Aerial view of the mouth of a newly-discovered massive cave in Wells Gray Provincial Park. Photo: magmacathie.

Local News Briefs: Newly-discovered cave in Wells Gray Park could be one of largest in Canada

Plus the mobile mammography service is coming to Ashcroft, calling all artists, and more

Mobile mammography service coming to Ashcroft

The BC Cancer Breast Screening’s digital mammography service will be at the Ashcroft IDA Pharmacy on Monday, Feb. 25, 2019.

Mammograms are available at no charge for women aged 40 and over. Make an informed decision to screen for breast cancer. Visit www.screeningbc.ca to learn more; to book your appointment call 1-800-663-9203.

Beginning, established, and youth artists wanted

Residents of the TNRD practising visual art of any kind, and at any level, are encouraged to enter the Kamloops Arts Council’s ninth annual Art Exposed Regional Exhibition. The exhibit will run from March 8-16, 2019 at the Kamloops Old Courthouse Cultural Centre.

In this open, non-curated art show, all entered works (2D and 3D) will be displayed. Emerging and established artists are welcome to enter; there is also a category just for youth ages 8-14. Cash prizes and honourable mentions will be awarded. Up to two works per artist will be accepted. Due to space restrictions, maximum size of artwork is 3 feet wide (height not restricted).

The entry deadline is Feb. 15 or until 250 entries are received, so register early! Artwork need not be ready until the drop-off dates of March 1 and 2. Complete guidelines and an online registration form may be found at www.kamloopsarts.ca (or visit the KAC office at the Old Courthouse to register).

Keep loved ones safe from illness

Interior Health is asking the public visiting its health facilities to please do their part to keep loved ones safe from infectious illnesses this winter. At this time of year, it is not unusual for health care facilities to experience outbreaks. Both gastrointestinal illness (GI) and respiratory infections (RI) are highly contagious and common in the community during the winter months.

GI and RI are generally caused by viruses. These viruses can easily spread person to person through contaminated hands, and in droplets containing germs when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Children and individuals over 65 years of age are particularly vulnerable.

While there is no single way to protect against GI and RI, a combination of practices will provide the best protection possible: don’t visit if you are feeling unwell; get the influenza (flu) shot; wear a mask; cover your cough; and wash your hands frequently.

Thank you for helping to protect yourself and those around you.

Community Achievement Awards

Nominations are being sought for the 2018 B.C. Community Achievement Awards, which celebrate the spirit, imagination, dedication, and outstanding contributions British Columbians make to their communities. Go to http://bit.ly/2BIIMRK before the deadline of Jan. 15, 2019 to nominate a deserving individual who raises the quality and character of your community.

Atlas Obscura

Atlas Obscura (www.atlasobscura.com) is a website that bills itself as showcasing “Curious and Wondrous Travel Destinations” from around the world. Now and then one of the sites is within striking distance of our region, so travellers might want to check it out next time they visit; or not check it out, in the case of this newly-discoveredB.C. feature that is off-limits to visitors.

Early in 2018, a team of researchers looking for caribou in B.C.’s Wells Gray Provincial Park spotted something unusual from their helicopter: a large, mysterious, and previously undocumented depression in the earth. They named it Sarlacc Pit after a site in the Star Wars movies, but it wasn’t until Sept. 2018 that a team of researchers was able to reach the isolated site on foot to try to determine what it was.

Because of thick mist rising up from fast-moving water, the team was unable to take precise measurements, but could tell the depression was a vertical drop. To what?

The team believes it is the entrance to a cave, which could well prove to be one of the largest in Canada. The cave’s mouth is 328 feet wide, and while the team could only measure its depth to 442 feet, they suspect it is at least 1,640 feet deep based on their research in the area, and could well be much bigger.

It’s hoped that researchers will go into the area iagain n 2020 to try to learn more, and possibly send a team into the cave, which is unlikely to retain its movie-related name. BC Parks has a policy of consulting with local First Nations when it comes to the naming of sites, to inquire about what existing names might refer to the site.

There do not appear to be any written references to the site, however, and the research team that went there in September would not be surprised to find that few, if any, people had ever set foot there before.

To learn more about “Sarlacc Pit”, and see pictures of it, go to http://bit.ly/2QOd2Ea.

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