Researchers are keeping a cave’s location secret to thwart Instagram tourists

No selfies allowed.
No selfies allowed.
Image: AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd
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Researchers and geologists have found an enormous cave, complete with a rushing river fed by two melting glaciers, in British Columbia’s Wells Gray Provincial Park, but they’re not sharing exactly where.

“As far as North America goes, this is a honking-big cave,” John Pollack, governor of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, told the New York Times (paywall). Until consulting with indigenous people of the area, the researchers are calling the cave “Sarlacc’s Pit,” an homage to a creature in Star Wars that lived in the Great Pit of Carkoon and digested its prey over a thousand years .

The real-life cave was found by researchers who, while conducting a caribou census, noticed something that looked like a black hole in the countryside from their helicopter, according to the Times. They sent photos to geologist Catherine Hickson, who quietly built a team of five researchers, including Pollack. That team took a helicopter to the site, and found that the water emerges from the cave more than a mile below the opening.

But due to expected Instagram tourists and amateur climbers, the Canadian researchers don’t want to share the giant pit’s exact location, according to the Times.

When asked by Canadian Geographic about protecting the cave itself, Pollack said that wasn’t a concern.

“The thing is that this cave is truly in the middle of nowhere,” he replied. “We don’t even think it’s feasible for someone to walk in and do anything. You might be able to reach it, but you couldn’t bring in enough equipment to do anything about it.”