May 30, 2014 5:02 PM
Lake Shasta Caverns celebrated 50 years as one of the north state’s top tourist attractions today.
Lake Shasta Caverns first opened on May 30, 1964, and the limestone caverns had their 2.5 millionth visitor in January.
The Shasta Caverns are unique because water continues to flow through them, allowing cave pearls and other icicle-shaped deposits to grow.
According to the caverns website, the caverns were long known to the Wintu Indians who lived in the area. The cave was first known as Potter Creek Cave. In the 1870’s a fish hatchery and small town were built on the McCloud River (today both reside more than 300 feet underwater) and the cave was named Baird Cave to honor the first U.S. Fish Commissioner in the area.
A hatchery employee, J. A. Richardson officially discovered the caverns. His inscription, written in carbon on November 3, 1878 is evidence of his “discovery”. Since 1878 to the present time, only a few hardy “spelunkers” have descended deep into the caverns.
(Photos Courtesy Lake Shasta Caverns)
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