A story shared in the Oct. 4, 1923 issue of the Summerland Review details the finding of a mammoth underground cave hidden somewhere near Shuswap Lake. (Freephotos-Pixabay)

History mystery: Mammoth-sized cave discovered at Shuswap Lake

Explorer says hidden underground find contains miles of passages

It was a local discovery said to rival other underground wonders of the world.

Mammoth Cave is Discovered At Shuswap reads the headline in the Summerland Review on the day of Thursday, Oct. 4, 1923.

The story revolves around an R. Roberts, who shares the tale of his discovery of a cave at Shuswap Lake that would make the region famous.

According to Roberts, the cave was hidden by silt and river wash and could only be located by one who had been there before.

“For years there has been told a story of this cave but most who heard it placed it in the category of lost mines and buried treasures,” Roberts told the Review.

Roberts goes on to say a person named Kennedy found the cave while seeking a homestead. He made an attempt to file a claim on it, but was told that section of the country was reserved for soldiers wishing to take up land, so he covered up the entrance.

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“In a moment of confidence, Kennedy told me the story of the cave and showed me the location of the entrance,” said Roberts, who would later locate and set about exploring the cave.

“For about 200 feet I proceeded through a narrow passage, sometimes able to go ahead at a crouching walk, then again compelled to crawl, owing to the height of the roof,” continued Roberts. “At the end of the passage, I reached a huge cavern. The candle I held threw no light on the roof so great was the cave.

“Radiating from the huge cavern are scores of passages. I cannot state the area of the cave or the number of passages. I believe it extends for miles.”

Down one passage Roberts said he could hear the sound of a waterfall. The cave itself he described as being void of stalactites and stalagmites, though they occasionally appeared in the passages.

A search of the archives at the Salmon Arm Museum returned no information regarding the cave described by Roberts, who provided no particular indicators of its whereabouts to the Review.

Shuswap author and outdoors enthusiast Jim Cooperman isn’t aware of a “mammoth cave” in the area. He suggests the article may be the product of exaggeration or, if the cave was on private land, the entrance may be covered and could remain hidden. Cooperman adds his research indicates there may be caves in the Three Valley Gap area.

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