Kartchner Caverns State Park has a unique origin story. It was once known as the cave that no one ever found until Gary Tenen, and Randy Tufts took it upon themselves to find the elusive cave. In November 1974, the two men found the cave and immediately realized its significance. They kept the location a secret for nearly a year until they contacted the landowners and revealed the location of the cave to them. They all knew that the cave was in danger of being damaged and misused if it remained unregulated. For years they explored the possibility of developing the caverns themselves. They finally decided to approach the State Parks to see in they'd be interested in acquiring the mysterious and beautiful cave to protect it.
In 1984, they met with Charles R. Eatherly, the Special Projects Coordinator for the Arizona State Parks Board. In the meeting, Tufts remarked to Earthly, " As you are working on potential park sites, I understand you are the one who can tell me how to make a site become a State Park." Tuft asked to close the door to keep their conversation a secret. Eatherly inquired, "What kind of resources are we talking about?" to which tuft replied, "I cannot tell you." Etherly attempted to get as much information out of Tufts but was met with dead-end answers as Tufts tried to keep the location of the caves under a tight lid.
After many years and secret meetings with political and state officials, there began to be momentum in classifying the site as a State Park. In 1988, after a turbulent year in politics, the cave was picked as a positive initiative, and they authorized a bill to acquire the cave property. The bill likely holds the record for the shortest time taken for a bill to pass and be signed into law.
Nowadays, it is a trendy tourist attraction bringing in visitors from all over the world to admire its beautiful formations in what was once the cave that no one ever found.