Hi everyone,

I just received the following information via email from a program manager over at White Mountain National Forest. I offered to post the message here to see if any of you can help. Seems that there may be a very large winter hibernation site for bats somewhere near the summit... but where?

Read on for all the info!

My best,
Scot Henley
MWO Executive Director

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We need your help! We have recently received a number of reports of bats flying around Mt. Washington, especially on the Cog Railroad side. There are enough reports and we have enough information about the area to believe there must be a large winter hibernation site located somewhere in the vicinity. Because of the catastrophic effects white-nose syndrome has had on bat populations in New York and Vermont, we would really like to find this site and gain as much information as possible before white-nose syndrome runs through New Hampshire.

Based on where people have seen bats, we think this site is likely located high on Mt. Washington or Mt. Jefferson and not in a valley. It is almost certainly in the ground and not a man-made building. It could be an old mine shaft, a natural cave, a collapsed tunnel, etc. It is probably a fairly good-sized underground hole (like a large conference room or small parking lot), although it may be in the formation of many fissures and not just one big hole. The entrance itself may be just a small crack. For those of you who have spent time working or hiking around Mt. Washington, do you know of anything that might meet these criteria? Can you recall ever seeing bats flying around a particular location in late March/early April or in mid-September? Do you know anyone that might have information that could help us?

Please let me know if you have any information. I'd be happy to answer any white-nose syndrome questions you have or you can visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service WNS webpage, which has the latest information: http://www.fws.gov/northeast/white_nose.html

Leighlan Prout
Wildlife/TES Program Leader
White Mountain National Forest
e-mail: lprout@fs.fed.us