California Desert District

Abandoned Mine Lands

This opening is an adit typically found in the desert.

The historic mining of hardrock minerals such as gold, lead, copper, silver, and uranium was a powerful incentive for exploration and settlement of the American West.   Mineral development often provided the economic base on which many remote communities were established. But when ore bodies were mined out and miners left to find other new deposits, they often left behind a legacy of abandoned mines, safety hazards, and contaminated land and water.


California Desert District Field Offices and their “Cooperative Conservation” partners mitigate hazards to protect public health and safety, and restore watersheds for resources, recreation, and wildlife. 

The Bureau of Land Management's primary goal in the AML program is to provide a safe experience to the public when they are visiting public lands, as wells as assuring that mining related features and facilities abandoned on public land are remediated to minimize damage to the natural environment, while recognizing and protecting the historical importance of selected features and facilities.

A wooden headframe is the structural frame above an underground mine shaft, a relic of mining's heyday.

Blue Toyata FJ1:  Two friends were cutting across the desert while having fun in desert near the El Paso Mountains, a remote high-desert town in northwestern San Bernardino County, when their Toyata FJ1 tipped sideways into an abandoned mine shaft without warning.  No one was injurred.Suzuki samari picture:  Last spring two men off-roading through Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands in California, just north of the Mexican border, managed to nose-dive their Suzuki Samurai into an abandoned mine. The fall broke one man’s arm though, fortunately, nothing else (except the car).This is the Suzuki aproximately fifteen feet down the abandoned mine shaft.

 Cross Country Travel is not only Against the Law it's Dangerous!

Video Transcript

Quick Links

BLM National Links
CA Dept. of Conservation Links
Partner Links

Project News

Oro Grande Mine Remediation
Response Action to Begin at the Descarga Tailings Impoundment Site
Abandoned Mine Lands Around Fremont Peak
Abandoned mines secured to make Rademacher Hills safer for recreation
BLM safeguards dangerous openings at Mountaineer Abandoned Mine Land
Stay out, Stay Alive! BLM El Centro Secures 18 Abandoned Mines
The Calico Hills Abandoned Mine Lands Project
Beware hidden mine shafts! BLM secures another one - many more left

Program Documents 

BLM announces AML Programmatic Environmental Assessment and Appendices for public review.

The California Desert District has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Bat Conservation International, Inc. that establishes a strong working relationship on how the AML program will address caves and AML biology.

A Notice to Mining Claimants in the California Desert District was sent out in February of 2009 asking the claimant to reduce unnecessary physical hazards on their mining claim(s).

Remember, Stay Out and Stay Alive!