NACHES, WA - This August, crews will be working hard to improve the visitor experience to Boulder Cave while simultaneously protecting bats from the fatal white nose syndrome. To make this important work happen, Boulder Cave and Boulder Cave Trail No. 962, located approximately 20 miles west of Naches, WA, will be temporarily closed August 5th through September 7th while construction occurs.
“We will be building a viewing platform at the cave entrance,” said Naches Ranger District Recreation Supervisor Kevin Hill. “This new platform will improve the visitor experience to public lands and help prevent the spread of white nose syndrome disease to bats living in the cave.”
A 15-foot by 30-foot viewing platform with accessible ramps will be constructed just outside the cave entrance. While construction is occurring, the cave and trail will be closed but the parking area and other nearby amenities will remain open to public use.
“People will enjoy the larger deck area once construction is finished,” Hill said. “Benches will be constructed on the viewing platform allowing visitors to rest and relax prior to and after visiting the cave and trail. Also, the new platform will allow people more room to scrape shoes prior to entering the cave, a necessary precaution in the fight to prevent the spread of white nose syndrome,” Hill said.
Researchers currently estimate bats contribute up to $53 million dollars in nontoxic pest control and play an important role in agriculture and public health in addition to local ecosystems. Funding for this project was obtained through the Secure Rural Schools Self-Determination Act program.