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Release Date: 02/20/13
Contacts: Shannon Borders, 970-240-5399    

BLM Acquires Land in Three Southwest Colorado Counties (02-20-13)

DURANGO, Colo. –In February, the Bureau of Land Management received 40 patented mining claims in or adjacent to public lands in San Juan, Ouray and Hinsdale Counties from the Standard Metals Corporation.  This acquisition, totaling about 285 acres, is partial settlement for environmental damage at sites in Colorado, Arizona and Alaska.

The settlement, among the United States Department of Justice, the United States Environmental Protection Agency and Standard Metals in Case No. 98-49-H-CCCL, seeks to mitigate  damages for injury to, destruction of and loss of natural resources and surrounding riparian corridors.

The result of the acquisition assists in the consolidation of BLM holdings in a much-fragmented landscape near an area with a high value for recreation, mining history, cultural resources, visuals and wildlife habitat. Much of the acreage is above timberline and is part of the scenic vistas enjoyed by recreationists on the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway route between Silverton and Ouray in the Mineral Point vicinity. Additionally, several mining sites are also eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.

“The claims are part of a spectacular viewshed visible from several 4-wheel drive roads in the area, and the acquisition preserves the visual scenic integrity of the claims,” said Brad Dodd, BLM Tres Rios associate field manager.

Each Parcel was evaluated for environmental issues to ensure the acquisitions would not substantially increase the agencies’ environmental liability. Additionally, the Colorado Division of Reclamation Mining and Safety focused their safety closure work on these parcels, so most safety hazards were mitigated before the parcels became Federal property. A few remaining safety closures of abandoned mine shafts and adits are scheduled in the near future.

“With these sites now in public ownership, visitation opportunities are secured, and we now have the ability to interpret the sites and conduct further scientific investigations in the area,” said Dodd.

For more information, contact Dodd at or 970-385-1378.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

  15 Burnett Court      Durango, CO 81301  

Last updated: 02-20-2013