Tennessee Cave Safety
Greetings Scouters, Mr. David Pelren from the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Service called me this morning and made an appeal to encourage all scouting units to stay out of caves at this time. David is a wildlife biologist and is also an Eagle Scout, as a part of Troop 456 in Murfreesboro in his younger days.
David tells me that the danger is to the Indiana and Gray Bats getting the white nose syndrome which comes from fungal spores very easily spread around. The state has closed all caves on state land; all caves are closed on federal land in Tennessee; and the state is asking all private land owners to close their caves for the moment.
Fish and Wildlife is aggressively working on alternatives which will minimize the risk and will be working with cave explorers and enthusiasts on those alternatives as soon as the risks can be accessed and the details can be worked out.
On behalf of the District, let me please ask all scouting units to avoid caves at this time. We not only want to do the things that protect the wildlife and habitat but want to be role models in this. At the moment, they are urgently asking us to stay out of caves in Tennessee.
Many thanks for your consideration,
UC District Commissioner