Hundreds of people flocked to Maquoketa Caves State Park Saturday to get a first look as it opened for the year. But, DNR officers are keeping a close eye out for 'White Nose Syndrome' in bats.
The bat fungus forced the park to close for two years starting in 2010.
Now, DNR officers are monitoring the situation closely -- erring on the side of caution this season.
That said, they tell us the outlook is good for this year.
The park is still waiting to hear back about this year's test results-- but DNR officers say the fungus does not appear to be inside the caves.
They say you can help keep the deadly fungus away, by keeping everything clean.
"Before you come out here, if you've been in another cave system, either a) don't bring the same stuff you had there with you, or disinfect it through proper disinfectant chemicals like Lysol, anti-fungal, bleach," explained Scott Dykstra, an Iowa DNR Conservation Officer.
The fungus does not affect humans, but it can be deadly to bats.
Conservation officers say infected bats are irritated by the fungus and forced out of hibernation, which can cause them to starve or freeze to death.