U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
 
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News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 376


Report those abandoned mine shafts!

Early last month, a young man reported to the Jawbone Station Visitor Information Center, that he had fallen into an abandoned mine. Luckily, he was unharmed, but he reported the incident so the mine could be fenced off.  The Jawbone Off-Highway Vehicle Open Area is 7,000 acres of public land, and a popular destination for off-roaders. (text continues below)

A pit near a dirt roadway seems harmless enough, but the shadows hide an opening into an abandoned mine shaft
An old mineshaft opening is hidden in the shadows of an open pit near the dirt roadway

Cody, age 20, reported that the entrance was south of the intersection of Randsburg Mojave Road and Route 10, on Power Line Road past a big wooden structure, “then count three power poles to the south and it is right off the road.”  Cody reported that there might be another smaller mine in that area that would also require fencing. 

The visitor center passed this information on to BLM law enforcement ranger Eduardo Duque, and BLM personnel set out the next day to find the shafts.  The first shaft was about 10 or 15 feet off the road, in “exactly the location he described,” Duque said.  The opening was about 10 by 15 feet, and about 40 to 60 feet deep, with splintered timber inside.  BLM personnel fenced off the opening and put up warning signs.

“This man was very, very fortunate that he didn’t suffer serious injury or even die,” Duque said.  “By reporting this mine shaft he probably saved someone else from a serious accident.”

The second shaft location was about  50 feet to the north and much smaller than the first one.  The opening was four feet by five feet, with an 80 percent slope toward a bottom that could not be seen. 

After returning to the office, Duque called Cody to thank him for reporting the open shafts, and to let him know that they were now fenced.

A fence now surrounds the open pit and shaft, and signs warn of the danger
A fence now surrounds the open pit and shaft, and signs warn of the danger

A smaller nearby mine shaft is also fenced off and signed
A smaller nearby mine shaft is also fenced off and signed

Many undiscovered mine shafts still remain in the California desert, posing a danger to those who are not careful.  Stay Out-Stay Alive!
Another open abandoned mine shaft opens into the side of a hill

- E- Duque, 3/09


BLM-California News.bytes, issue 376


 
Last updated: 04-01-2009