• Photo of the steep natural entrance of Carlsbad Caverns

    Carlsbad Caverns

    National Park New Mexico

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    We are undergoing a year-long lighting project in the cavern. Please be aware of caution tape along pathways inside the cave and use due care.

Bat Migration Prompts Early Gate Closing

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Date: October 30, 2007
Contact: Bridget Litten, 575.785.3024

Now that most of the Brazilian free-tail bat colony that calls Carlsbad Cavern home for the summer is headed south to Mexico for the winter, Carlsbad Caverns National Park staff will be closing the entrance gate to the park at 6 pm., beginning on Sunday, November 4.

For safety and security during the visitor center renovation project, which began in early July, the park began closing the entrance gate at Whites City. The gate remained open until 10 p.m., during the summer months, to accommodate visitors who stayed for the evening bat flight. Now that the days are shorter, the few remaining bats that have yet to fly south for the winter have been flying out of the cave between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m.

“With the fall back to standard time on Sunday, if there are any bats left, they could be flying as early as 3:30,” said chief of interpretation and education Marie Marek. “This gives people plenty of time to exit the park before the gate closes for the evening.”

When the bats return in the spring, the park will adjust its hours to accommodate visitors who attend the evening bat flight program.

For more information, contact public affairs specialist Bridget Litten at 505.785.3024.

Did You Know?

Soda straws in Carlsbad Cavern.

Most of the formations—or speleothems—found inside Carlsbad Cavern today were active and growing during the last ice age when instead of having a desert above the cave, there were pine forests.