Capitol Update : WI Senator Lasee Weekly Newsletter

Post date: May 25, 2012 7:02:35 PM

To the Bat Cave!

Did you know that Horseshoe Bay Cave is a 3000 foot cave in Door County that is under development as a tourist and educational attraction? About 2% of this huge cave is owned by the Door County and would be open to the public. As much as 370 feet of this cave could be developed for group tours. This is great news for Door County because a lot of that area’s economy is based on tourism.

This cave will be a great source for education of the cave ecosystem and the geology of Door County. Did you know that the rocks in Door County are part of the same rock formation that created Niagara Falls? This cave will also help educate people about, you guessed it, bats!

Right now, bats are having a tough time. There is a disease called White Nose Syndrome that has been taking its toll on bat populations around the country, which is a bad thing for all of us.

Every single night a bat eats nearly half of its body weight in bugs. Some of these insects are those pesky mosquitoes that seem to ruin family picnics; others eat the crops in a farmer’s field or the vegetables in your garden. It’s estimated that bats, just by eating bugs, prevent $53 billion dollars in crop damages every year. Due to White Nose Syndrome, the Department of Natural Resources is taking extra precaution to make sure that opening this cave to tourism will not affect the bats that live there. Luckily, other caves around the state like the Crystal Cave and Cave of the Mounds have drawn up plans that let the bats live in peace, and provide an educational opportunity for families.

My staff will be meeting with Bat and Cave experts from the DNR to see if a similar plan can be used for Horseshoe Bay Cave so the educational and tourist benefits can be had in Door County while protecting the bat resources at the same time.