Readers of this Web Site have shown great concern re the recent DNR's extreme decision regarding Crystal Cave. With permission, I have posted some of the letters written to the DNR supporting the rescinding of this decision as well as the points made by another concerned person who is in the process of composing her letter.

   Your letter can be quite simple expressing the need to reverse the Emergency Ruling until there is proven science to back it up the rash and deceitful measures by the DNR. You can use the articles for background information as well. Letters can be e-mailed in lieu of snail mail - addresses are contained in the articles.

   If you have written a letter and wish to have it posted, please let Karen know.

From: Teresa Sopko
Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 2010 5:29 AM
To: ''
Subject: Crystal Cave

Dear Ms. Rowe:
I am sickened and saddened to learn that Wisconsin DNR is proposing the closure of visitor caves in Wisconsin, including Crystal Cave. White nose syndrome in bats was first noted in the Northeast. The death of so many bats, which are crucial to the environment, is not to be taken lightly.
However, cave closures have not been proposed here in New York State. In fact, one of our visitor caves, Howe’s Caverns, attracts more than 200,000 visitors per year. Not only is this cave still open to the public, the business is planning a “Dinosaur Park” outside the cave to attract even more folks. Since New York State is one of the most highly regulated states in the union, I am even more puzzled by Wisconsin DNR’s proposed closure.
Crystal Cave is a vital, successful small business, which allows both adults and children to learn more about our environment. It is a crucial part of the businesses in Spring Valley and would hurt the local economy. A local landmark, well-known throughout the Midwest, Crystal Cave has a special place in my heart and in that of my family. When my children were young, and we would come home for a visit, the visit to Crystal Cave was a must do.
I urge DNR to study this matter more carefully. Although white nose syndrome has been noted in Europe, bats there seem immune to its effects, and do not lose weight and die as they do in the United States. Thus we have more to learn. Please reconsider your ruling. So many will be negatively impacted.
Sincerely, Teresa Traynor Sopko

From: Dick Lowater
Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 12:24 PM
To: Rowe, Stacy A - DNR
Subject: cave closing

I am writing as a concerned citizen of WI. All citizens of WI should be looking for ways to improve our business climate. I urge the DNR to make it more feasible for the caves in the state to stay open and serve the tourists who visit our state. Thank you.
Sincerely, Richard H Lowater Winter, WI

Rosemary Meier
POB 217
Lake Elmo, MN 55042
November 22, 2010

Stacy Rowe
DNR Bureau of Endangered Resources
P.O. Box 7621
Madison, WI 53707

DNR Bureau of Endangered Resources:

I hope the DNR will reconsider their ruling concerning Wisconsin's caves and bats. It seems there should be more study on the situation. Why haven't other states jumped on the bandwagon? Does the Wisconsin DNR want to be first for some reason?

Strictly from a personal point of view, my father and grandfather, owners of Wolf Hardware Co., were directly involved in preparing the cave for its opening to the public, i.e. plumbing, electrical, pipe hand rails, etc. Most of my friends were guides at "The Cave" during the 50s. On our family weekly Sunday drive, we always approached Spring Valley from the west, so we could see how many cars were in the cave parking lot. My dad always thought he was part of its early success. I still have my Argus PreViewer for color slides, a birthday present from my parents, bought at the cave gift shop. Every once in a while they would take me there to buy a new reel. In 1960, my husband and I had our wedding reception at the nice restaurant down one level from the cave gift shop. My husband and several of his brothers and sisters were cave guides during the 1950s. After we moved from Spring Valley, it was always easy to explain to people where we were from. We would just say, "Spring Valley, Wisconsin, you know, where Crystal Cave is."

I can't imagine trying to seal the cave. The bats will always find a way in.

I am also very concerned about the impact on the community and surrounding area because of this decision. Please give this more thought.

Yours truly,

Rosemary (Wolf) Meier

November 18, 2010

Stacy Rowe,
DNR Bureau of Endangered Resources
P.O. Box 7621, Madison, Wisconsin 53707

Re: State Natural Resources Board adoption of the emergency rule IS-49-10(E)

Dear Ms. Rowe,
I am writing to express my deep concern about the adoption of the above ruling.
As a Spring Valley, Wisconsin resident and business person I am greatly concerned about the adverse impact this ruling will have on our area and in particular the operation of Crystal Cave in Spring Valley.
It is my understanding this ruling was adopted with little or no input from the residents, businesses and communities that will be affected by it.
Further I fail to understand what has motivated this action when the science available does not warrant this extreme measure. This appears to be government intervention without proper representation and accountability.
We are all concerned about the health of the bat population in Wisconsin and the consequences of White Nose Syndrome (WNS), however the current science does not seem to support the conclusions of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
My understanding is that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has stated, "Evidence is lacking to recommend the closure of commercial sites that offer cave tours to the general public. Visitors to commercial sites are less likely to visit multiple caves in a short time-period, generally wear plain clothes and shoes that are not repeatedly used for cave-related activities, and are considered to pose a very low risk for the spread of WNS to new caves."
One can not help but wonder why the Wisconsin DNR is the only such agency in the United States of America to adopt this extreme measure? Is there some hidden agenda here?
Why did the Department lie about saying they had contacted interested and impacted parties when they had not?
In my humble opinion this ruling should be rescinded until there has been a complete investigation and public review of all the facts involved including all current scientific findings and considerations of the impacts that such a ruling will have on the bats and the citizens of Wisconsin.
Please keep me advised of all actions on this matter. Thank you.

Paul J. Seeling - Owner, Editor & Publisher
Gateway Publishing
102 Trient Drive, Woodville, WI 54028,
(715) 698-2401,

Cc: State Senator Sheila Harsdorf
Lt. Gov. Barbra Lawton