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Going 'underground' in the Magic Valley

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By Jay Michaels

Twin Falls, Idaho (KMVT) - The Bureau of Land Management's Local Resource Advisory Council was in the middle of the desert, looking for a place to cool off; they found it with guided tours of some caves underneath an ocean of sagebrush.

According to outdoor recreation planner David Freiberg, “Caving is a technical activity, that you need special equipment, gloves, you need pads, a helmet, three sources of light. Definitely tell somebody where you're going, and when you're expected back, because if you get lost out here and nobody knows where you are, they're cold, you could easily perish.”

Freiberg says there are a dozen significant caves in this ten thousand acre 'area of critical environmental concern.'

He says nearby buttes are the remnants of shield volcanoes, where lava flowed gently onto the plain here, and in some cases created lava tubes that are now caves.

Robert Wilkinson, Quartermaster of the Silver Sage Grotto says, “Our caves in this area are very fragile in the sense that if you break something, it will never restore itself. They're lava tubes and unless we have another lava eruption, they're going to be just like we have 'em now. So please protect 'em.”

Wilkinson says if you'd like to explore some caves in Magic Valley, the best way to do it is with somebody who knows what they're doing.

You can get hold of the 'Silver Sage Grotto' local caving group by visiting the website www.caves.org/grotto/ ssg.


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