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Lander Field Office
Release Date: 07/20/10
Contacts: Sarah Beckwith    

Youth Group and BLM Improve Wyoming Ghost Town

In a beautiful spot near the Continental Divide in central Wyoming, a BLM-managed ghost town remains a silent witness to the heyday of Wyoming's gold mining era. After gold was discovered there in 1868, Miner's Delight became one of the state's earliest communities.

On a recent summer morning, Miner’s Delight was the location of a BLM and CORE (Conservation Outdoor Recreation Education) workday. The group worked for hours digging posts out of the ground that displayed old, illegible informational signs to make room for new interpretive exhibits. They also removed a rotting kiosk and repaired fences.

Struggling under the weight of a heavy, rotting post he was hauling up the dirt road to the parking area, one of the young volunteers said, "We like volunteering, even though we do all this work and don’t get paid for it. But it’s helping the environment and it’s helping people who visit to learn about this place."

Click on picture for full size images suitable for printing (all photos courtesy of the BLM).

Members of the CORE group explore the historic buildings at Miner’s Delight.BLM Recreation Technician Brandon Thielke entertains the group with stories about life at Miner’s Delight 150 years ago.The CORE group dug old sign posts out of the ground. These will soon be replaced with new, interpretive signs. Carrying the heavy, old posts out of Miner’s Delight took a little teamwork.

For the past ten years, CORE has taught young people how to have respect for all people and how to work together as a team. The 16 participants are all from Casper and many of them come from disadvantaged homes. CORE provides them with experiences they wouldn't normally have. "Most of these kids have never been in the mountains and have never camped," said longtime volunteer Ed Brennan. "Some of the kids who participate in three or four CORE group projects get really hooked on the Wyoming outdoors."

The group spent the previous day removing hazardous trees and branches from campsites in the BLM Atlantic City Campground, making it more defensible from wildfires. One of the boys proudly commented that "our group did all this work in just a few hours and it would have taken one BLM person a few days to do it."

The CORE group's time in the South Pass area wasn't all work and no play. Sitting among the rustling aspen and gold mining era cabins, BLM Recreation Technician Brandon Thielke told stories about life at Miner’s Delight when it was the region’s biggest money-maker.

"You thought you worked hard yesterday but imagine digging a pit all day and living here in the winter when it was 30 below," Thielke said. "With the cabins still standing you can really get a picture of what went on here about 150 years ago." Thielke encouraged the group to explore the area and they peered into the many doors and windows of the cabins and an old saloon.

Victor Orr, Violence Prevention Coordinator for the Self Help Center of Casper, said that he received funding ten years ago to start CORE. He has led several outings like this every summer since then. The groups do volunteer projects for the BLM, U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service, including an annual trip to Yellowstone National Park.

Orr recently received the Commissioner’s Award from the Department of Health and Human Services for outstanding leadership and service in the prevention of child abuse and neglect. When Ed Brennan mentioned that it was nice Orr was finally recognized for all his work with disadvantaged youth, Orr simply stated, "Believe me – I’m already rewarded. I’m rewarded every day."

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.

Lander Field Office   1335 Main      Lander, WY 82520-0589  

Last updated: 07-20-2010