There is no question that visiting brewery caves now is harder than it used to be. Some have simply caved in. Others are underneath new development. But a large number have simply been barricaded off for liability reasons.
Hey, I get it. Caves attract young foolish people and tragic results can be expected.
But every once in a while competing forces of the modern world are in opposition, and sort of cancel each other out.
I have written earlier about the problems bats in the Midwest are having with "white nose syndrome". It continues to spread and makes preserving bat habitat an urgent matter.
So, what happens when a cave that could be filled in with tons of No Fun cement for liability reasons actually harbors a bat colony?
Bats trump lawyers I guess.
Consider a cave I have visited previously. I keep in touch with the DNR when I encounter bats and this one was found to harbor some nice specimens.
The lower levels of the cave had the usual evidence of human visitation. Very pretty stone striations.
This cave is not entirely safe anyway, so the DNR has now installed a special "bat gate" over the entrance.
This is the sort of thing that really bothers some of my more intrepid "explorer" friends, but to be honest it is a real world trade off. The bats need the cave. So the lawyers can't cement it shut. And visitors will be allowed on a special basis during the summer months when our squeeky little pals are not in residence.
I am actually happier climbing around knowing they are not at home anyway.