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New Cave Discovered in Sequoia/Kings Canyon


    While most national park visitors no doubt focus on the landscape illuminated by the sun, going underground is an incredible experience. One of my favorite national park treks was at Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, where I spent five or six hours crawling around on my belly during a "Wild Cave Tour." It was a memorable experience, one I won't soon forget.
    Another great park experience for spelunkers can be found at Carlsbad Caverns National Park in southeastern New Mexico. Though perhaps not as famous as Mammoth Cave, this complex contains more than 100 limestone caverns.
    But it's a park better known for trees than caves that is making news today. At Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
comes word that researchers have discovered a previously unknown cave, one with several rooms that are more than 50 feet across.
    Displayed in the cave are "soda straws" up to 6 feet in length, cave curtains and ribbons of multi-colored flowstone embedded with crystals. Named "Ursa Minor" after an ancient skeleton found in the cave and thought to have come from a bear, the cave also harbors a lake that could be as much as 100 feet across.

    The researchers, working for the Cave Research Foundation, also report several new species.
    It's long been known that Sequoia contains quite a few caves, and one of them, Crystal Cave, is open to public tours. No immediate word on whether this new cave, which will be closed to the public for the immediate future while research continues, is actually located in Sequoia or Kings Canyon, or both.


Kurt, I searched the internet after hearing about this new cave discovered in Sequoia. After reading about it, I was very excited. However, as I read on, I see the powers that be intend to keep this special place to themselves. Naturally, if this is in a public park, National forest, or any other non-private, citizen owned public land, we as citizens should have every right to view it. I am quickly learning that "cave politics" is something to reckon with, but some level of U.S. Government should be able to step in and provide careful public access and not just shut the public out indefinitely. This is the first I have ever heard of such a blatent disregard for the public - especially since we all own this land and will probably be paying the bill for the research and exploration. A public find is for all of us to enjoy, not just a few. I understand the desire conservationalists have to keep things pristine, but if nobody can enjoy it, we might as well fill the cavern with dirt and forget about it - two extremes, equally ridiculous...I'm curious to hear your take on it. Thank You.

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