In the interesting press release category, Park Service officials report that Researchers have discovered a significant new cave within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The cave, found in August, has been named Ursa Minor after the Little Dipper constellation as well as because of a skeleton of what appears to be a bear found inside the cave.
Park Officials report that the cave features large passages and rooms many of which are more than 50 feet wide and beautiful cave formations. These include long and graceful cave curtains, fragile soda straws up to 6 feet in length, and large areas of multicolored flowstones.
Ursa Minor has a cave lake that may be as much as 100 feet across, and vertical drops that must be traversed using ropes. Several of the larger passages continue and the actual length of the cave remains unknown at this time.
While Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park contains the largest living trees on the planet as well as some of the best back-country terrain in the Sierra, Park staff believes that just the caves alone are so significant that they alone would justify the inclusion of them as part of the National Park System.
There are caves open to the public in the Parks, but this new cave will be kept closed to recreational visits pending evaluation and scientific study.
Park cave management staff is conducting a series of trips with subject matter experts to create an accurate and detailed map of the cave, inventory its features, conduct a biological inventory, photo document cave features and formations and gate the cave entrance to protect it.