Popular Boulder Cave to Open May 24; Bat White Nose Syndrome Prevention Protocols in Place

Central Washington — The hugely popular Boulder Cave, a highlight for visitors to the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, will open on May 24, 2019. Boulder Cave, Boulder Cave Day Use Site, and the Barrier Free Trail will all be open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. until September 20.

During the summer season, a USDA Forest Service interpreter will be on site at Boulder Cave to provide information about the cave and explain the White Nose Syndrome prevention protocol visitors must follow as they enter the cave. White Nose Syndrome is a deadly disease that has potential to kill entire colonies of bats.

“To help prevent the spread of White Nose Syndrome, visitors are asked to brush off and scrape their shoes on an astro turf carpet prior to entering and leaving the cave,” said USDA Forest Service Wildlife Biologist Joan St. Hilaire. “We’re all about providing great recreation on public lands while minimizing harmful impacts to wildlife.”

To make your visit more pleasant, a flashlight is required in the cave. Also, a good pair of walking shoes and layered clothing is recommended. Please leave your dog or other pets at home to help minimize disturbance to the bat’s home.  

“We can all do our part by limiting all noise, staying on the trail, not touching cave walls, and keeping lights off the ceiling” added St. Hilaire.

The cave, home to Townsend’s big-eared bat, is closed from September to May each year to provide a secure refuge for these hibernating bats. The Townsend’s big-eared bats are listed as a sensitive species in Washington and Oregon.

Boulder Cave walkway

A footbridge leads into Boulder Cave west of the community of Naches, Washington on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Credit: USDA Forest Service photo.

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