Keane Wonder Mine area closed

of Death Valley and vicinity
Rubiblue
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Keane Wonder Mine area closed

Post by Rubiblue » Sun Sep 14, 2008 3:43 pm

This was in the local RC newspaper in the last couple of days. Suspect it won't be the last.

http://www.nps.gov/deva/parknews/upload ... -11-08.pdf
Rubi with extra stuff

notquiteretired
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Post by notquiteretired » Wed Sep 17, 2008 9:14 am

and the next step is to declaire this wilderness since the roads are closed, that will keep the road closed for all time.
What is you hike up from the bottom?

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Post by D.A. Wright » Wed Sep 17, 2008 10:12 am

notquiteretired wrote:What is you hike up from the bottom?
You'd be breathing heavily since it's uphill, and as per the press release you'd be getting a lungfull of cyanide dust ... ;-)
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Post by Lewis » Wed Sep 17, 2008 10:19 am

That's too bad, I was planning on heading back out there to shoot some more photos. Maybe they heard I was coming ! :angry:

It's interesting that they also closed some of the less visited mines in the area.

Nowdays the BLM and NPS are making historical areas "safe" which usually means demolishing them.

The park service has been active in Joshua Tree sealing the old mines with foam. Perhaps they are planning the same thing here.

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ahamacav
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Post by ahamacav » Thu Sep 18, 2008 9:09 pm

I was wondering how long it would be before they closed the place up. I was there last February to shoot the springs and there were a few people running and climbing around the mill ruins like it was a jungle gym.

http://digital-desert.com/keane-wonder-mill/
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Original Bigfoot
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Post by Original Bigfoot » Sun Sep 28, 2008 12:30 am

I'm done supporting the National Park Service in any form. They raised the fees to access DVNP, using the usual "Big Lie" that it will be to fund more services and all sorts of "good stuff" for the public, and what results? More closures.

It's the same method as used by other government agencies: Pay more, get less.

It's time to de-fund the Park Service, and time to kick the feds off our land. They've proven again and again that they are fundamentally incapable of "managing" our lands, and merely close off from the public what they don't want to deal with. The NPS mission has been bastardized to the point it doesn't even remotely resemble what was envisioned by the creators of the Park Service.

Here's a new slogan for the NPS:

"Explore your public lands as your government allows."

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Post by D.A. Wright » Sun Sep 28, 2008 8:29 am

Here's a very interesting government document, explaining the hazards on BLM and NPS lands. It's a text document on the webpage; but copy and paste into Word or Notepad as the width of the text body is wider than the full screen mode in IE and requires very tedious scrolling back and forth to read every line. It's also very lengthy, over 30 pages if pasted in Word. But gives specifics as to the hazards of the Keane Wonder and other historic areas of California, Nevada and Arizona.

http://www.doioig.gov/upload/2008-G-00241.txt

Makes you wonder if they'll eventually fence off the Grand Canyon ... :roll: However, with the budget crisis, I doubt anything will happen for many years to come. Unless someone figures out a few bulldozers and operators don't cost much ... :shock: :evil:
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Alkali Bill
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Post by Alkali Bill » Sun Sep 28, 2008 8:41 am

This is reminiscent of what happened at Double Hot Spring. Somebody let their dog run loose at a remote boiling hot spring, the dog jumped in, got killed, the lady jumped in to save the dog, got killed, then the guy jumped and got severely burned and lived. So what happens next? He sues BLM for not warning them, wins 5 million bucks, and BLM puts a great big fence around the spring in what was a wilderness.

I feel sorry for the dog. :cry:
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MojaveGeek
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Post by MojaveGeek » Sun Sep 28, 2008 5:28 pm

D.A. Wright wrote:Here's a very interesting government document, explaining the hazards on BLM and NPS lands...
Very interesting find. Would seem that these are the guys we have to blame. What can the NPS do after a report like this comes out? "Advertising" the site and a road and parking lot, tsk tsk. Someone died falling in 25 years ago... and "there are still many more sites that need to be mitigated." Heck, they can close any part of the park that has a mine shaft now, and they will just be complying with their own inspector general.

Unless they could make Keane totally safe (completely unrealistic, probably, given limited budget and probably inclincation) it would be enticing the public to even allow access to the road to the Keane Mill.

I wonder if they will ticket cars parked on the pavement of the Beatty Cutoff if folks walk in? It's a nice walk; I've done it when the road was temporarily washed out. Sort of nice in there when no one can drive in. But of course they are enticing visitors if they don't enforce.

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ahamacav
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Post by ahamacav » Thu Oct 02, 2008 5:23 am

Original Bigfoot wrote:...
Here's a new slogan for the NPS:

"Explore your public lands as your government allows."
I'm just getting sick of this crap. I spent 3 days out in the middle of nowhere and just realized I shouldn't have been there because there were no route open signs.

Maybe those kids swinging on the pipe should have gotten themselves skewered. Then a closure would have made a little sense. You can bet anytime the rangers want to show off the Keane, they haul their friends right up there.

I got lucky a couple years ago and bought a senior pass for 10 bucks. It was confiscated last summer at Cabrillo in San Diego (cause I'm not old), but I have no plans to buy another regular pass ever unless forced/captured. In early, out late. I used to get an annual pass every year.

Another thing that pisses me off is the forest adventure pass. Used to be that the forest was at least one place you could go and enjoy nature if you were broke.

El Mirage is a fee area now. Used to be nice to go out and teach the kids to drive and have a little camping fun near the house. I haven't been out there, but I imagine it's like everything else, some meter maid in a goofy hat masquerading as a 'ranger.'

