News Release

For Release: June 4, 2007         
Contact: David Christy (916) 985-4474
CA-CC- 07-49

BLM Closes Hazardous Mine Tunnels on Quartz Mountain

The state of California Office of Mine Reclamation, in partnership with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, is closing hazardous mine tunnels and shafts in the Quartz Mountain area this week.
Quartz Mountain, located about 22 miles northeast of Madera in Madera County, was one of several foothill gold mines that were first developed in the 1870s. In this century, the site became a popular place to collect quartz crystals.

“To improve public safety, the BLM and the state of California have an on-going cooperative program to close hazardous abandoned mine tunnels and shafts throughout the state. At the abandoned mines of Quartz Mountain, untrained and unqualified persons could be injured or killed by falling into the mine shafts, being hit by debris dropping from the ceilings of the old tunnels, or asphyxiated due to oxygen-deficient atmospheres,” said Gregg Wilkerson, geologist in BLM’s Bakersfield Field Office.

The mine closures will be done in such a way as to keep people out, but protect wildlife habitat. Several of the mine shafts and tunnels are used by bats and other animals. For some of the mine features, bat gates will be installed which will permit the bats to use the tunnels while keeping people outside.

For more information about this project, contact Wilkerson at (661) 391-6081