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Contact: Robin Snyder, 304-640-0724
Glen Jean, West Virginia,November 5, 2014–The National Park Service is installing bat-friendly gates on mine portals in the park through a construction contract. Contractors will begin work in the New River Gorge National River at Kaymoor Haulage Tunnel during the week ofNovember 10th, and using the Butcher's Branch trail to access the mine opening. Visitors using this trail may encounter construction workers transporting steel, materials, and equipment on the trail. The trail will remain open to all visitors during this time, but visitors should remain alert and aware of additional trail traffic.
The NPS recently received funding from Congress for projects related to the issue of white-nosed syndrome (WNS). This is an emerging disease associated with the deaths of at least 5-6 million North American bats, including bats that live in the New River Gorge region. The condition is named for a distinctive fungal growth on the muzzles and wings of hibernating bats. Here in the New River Gorge, the abandoned coal mines that line the river banks provide habitat for ten species of bats, including two on the Endangered Species List: the Virginia big-eared bat and Indiana bat. Protecting these abandoned mines helps preserve the park's history, while also providing habitat for bats. The gates will also provide for visitor safety by preventing people from going into unsafe mine workings.
Kaymoor Tunnel is the first of numerous locations in the park where bat-friendly gates will be installed in future years. Park updates about this project will be posted to the park's website at www.nps.gov/neri. You can also find updates on the park's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/