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.
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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