In spring of 2018, a team in a helicopter was conducting a caribou count in a remote vally in B.C.’s Wells Gray Provincial Park. During the flight, they spotted a river flowing into an opening in the ground – a very large opening.
Approximately 60 meters by 100 meters, the opening is the size of a football field. Because of the remote location in the park, and rules about landing a helicopter in a national park, a research team had to wait months before visiting the cave to explore it. That lined up with their plan to go in September anyway, since that would be the time of year with the least amount of snow blocking the opening, and limiting landing sites etc.
The cave is very deep – extending more than 100 meters underground, with the first 80 meters or so being straight down.
The water that forms the waterfall flowing down into the opening flows through the cave, and is estimated to exit almost 2 kilometers away as a tiny stream.
The team was unable to go farther into the cave than the first 100 meters, but for now, cavers are calling this one of the largest caves in Canada.
The group that discovered the cave called it Sarlacc’s Pit, after the giant pit in Star Wars:Return of the Jedi that the monster lived in. Consultations with First Nations are underway to see if they already have a name for the cave, or if they know of the cave.
Plans are being made for a trip in 2020 that will involve weeks in the field and dozens of people to conduct more thorough exploration of the newest, and one of the best caves in Canada.
Since it’s located in a remote part of a National Park, however, it’s unlikely that it will become a tourist destination anytime soon.