Project Name: Orogrande
Project Location: Approximately 50 miles south of Alamogordo, northwest of the village of Orogrande
Type of Site: Physical hazards
Congressional District: Two
History: The Orogrande Mining District is within easy driving distance of El Paso and Alamogordo and is used extensively by the public for rock hounding, gold panning, hiking, and exploring. This Mining District is the highest density physical hazard area in the State that includes BLM-administered land, involving over 350 mine sites and 1000 mine features, mostly shafts and adits, in a two-square-mile area.
Impacts: The area poses a significant threat to public safety, as attested to by the death of an Alamogordo high school senior who fell to his death down a 200-foot shaft, on private land, in March 2000. Shafts, some over 150 feet deep often lie along roads and trails and are often hidden by vegetation.
Actions and Timeline: Mine features on BLM land were inventoried by three New Mexico State University students in 1995-1996. A New Mexico Abandoned Mine Land Bureau (AMLB) Orogrande Project Phase I was completed in spring 2002. It involved the closure of 56 physical hazard features of which 20 were on BLM land and included the closure of the 200-foot deep shaft where the high school student fell to his death.
Phase I was partially funded by BLM through an Assistance Agreement with the AMLB. Because of the great number of hazardous features that in the area, Phase II is scheduled in the near future.
Benefits: The area has been made safer for public land users. Phase II will eliminate all of the most hazardous features.
Cost/Funding and Estimated BLM contribution: AMLB: $268,000. BLM: $10,000