Project Name: Cerrillos Hills
Project Location: Approximately 25 miles south of Santa Fe, just north of the village of Cerrillos.
Type of Site: Physical Hazards
Congressional District: Three
History: The Cerrillos Mining District is considered to be the oldest continuously mined area in the United States, having been mined for turquoise and lead by Native Americans for perhaps 500 years before Europeans came to the area in the early 1600s. Spanish, then Mexican, and later, Americans, continued to mine lead, copper, zinc, silver, and gold into the 1900s.
Over 1,000 acres of County open-space land within the Mining District has been designated the Cerrillos Hills Historic Park along with an adjacent 2,000 acres of BLM land under a joint management agreement.
Impacts: This was a dangerous area for hikers and other users. Also, its historical values were not being preserved.
Actions and Timeline: Mine features on BLM lands were inventoried, using senior volunteers, in 1996 -1997. A New Mexico Abandoned Mine Land Bureau (AMLB) contract closed nearly 90 shafts, pits, and trenches in 2003-2004. Many of these mine features have been secured yet preserved in their natural state.
Benefits: This area of dangerous physical mine features has been turned into a safe environment for hikers, bikers, and horseback riders, while preserving historical mining values.
Cost/Funding and Estimated BLM contribution: AMLB: $670,000. BLM: $35,000 plus in-kind contributions.