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Cache Creek Area

The BLM completed an Environmental Assessment and signed a decision on February 23, 2016 in order to manage an increasing demand in recreational placer activities in the Cache Creek acquisition parcel. The intent of this assessment is to analyze actions that reduce impacts to other important resources located within the parcel including riparian areas, water quality, fisheries, and wildlife habitat while also providing for public health and safety.

Public Engagement Documents

02.23.2016 - Final Environmental Assessment and Decision Record posted

06.08.2015 - Buisness Plan posted

12.03.2014 - Draft Environmental Assessment available for public review

12.03.2014 - Press release - Cache Creek EA out for public comment

12.03.2014 - Comment period runs from Dec. 5, 2014 through Jan. 9, 2015.

Project Documents

Draft Environmental Assessment (Dec. 2014)

Buisness Plan (June 2015)

Final Environmental Assessment (Feb. 2016)      

Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI Feb. 2016)   

Decision Record (Feb. 2016)

Previous Documents

March 2014 draft proposed action can be found here (scoping document).
The scoping letter can be found here.

For more information, or to submit a comment, please contact Kalem Lenard, 719-269-8538 or email  


Brief History

The Cache Creek placer area is located west of the town of Granite in northern Chaffee County.  Cache Creek flows into the Arkansas River just below the Granite Bridge.View of Cache Creek Area

Cache Creek was one of Colorado’s largest and most productive hydraulic mining operations that operated from 1860 to 1911.  Water used for hydraulicking activities was diverted from Lake Creek to Cache Creek via the 16-mile long Cache Creek Ditch which was completed in 1863.  Nearly $3,000,000 in gold is reported to have been produced from the placers of Cache Creek and some high-grade gravel remains!
Small independent placer mining first took place along Cache Creek from 1860 to 1863.  Significant increases in production took place in 1884 with the introduction of “booming” and again in 1889 when hydraulic placer mining was introduced.  These operations continued until 1911 when the entire operation was shut down in one of Colorado’s first environmental lawsuits.  

Since major mining operations ended, a slow and natural recovery of the Cache Creek area began.  The Bureau of Land Management recently acquired the land that includes Cache Creek.  This acquisition was made primarily for wildlife habitat and open space but it is also recognized for its significant mining history.  The Cache Creek Area has been of interest to the small scale placer mining community because placer gold was left behind when major operations were shut down in 1911. 

Placer Area Activities

BLM acquired the Cache Creek Area in 2002 to protect important wildlife, aquatic and riparian values and to offer recreational-level placer activities which consist of non-motorized and non-mechanized methods of mineral collection such as panning. This area is not open to the 1872 Mining Law.


We strongly recommend camping only at developed campgrounds in the area based on limited parking, developed facilities. Developed camping facilities are available along the Arkansas River and near Twin Lakes and Clear Creek reservoirs. 
The camping regulations apply to individuals camping on public lands in undeveloped locations and for relatively short durations for recreational purposes.