Thursday, August 13, 2009

Challenges in closing abandoned mines in national parks

We got a 2-page news release from the National Park Service yesterday full of bureaucratese on correcting health and safety hazards, scoping process, environmental assessments and so on. It took a couple of reads through before we figured out that they have federal stimulus funds to close old abandoned mines in 4 parks in Arizona - Coronado National Memorial, Grand Canyon, Organ Pipe, and Saguaro NP.

While we all recognize the hazards associated with open pits, it turns out that some mines are in areas with wilderness "character," meaning getting in to do heavy duty reclamation will be difficult, some provide wildlife habitat, especially for bats, and some are listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

The public scoping brochures is online at the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment website at

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