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Subterranean Oregon: Lint Pickers Wanted

If the Grants Pass Caveman is any indicator, folks in southern Oregon are overjoyed by their underground. It’s no shock then that the Oregon Caves National Monument in nearby Cave Junction has put out a call for volunteers to pick the attraction clean of lint.

One of the few marble caves in the world, it offers a half-mile guided tour that attracts about 50,000 visitors a year. Evidently a lot of them shed lint. They’re not allowed to rub against the formations — the lint simply falls or blows off of their clothes and settles on the rock surfaces, where it feeds cave bugs and could eventually fuse to the formations, neither of which is desirable. Lint-pickers, armed with spray bottles, tweezers, and soft-bristled toothbrushes to hunt their tiny prey, reportedly haul several pounds of the stuff out of the caves every year.

(Although we’re not sure, marble caves may be particularly susceptible to lint. Limestone caves seem to endure far greater human interaction.)

The next link-picking expedition is September 25. Call 541-592-2100 x2254 if you want to volunteer, but don’t fret if you can’t make it. Lint-harvesting expeditions are also held in the off-season (December-March) every year, and will be for as long as people visit Oregon Caves National Monument without wearing Hazmat suits.

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