This March I was kayaking the Linville Gorge with some friends when we spotted a bat flying nearby. At first I wondered, “is that a bat,” since I haven’t seen one since last summer or fall. To me it seemed a bit cold, in the high 30s that day, and early in the year for bats to be out. After some discussion the three of us agreed that perhaps this bat had been infected with White Nose Syndrome, a fungal growth that has killed over a million bats, mainly on the east coast, in the past five years. In a nutshell, what happens is the fungus wakes hibernating bats who are then unable to survive, therefore they perish. Personally, I don’t know a whole lot more about the syndrome, except that people are urged to stay out of caves in the interest of the bat’s health. Going in and out of caves is thought to possibly spread the fungus and potentially infecting more bats. Links to some informative articles can be seen at the bottom of this post.
After the Deadman in the Darkroom gig at the 2008 Gauley Fest, I was approached, by an old friend of mine, to help in producing a short film. The goal of this project was to aid in acquiring funds to purchase a two mile stretch banking the Lower Chauga in the upstate of South Carolina. These two miles are located within the runout of the often paddled class IV Chauga section. This acquisition would connect to the present Chau Ram Park trail system and give the general public access to a greater portion of this wilderness. Due to the recession in America’s economy the State of South Carolina cut all funding from the Preservation Department and the project never got off the ground.