Went into a State visitor center last week, at least after the ranger (who I suspect was sleeping at the desk), unlocked the door for me.

And they ask for volunteers- sheesh.
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Post by Andrew » Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:11 pm

Has anyone tried to access the area since the closure?

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Candace_66
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Post by Candace_66 » Tue Nov 29, 2016 11:39 pm

Seems like its been a long time since the forum got a real update about this! :lol:

I recently inquired about Keane on a DV facebook page (either the Road Conditions or the general one for the Park, I don't remember which). I was told that two of the three problems at Keane had been addressed. Below is a blurb copied from the project page (linked farther down). The bolded part confirms what I was told: they sealed off the mine openings and stabilized the tramway.

So that leaves the problem of the contaminated soil. Farther down in the quote, this is addressed in detail.

If you go to the page I linked below, and then click on "Document List", you can look at the 2014 document. It goes into great detail about the contractor's soil studies.

It also has pictures of all the mine openings, before and after they were closed (either with bat gates or fencing). So we finally have visual proof that NPS has, in fact, made SOME progress toward making Keane safe for us all. :razz:
The National Park Service (NPS) seeks to evaluate the potential for release of hazardous constituents related to historical operations and waste management activities at the Keane Wonder Mine (Keane Site) in Death Valley National Park (DEVA). The Keane Site is a historic mining site located at the western slope of the Funeral Mountains in the Amargosa Range, on the eastern side of Death Valley.

From March 2007 to April 2008 the U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Inspection General conducted site inspections at numerous abandoned mines throughout California, Arizona, and Nevada to assess the public health and safety risks associated with the abandoned mines. The Keane Site was identified as a site where physical and environmental risks to the public exist.

In April 2008 DEVA employees used X-ray fluorescence technology to collect in-situ screening data for metals at two locations within the Keane Site. Citing both environmental concerns and the presence of physical and structural hazards at the mine site and surrounding area, Park officials closed the Keane Site area to the public and non-essential employees in 2008 to ensure public safety.

Between March 2010 and April 2011, the NPS completed extensive mitigation of all identified physical hazards at the Keane Site. The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided funds for mitigation of the mine safety hazards associated with the abandoned mine features and stabilization of the tramway.

In 2014, the NPS contracted with Environmental Cost Management, Inc. (ECM) to conduct a Preliminary Assessment (PA) at the Keane Site. The PA assessed threats posed to human health and the environment with respect to waste generated at the Keane Site including tailings resulting from milling of gold ore and subsequent cyanide and mercury processing activities. ECM's PA recommended additional investigation at the Keane Site consisting of soil sampling at selected locations around the mill tailings and ground water samples collected from the onsite well and nearby spring for background.

In 2015, the NPS contracted with ECM to conduct a Site Assessment at the Keane Site. As of April 2015, the Draft SI Report documents activities, results, conclusions, and recommendations with respect to metals and cyanide impacts from historic milling operations at the Keane Site and identifies concentrations of constituents of potential concern in soil and tailings that may pose threats to human health and the environment.

In anticipation of potential actions that may be required in order to mitigate potential threats to human health and the environment at the Keane Site, the NPS is moving forward with a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) response action of a non-time-critical removal action. This project addresses the need for an Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis (EE/CA), to be prepared by a selected contractor in order to evaluate removal action options in terms of effectiveness in addressing risks to human and environmental exposure, implementability, and cost. Upon completion of the EE/CA, the NPS will publish a notice of availability and brief description of the EE/CA and provide reasonable opportunity for public comment. Written responses to substantive public comments will be required. The selection of an appropriate removal action will be documented in an Action Memorandum signed by the Superintendent.
https://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHom ... ctID=58748

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TacoLand
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Post by TacoLand » Wed Nov 30, 2016 8:14 am

Thanks for sharing the update. I was lucky enough to see Keane Wonder Mine on my first trip to Death Valley about two years before it was closed. Looking forward to visiting again once they complete the work they deemed necessary for visitor safety. While I'm pretty confident in my own abilities and risk assessment, there are people that visit National Parks who make poor decisions and run the risk of injury or death ... so, I begrudgingly accept the necessity of such work. Plus it's not like I ran out of new things to check out in the park since I last visited Keane a decade ago.

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Candace_66
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Post by Candace_66 » Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:27 pm

Yeah, I'm glad I went up there before the closure! Visited the mill area, then hiked up to the mine area.

Perhaps what frustrates many is the fact all these hazards exist at so many abandoned mine sites in the West. But perhaps since this is in DVNP and relatively accessible, more precautions are warranted (shrug).

I imagine when (being optimistic here) it reopens, it will be a rather popular place, given how long its been off-limits. Personally, I'd love to hike up again...I still remember being astonished at the precariously perched tram towers and the effort it took to build all that.

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MojaveGeek
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Post by MojaveGeek » Fri Dec 02, 2016 7:33 pm

I'm not sure what all the items are in that list in the document, but I'd read this as "it ain't gonna open soon".

Many great hikes in that area. A super loop up past the upper mines to a junction near the Big Bell and an unmarked miner's trail heads over to the next canyon and the Big Bell Extension mines, whence down to the Johnny Cyty Mill. Also fun to hike around the canyon bottom below the road to the main Keane mining area. Of course a wonderful hike down from Chloride if you can arrange a pick up (I got that in one year, stunning!). King Midas is over in the next canyon south and it's pretty cool too, with lots of mining trails between it and the main Keane canyon; a good loop was had in there with a bit of scrambling.

Historical and good views all the time. The main Keane Wonder trail was a great introduction for noob desert hikers and mining fans.

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