Limited cave access extended to fight bat disease

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An order restricting access to caves and old mines on national forest and grasslands in five states is being extended, so that a bat-killing fungus won't spread.

White-nose syndrome has killed millions of bats in the U.S.

The fungus that causes it hasn't been detected in Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas yet. Regional Forester Daniel Jir=n said Wednesday he is extending an order restricting access to U.S. Forest Service caves and abandoned mines in the five states for 12 more months, so that humans won't inadvertently spread the fungus to bats.

The order covers about 30,000 abandoned mines and hundreds of caves in the five states.

It includes some exemptions for active members of the National Speleological Society and Cave Research Foundation for conservation-related activities.