrison » Sep 8, 2006 7:23 pm

Friday September 8, 4:07 pm ET

HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- In its ongoing effort to protect Pennsylvania's varied and valuable bat populations, the state Bureau of Forestry next month will begin limiting public access to three caves in Fayette and Westmoreland counties where bats hibernate in large numbers.

The caves, harboring some of the largest and most vulnerable bat populations in the state, will be closed to all visitors, beginning Oct. 1, 2006, through May 30, 2007. Specially-constructed locking gates are being installed at Coon and Lemon Hole caves, southeast of Blairsville, Westmoreland County, and Barton Cave, near Uniontown, Fayette County.

"We are well aware that organized cave exploration groups respect the resource and stress responsible caving, including staying out of caves when bats are hibernating," said Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Michael DiBerardinis. "Problems arise when cave visitors ignore requests to stay out of these winter hibernation areas, or hibernacula. Often they don't realize the potential harm they can cause."

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Wayne Harrison
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