Maquoketa Caves reopen for first time since 2010 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Maquoketa Caves reopen for first time since 2010


A popular eastern Iowa tourist attraction closed for a couple of years reopened Saturday.

The Maquoketa Caves are now ready for visitors.

They closed in 2010 to protect bats from a fungus called White Nose Syndrome.

It's a deadly disease for bats that live in the caves.

Officials were concerned visitors might inadvertently spread the fungus from one cave to the next by their shoes or clothing.

But DNR officers say a short educational program will help visitors prevent that.

"Before entering into our caves you have to go through an education awareness program we're doing this to prevent the spread of this disease, to the best of our knowledge we do not have the fungus. So this program is to make people aware of the importance of our bats and inadvertently spreading this disease," said Scott Dykstra, Ranger.


Local businesses hope that's enough to bring visitors back to the area.

Legislators say the area saw 200,000 visitors a year before the caves closed.

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