Peppersauce Cave

Peppersauce Cave

Peppersauce Cave is a limestone cave found in the Santa Catalina Mountains approximately ten miles south of Oracle, Arizona. Peppersauce is frequented by about 23,000 visitors every year and contains approximately one mile of mapped passages [] .

Public Knowledge

Peppersauce was initially made known to the local public in February 1948 by way of an article published in Desert Magazine. An article about the cave was later featured in a 1951 issue of National Geographic Magazine which showed photos of a scientist breaking off and removing a large stalactite for purposes of further study [] . The cave has always been and continues to be completely open to the public.

Vandalism and the PCCP

The cave has been subject to vandalism and heavy littering for over fifty years. In 2001, the Peppersauce Cave Conservation Project ( [ PCCP] ) was established upon the discovery of E. Coli and coliform within the cave's lakes. The initiative is funded by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality ( [ ADEQ] ) and is aided by volunteers who work to keep the cave clean. A sampling conducted in January 2003 indicated that no harmful bacteria were present in the water. The group was also highly successful in removing graffiti, though the cave continues to be heavily subjected to vandalism [] .

Divers of 2000

In 2000, two cave divers from California explored underwater passages within the cave. The two aimed to map passages and to venture into unexplored areas in hopes of discovering new rooms and formations. Due to an equipment malfunction, the pair was only able to travel about 100ft from the main lake, but reported a strong possibility that rooms may exist which can only currently be accessed by traversing through underwater passages. While underwater, the divers also discovered a wooden ladder propped against one of the cave walls. This seems to suggest that the water level within the cave was at one time considerably lower [] .

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