RECENT AND ONGOING EFFORTS TO PROTECT PUBLIC SAFETY
♦ Staff from the Abandoned Mine Lands Unit (AMLU), the National Park Service, and the California State Lands Commission in April completed the closure of four hazardous abandoned mine features on state lands within Joshua Tree National Park in Riverside County. Two features were closed with bat-friendly gates, another sealed with polyurethane foam (PUF), and a steel cable net covering a shaft was repaired.
♦ Several adits (a tunnel with one entrance) were closed April 23 at the Blue Light Mine in Orange County, where two brothers were killed by poisonous gas while exploring in 2002. Although the adit they entered has long since been sealed, another nearby adit was closed with a bat-friendly gate and three other adits were sealed with PUF closures. The abandoned mine is on land owned by the U.S. Forest Service.
♦ Six vertical shafts – one 300 feet deep – have been closed at the Gold Bug Mine complex in Ridgecrest, Kern County in conjunction with the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and local Eagle Scouts. Once a significant gold mine, the Gold Bug is in an area that draws many outdoor enthusiasts and is near a community college. The shafts were covered with “cupolas” that keep people out while allowing bats and birds to enter and leave. The site ultimately will become an interpretive site highlighting the hazards and conservation issues with abandoned mines.
♦ The last week of April, AMLU staff installed fences around three mine features near a walking trail at the California Department of Fish & Game Ecological Reserve in Bonny Doon. AMLU’s first remediation project in Santa Cruz County preceded the reopening of the reserve to the public following a wildfire.
♦ The California Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks) and the AMLU partnered to backfill six shafts using a bulldozer May 4-8 in Red Rock Canyon State Park, Kern County.
♦ In early June, two concrete plugs with drainage were installed on adits that run under the City of Folsom. The adits, on U.S. Bureau of Reclamation land managed by California State Parks, are near a bike path near the historic district. It was AMLU’s first project in Sacramento County.
♦ A shaft that was the scene of a 1991 fatality in Gold Park, BLM land in Riverside County, was sealed with a bat-friendly cupola in early June. The cupola replaced a barbed wire fence installed after the accident.
♦ In early June, four projects were completed on the Tahoe National Forest in Placer County. This included the installation of two bat-friendly culvert gates, the pouring of two PUF plugs, the backfill of three other hazardous mine openings, and the removal and disposal of two collapsed abandoned mine related structures.