The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says its request that people stay out of caves in 17 states doesn’t apply to tourist attractions, but some commercial caves might start requiring visitors to wipe their feet to prevent the spread of a deadly bat disorder.
The agency has asked people to avoid caves in eight states hit by white-nose syndrome plus adjoining states in case people are unwittingly spreading the affliction when they explore multiple caves.
Susi VonOettingen, a biologist with the wildlife service, says the advisory doesn’t apply to commercial caves because most don’t have significant bat populations. She says those that do might end up taking precautions like having visitors clean their shoes on antifungal mats at cave entrances and exits.