The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

2020 Cavern tours underway

 


Caverns tours have started for the season at the Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park.

According to park officials, this year there will be new tour protocols to limit the spread of COVID-19 while keeping park staff and visitors safe.

The park will offer guided tours of the cave Fridays through Monday. Classic Cave tours will not be offered at the current time and cave tours will consist of the Paradise and Grand Finale Rooms. The modified tour entails a one-half mile, level walk to the cave. Once inside the cave, visitors will traverse a 538' tunnel and twenty stairs in order to view some of the cave's most decorated, large, and colorful formations before returning along the same route. Tour time is 1.5 hours including pre-tour preparations.

Tours will be limited in size and will be available by reservation only. Reservations will be taken two weeks from the date of the call. Prices are $10 for seniors 62 years and older; $15 for adults 15 -61 years; $10 for youth 5-14 years; and free to those under 4 years. Baby backpacks and strollers are not allowed.

Visitors must bring and wear a face covering for the duration of the cave tour; new or very clean gloves, and disinfecting wipes or hand sanitizer are also recommended items.

CRYPTID HUNT

Montana State Parks will host a "Cryptid Hunt" scavenger hunt at Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park on Saturday, June 6, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

In this social-distancing event to celebrate National Trails Day, hikers will explore the short Nature Loop Trail located at the upper picnic area (a pleasant quarter mile walk) and use their "Guide to Montana Cryptids" booklet to identify the monster plaguing the park. Play the part of a cryptozoologist from a secret society and use your knowledge of animal adaptations to puzzle out which paranormal entity is responsible for the destruction.

Participants will learn about hoop snakes, dingmauls, thunderbirds, bugbears and other supernatural beasts on a scavenger hunt designed to keep parkgoers safe and healthy. Monster hunters should wear comfortable hiking clothes and bring hand sanitizer for safely handling the trail clues. The monster booklet and "Assignment Briefing" document can be found and downloaded on the park's "Cryptid Hunt!" Facebook event post (@LewisandClarkCaverns). With the book's guidance, which comes in both child and adult versions for different levels of challenge, hunters will find clues along the trail that will help them name the monster and save the park. Once you think you know which monster it is, check in at the Cave Visitor Center to see if you got it right!

ONLINE EVENT

Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park will host the free online event "All About Beavers" on Friday, May 22, at 8pm via Zoom.

Join Riley Bell as he presents "All About Beavers," a program discussing the intricacies of life as a beaver. This talk marks the first presentation in Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park's annual Friday Summer Speakers Series for 2020. Bell will speak about his experiences working with Montana beavers and how they fit (not so neatly) into their ecosystems. From their fur to their homes, listeners will leave this talk with a newfound sense of wonder about these unique creatures.

Tours officially started for the season May 22.

This online event will take place using Zoom Meetings. Participants will join in by clicking on the Zoom link on the "All About Beavers" Facebook event post on the Lewis & Clark Caverns Facebook page (@LewisandClarkCaverns). Non-Facebook users can email Emily.dickerson@mt.gov for access.

Riley Bell has worked for MT FWP since 2017. Riley graduated from the University of Minnesota Crookston in 2015 with a Bachelor's of Science in Natural Resources. He has worked in the fur industry for six years. Riley has had an interest in beavers and their behavior for a long time and has a passion for studying them and learning all about them.

For more information about these or other events at Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park, call (406) 287-3541.

 

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