White-nose Syndrome and Cave Permitting

a small brown bat with patches of fuzzy white fungus on its nose and ears
Humans can bring the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome into caves and mines without knowing.


In 2006, a deadly fungus was introduced to bat populations in the United States. The fungus causes a disease in bats known as white-nose syndrome (WNS). Since then, North America has seen millions of bat deaths due to this hardy and virulent fungus, P. destructans. Although the disease does not affect humans, we can unknowingly carry the fungus on our clothing and equipment, bringing it into new caves, mines, and other bat roost sites.

The fungus was confirmed to be present in Idaho in 2022, but has not been detected at Craters of the Moon.

A brown icon with a bat silhouette and the text: "Cave permits protect bats"
Get a cave permit before entering the park!

NPS Illustration / S. Lacy

Help Us Protect Our Bats!

Since humans are a potential carrier of WNS, Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve has instituted a screening procedure to help prevent the spread of white-nose syndrome to its caves. If you are planning on entering any cave or tunnel within Craters of the Moon, please stop by the Visitor Center or Entrance Station during business hours to receive your free Cave Permit. Be sure to bring the permit with you when visiting the caves. The Annual, Senior, Military, and Access passes do not count as a cave permit.

During the permit process, be prepared to answer the following questions:

  1. Have you ever been in a cave, lava tube, mine, or any underground space?
  2. Do you have any items with you that have entered the caves, caverns, lava tubes, or mines you previously visited? (e.g. clothing, shoes, flashlights, cameras, watches, phones, etc.) If you have items that have been underground before, you will need to agree to leave them behind before we will issue you a permit. Any clothing or any other item that has been in any underground space cannot be worn into the caves at Craters of the Moon, even if it has been washed or decontaminated.

Note: Permits are only valid for Indian Tunnel and Dewdrop Cave. All other caves in the monument, including the Buffalo Caves, Beauty Cave, and Boy Scout Cave, are closed to protect sensitive bat populations.

What Can You Do?

  • Observe all cave closures.
  • Avoid caves with hibernating bats.
  • Researchers and cavers should decontaminate after visiting caves and lava tubes.
  • Know before you go; check to see if the next cave or mine you're visiting has any clothing or equipment restrictions before going. The best practice is to have a completely different outfit when visiting different caves.
  • If bats are in your home and you don't want them there, work with your local natural resource agency to remove the bats without harming them.

What is Being Done?

  • More than 100 agencies and organizations are collaborating under one plan to address WNS.
  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service funds research to better understand the fungus, and disease, and its effects on bats.
  • We are collaborating to contain the spread by limiting access to sensitive sites and developing decontamination protocols for researchers and cavers.

Learn More about White-nose Syndrome

Bats are an important part of many ecosystems, and the National Park Service works with other agencies as well as conservation groups to prevent and slow the spread of this deadly disease.

Last updated: August 8, 2022

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve
1266 Craters Loop Road
P.O. Box 29

Arco, ID 83213


208 527-1300

Contact Us