"Sandstone Bluffs Overlook" by NPS/Maci MacPherson , public domain

El Malpais

Caving

brochure El Malpais - Caving
El Malpais National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior El Malpais National Monument Caving Underneath the lava flows of El Malpais lie a hidden world of lava tube caves. With a free caving permit and proper equipment, you can explore fascinating geology and hidden ice formations. Caving Permits Cave Safely Cave Softly Permits are required and available at the El Malpais Visitor Center, Information Center (seasonally), and the El Morro Visitor Center. Permits are free, and visitors must speak with a park ranger about cave safety, conservation information, and their level of caving experience. Cave permits are only valid for indicated times and specific caves. Talk with a park ranger and visit the park website to learn more: www.nps.gov/elma Don’t Go Alone - Group exploration makes caving safer. Keep together, warn others about hazards or fragile formations, and always tell someone where you are going and when you will return. Lots of Lights - Each caver should carry three light sources and extra batteries. Prevent Exposure & Injury - Dress appropriately for caves. Ambient temperatures in most caves is around 42 degrees (6 degrees celsius) year-round, some are colder. Wear long sleeves, long pants, boots, and gloves. Cave ceilings are sharp, use helmets to protect yourself. Know Your Limits - Injuries and disorientation are more common when you are tired. Always choose a cave that is easy enough for the least experienced member of your group. Caves are not safe for small children and service animals due to the rugged nature of the terrain. Leave No Trace - Do not eat, drink, smoke, litter, or leave human waste inside caves. Many cave formations are delicate and can easily break - do not touch them. Cultural Artifacts - Do not touch or disturb cultural artifacts such as pottery, arrowheads, or animal bones. Respect Bats - Observe closures to protect bats while they are hibernating or raising EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA™ Be Observant - Pay attention to your route and remember junctions and landmarks. their young. If you do see a bat, stop talking, keep your light pointed away, leave the area as quietly as possible, and report the sighting to a ranger. This will help protect these important animals. Prohibited - Campfires, smoking, camping, pets, and candles are not allowed in caves. These activites along with vandalism, including marking or defacing cave features, is illegal and punishable by law. Bats & White-Nose Syndrome At least 14 bat species are found in the monument. Many depend on lava tubes for shelter, reproduction, or hibernation. Bat Cave is home to a summer colony of ~ 40,000 Brazilian free-tailed bats, the only colony of its kind for hundreds of miles. Bats are a critical part of our environment and provide great economic benefits. Many eat insects, including agricultural pests, saving American farmers millions of dollars in pesticides and crop damage annually. Fruit-eating bats pollinate the plants that provide us with cashews, bananas, coconuts, avocados, or tequila. a disease known as White-Nose Syndrome that has killed over 6 million bats in the U.S. and Canada. To prevent the spread of this disease, all visitors requesting cave permits are screened for factors that make them a high risk for introducing the disease from their footwear or equipment. To learn more about bats, visit a Western National Parks Association park store at a visitor center, or visit Bat Conservation International’s website: www.BatCon.org Bats are in peril from a European fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans that causes EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA™ August 2015

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