News Release

For Release:  June 27, 2007                                                                 
Contact:  Stephen Razo 951-697-5217; email:

BLM Provides Alternate Route for Public Safety at Rand Mountain

In an effort to remediate the potential physical hazards associated with historic mining activity and areas with high levels of arsenic in the Rand Mining District area, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has re-routed a popular off-highway vehicle (OHV) access route (BLM Route 110) into Randsburg away from the main Descarga Mill tailings. 

"We narrowed down our choice to what is in the best interest of public safety," states Hector Villalobos, BLM’s Ridgecrest Field Office manager. "The alternate route is safer, family friendly and can accommodate OHVs, dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles."

The alternate route begins and ends in the same areas of the old Route 110 but avoids the mine workings, contaminated tailings, and water pipelines. Officials have blocked off the old Route 110 with red carsonite signs.  This is part of an overall initiative for the mining area focusing on clean-up, reclamation and public safety.

In March 2006, the California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) plan was amended and designated certain routes in the area of Red Mountain as open or closed.  Since that time BLM has become aware of high levels of arsenic in mine tailings, washes, and in soils in the vicinity of Red Mountain, Randsburg, and Johannesburg.  Specifically, soil sampling on Descarga Mill tailing piles, Red Mountain Wash, Fiddler Gulch and Kelly Mine and revealed elevated levels of arsenic, antimony, other chemicals and heavy metals that may compromise the public’s health and safety.

To accomplish the objective of providing a safer environment on BLM-administered public land for residents and other visitors, the public is reminded that off-road motorized travel is restricted to open designated routes within the Red Mountain, Randsburg and Johannesburg areas.  Federal law and regulations provide that any person who violates any supplementary rules, closures or restrictions on public lands may be tried before a United States magistrate and fined no more than $1,000.00 or imprisoned for no more than 12 months, or both.

For further information and maps showing the affected area, contact the Ridgecrest Field Office at at 300 S. Richmond Rd, Ridgecrest, CA  93555, or by calling 760-384-5400.  Information is also available online at