Interrelationships between subterranean and epigean environments affect dispersion and distribution of cave organisms among the macro and microhabitats. This study examined the environmental impact of 42 years of tourism and development in the two lower sections of Blanchard Springs Caverns found in Stone County, Arkansas; and contributes to a better understanding of the seasonal fluctuations of the abiotic and biotic parameters.
Temperature, water quality, and fauna data were collected. A new entrance, lighting, and approximately 12,500 visitors during the 12-month study had no observable effect on cavern temperatures. Stream water quality measurements were comparable to Grove’s 1974 study. Gray bat, Myotis grisescens, populations and distributions increased from an estimated maximum of 5000 (Grove 1974; Grove and Harvey 1974) to 372,726 reported by U.S. Forest Service (personal communication, Jessica Hawkins, Sylamore District of the Ozark National Forest, Mountain View (AR), 2016). This study reported 5 obligate cave species all recorded in previous studies.
Midden, C. J.; Sasser, S. K.; and Grove, J. L.
"Ecology of Blanchard Springs Caverns, Ozark National Forest, Arkansas: 42 Years Later,"
Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science: Vol. 71
, Article 23.
Available at: http://scholarworks.uark.edu/jaas/vol71/iss1/23