REOPENED TO THE PUBLIC–Illinois Caverns was officially reopened to the public on Wednesday, June 16. A ribbon cutting event was held at the site on June 15. Those in attendance at the event included: IDNR Director Colleen Callahan (holding the scissors), Site Manager Mic Middleton, State Representative David Friess, Waterloo Mayor Tom Smith and numerous IDNR staff.
On June 15, a group gathered for a ribbon cutting event at Illinois Caverns, marking the reopening of the site after having been closed for over 10 years. The cave was officially reopened to the public on June 16.
Illinois Caverns, along with all Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) managed caves, was closed in 2010 as a precaution against the spread of White-nose Syndrome (WNS), a fatal disease affecting certain types of cave-dwelling bats. While some WNS cases have been identified at Illinois Caverns, it has remained relatively low.
Site Superintendent Joseph “Mic” Middleton was very excited to welcome all to the reopening event, noting that the IDNR staff had worked very hard to get the site reopened to the public, and to ensure the safety of both visitors and the wildlife that lives there. “They did an excellent job, it looks great.”
Middleton, along with other speakers at the ribbon cutting, highlighted that Illinois Caverns is a very unique site, unlike any other in the state.
“It means a lot to the state,” IDNR Director Colleen Callahan stated about the reopening. She noted that it will now be able to bring visitors to the local area again.
For more on the reopening of Illinois Caverns, please see this week’s print edition.