Ceiling anchor

Cadomin Cave

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PDF icon Trail Sign59.49 KB
PDF icon Entrance Sign31.99 KB

                                                      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hibernating Bats in Cadomin Cave                                                                                             Biologist Retrieving Roost Logger

Although it was once one of the most visited caves in Alberta, Cadomin Cave near Hinton has been closed by Provincial Government Ministerial Order since 2010.  This closure order was extended for a further 5 years in 2015These orders were imposed due to the significant geographic progression of white-nose syndrome (WNS) in bats, in an attempt to prevent the spread of WNS to this important bat hibernaculum.  Even before the 2010 total closure, access was not allowed between the September long weekend (Labor Day) until May 1st, to protect the bat colony during its fall/winter hibernation season.

History

No one knows who discovered Cadomin Cave, but it had probably been known to local natives for centuries. It is thought to have been visited by prospectors early in the 1900s, and people have been visiting it ever since. The cave is named after the nearby village of Cadomin, which comes from the acronym for Canada Dominion Mining. Exaggerated rumors of the extent of Cadomin Cave abound. It is even said that in the old days, miners used to ride through the cave on horseback all the way to Miette Hotsprings, some thirty kilometres away as the crow flies, just to take a dip! Although the truth is somewhat more modest, Cadomin Cave has long been popular with outdoorsmen keen on a little different type of adventure.

The first known survey of the cave was performed in 1959 by WL Biggs and RS Taylor, who produced a fairly accurate map. When the Alberta Speleological Society was formed in 1968, Cadomin Cave was one of only a few caves known in Alberta, and had already been heavily vandalized. The Alberta Speleological Society commenced a thorough exploration, resurvey and documentation of the cave’s extent, while at the same time organizing several cleanup trips to collect litter and remove spray-painted graffiti in an effort to keep the cave presentable for other visitors.

There have been several attempts to establish guiding services for Cadomin Cave, and even a few proposals for development and commercialization. Concurrent with this has been growing interest from Alberta Environment, Fish and Wildlife, the University of Alberta and other bodies interested in the natural history of the cave and its population of bats. The Alberta Speleological Society became official stewards of Cadomin Cave under Alberta Environment’s volunteer stewardship program in 1997, and conducted graffiti removal and garbage collection, participated on several ‘bat counts’, and assisted the Alberta government with management planning for the cave and surrounding area. With the creation of Whitehorse Wildlands Provincial Park in 1999, Cadomin Cave and its bat population received legal protection.

A program of limited trail development and signage was put in place, to assist the public with safe and responsible visits to the cave. Although the original signage was rendered irrelevant to this specific cave due to the 2010 closure order, it contains a concise and useful review of good caving practices in any cave. 

Today Cadomin Cave still bears the scars of years of overuse by humans. Virtually no cave formations remain; all is brown and muddy. However its large passages continue to house an important bat hibernaculum, which we hope will remain healthy.