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Old 07-16-2013, 11:24 PM
 
Location: Wichita, KS
733 posts, read 1,537,224 times
Reputation: 1307

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I'm a huge fan of Nature and interesting geographical features. I know several caves that offer guided tours for a charge, but looking at my atlas of Arkansas, it shows many many more caves. Basically, I'm curious to know if there are any interesting caves that are open to the public that DO NOT have a guided tour charge. I saw on my map that showed a cave called "Logan cave," but come to find out, it's closed to the public to protect the grey bad and the cave crayfish. Is that what I'm likely to find with the majority of caves shown on my atlas that do not have guided tours? Are they mostly going to be closed to the public?
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:43 AM
 
186 posts, read 410,359 times
Reputation: 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkern1989 View Post
I'm a huge fan of Nature and interesting geographical features. I know several caves that offer guided tours for a charge, but looking at my atlas of Arkansas, it shows many many more caves. Basically, I'm curious to know if there are any interesting caves that are open to the public that DO NOT have a guided tour charge. I saw on my map that showed a cave called "Logan cave," but come to find out, it's closed to the public to protect the grey bad and the cave crayfish. Is that what I'm likely to find with the majority of caves shown on my atlas that do not have guided tours? Are they mostly going to be closed to the public?
Right now, you are going to find that most, of not all, caves that are not "tour" caves are going to be closed to the public. There are a multitude of reasons, but the biggest right now is to protect bats from WNS...White Nose Syndrome, which is a nasty fungus that has already killed hundreds of thousands of bats in the US. This fungus has roughly a 99% fatality rate, so the caves are being closed in an attempt to prevent the spread of this disease. It is a hard reality for those of us who like to visit caves (I have been exploring and mapping caves for over a decade), but we also respect the effort because we want to preserve bats (which are obviously an important part of keeping pests under control). Your best bet, if you want to be able to visit "non-commercial" caves, is to join a grotto (caving group)...they might know of some caves without bats on private land that are still open...and will help instruct you on how to decontaminate your caving gear so you won't spread WNS.

This might get cut, but you can find local grottos on the National Speleological Society website....www.caves.org
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Old 07-17-2013, 02:21 PM
 
Location: Little Rock AR USA
2,457 posts, read 6,519,092 times
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What pam73 Posted is totally correct, but there has been another problem even before the fungus disease, and that is vandalism. People would go into caves or old mines that had bats and would take torches and "burn" the bats off their roosts, and in the caves that had (the two formations I can never remember) and would break them off to take as souvenirs. It's amazing how many thoughtless idiots are out there running loose !

While doing archeology work for the Ouachita National Forest I was checking an old mine which had been closed off with a 2 inch rebar "cage" because it had bats. The mine was on the side of a steep mountain and was difficult to get to, but someone had gone up there and cut out enough rebar to be able to crawl through.
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Old 07-17-2013, 08:50 PM
 
76 posts, read 88,330 times
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The Wonderland Cave in Bella Vista in the Bentonville area was cool 20 years ago.

Somebody was fixing it up to reopen, but I don't know where it stands.

Wonderland Cave in Bella Vista Arkansas - Largest Underground Nightclub in America
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:47 PM
 
1,661 posts, read 4,606,664 times
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Originally Posted by ArkansasSlim View Post
(the two formations I can never remember)

Slim...............

I'm shocked.


Stalagmites and stalactites.

The best time to go caving is the winter time. When it gets cold, you can locate caves by the steam seeping up.

Absolutely amazing how many there are.
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Old 07-18-2013, 08:58 AM
 
186 posts, read 410,359 times
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Slim is also correct.....vandalism is a huge problem for caves and cave owners all over the country. There are just too many idiots who do not realize (or care) how long it takes for cave formations to grow or how important cave creatures can be. There are also issues with trespassing, since there is also a faction of people who don't care whose land they are tramping all over in an effort to go "hang out" in a cave, and who are likely to sue the landowners when their stupid selves manage to get themselves hurt. This is also why I suggested the grotto route....these groups have cultivated a good relationship with landowners, and know who is and is not likely to allow legal access to the caves on their property.
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Old 07-18-2013, 01:50 PM
 
Location: Northern Wisconsin
9,854 posts, read 8,537,727 times
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Mystic Caverns is on hwy 7. If I remember right, my son and I visits this one on a motorcycle trip. I'd call and check. I looked and the web site and it say anything about being closed.
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Old 07-18-2013, 07:21 PM
 
Location: Wichita, KS
733 posts, read 1,537,224 times
Reputation: 1307
Quote:
Originally Posted by augiedogie View Post
Mystic Caverns is on hwy 7. If I remember right, my son and I visits this one on a motorcycle trip. I'd call and check. I looked and the web site and it say anything about being closed.
Yeah, but they charge and give guided tours. Usually those caves charge too much and only restrict you to the trail.
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