U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
|Abandoned Mine Lands|
The vast legacy of historic mining in Nevada predates the Civil War and will continue to pose safety risks for years to come. Nevada’s public lands offer infinite opportunities for adventure and discovery, but abandoned mines should not be one of them. The life-threatening physical and chemical risks posed by these decaying features are completely unpredictable, and all of the valuable artifacts were removed long ago. Please stay out and stay alive!
With an estimated 300,000 abandoned mine lands (AML) features, of which 50,000 pose significant risks to human safety, Nevada leads the west in number of AML challenges to remediate. The Nevada BLM AML program has three components: historic physical safety hazards, historic watershed/chemical contamination sites such as old millsites or tailings impoundments, and contemporary, modern mines and millsites which have been abandoned or become bankrupt. Fortunately, Nevada also has a nationally recognized collaboration, including state agencies, other federal entities, conservation groups, academic scientists, the Nevada Mining Association, individual mines and equipment dealers, tribal entities, and others who are making great and continuous progress in eliminating Nevada's legacy of abandoned mine problems.
Closing Abandoned Mines
In the process of closing abandoned mines, much valuable information about the past and present is collected, analyzed and archived. Biological surveys include bats, rare plants, and where appropriate tortoises and migratory birds. Abandoned mines are the most significant habitat for many species of bats in Nevada and preservation of that habitat is a major objective of the AML program. Mining history is also enhanced under the AML program - sites are surveyed and photographed by professional historic archaeologists before any action is taken, and the resulting information is permanently archived with the State Historic Preservation Office.
The BLM Nevada abandoned mine program has been repeatedly formally recognized for its accomplishments at the national level many times and continues to be a model for other programs.
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