Legality of entering mines in DVNP

of Death Valley and vicinity
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DVWanderer
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Legality of entering mines in DVNP

Post by DVWanderer » Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:03 am

Curious if there any solid rules/regulations/laws on the books for entering abandoned mines in the Park? If found exploring underground, are there penalties? Can they tell you not to go in?

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Gowergulch42
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Post by Gowergulch42 » Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:58 am

Only if it's a closed area, like Keane Wonder. Otherwise they can warn until the cows come home.
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Keane Wonder Status

Post by BozBronco » Mon Jun 23, 2014 1:21 pm

Speaking of the Keane Wonder Mine: Does anyone know when the area will be open again ?

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Gowergulch42
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Re: Keane Wonder Status

Post by Gowergulch42 » Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:28 pm

BozBronco wrote:Speaking of the Keane Wonder Mine: Does anyone know when the area will be open again ?
I didn't even see it mentioned in the five-year plan. I could be wrong though.
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Dezdan
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Post by Dezdan » Wed Jun 25, 2014 7:27 pm

Mines are illegal to enter in DEVA as of ~July 2012. It is listed in the 2012 and 2013 Superintendent’s Compendium:
All mines and caves are closed to the public unless otherwise posted.
This closure is for visitor health and safety and for resource protection.

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Post by Gowergulch42 » Wed Jun 25, 2014 7:46 pm

Well then. It appears I am an error.
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Post by DVWanderer » Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:12 pm

DEZDAN - are some folks exempt from this rule then?!

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Post by Dezdan » Thu Jun 26, 2014 6:41 pm

Only if permission is granted from the Superintendent, and/or a research permit is issued. Only other folks who could legally enter a mine in DEVA are the parks AML staff.

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Post by BozBronco » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:40 pm

Probably a good idea just to stay out of them. It's not so much a chance of collapse but more to the side tunnels and drops.

By the way, checked on the Keane Wonder Mine area... no immediately plans to open it due to cyanide contamination and mine hazards. DV lacks funding to clean it up.

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Post by ETAV8R » Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:49 pm

Well that's what the NPS says. People went there for years with no reports of cyanide poisoning. People visit many mining areas that used cyanide for processing with no ill effect.

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Post by BozBronco » Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:54 am

I agree at least in principle, but look at from the standpoint of the NPS. "Mine safety" is a tricky business for the government and Death Valley probably has the biggest problem with it. Consider what a typical tourist would do if he/she had just visited the Keane Wonder Mine area and then got sick from something unknown... another lawsuit. I don't envy the superintendent... millions of people coming through the park, many with the misconception that the place should be as safe as their own bed. When they get hurt, the last thing they accept is any potential danger.
Here's something else from the NPS side: They spent a bunch of very precious money stabilizing the structures at Keane just to preserve it for DV crazies like me. Then, they closed it.... why do think that happened ? Was it a cruel joke or something we should blame ourselves for.

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Post by Candace_66 » Fri Jun 27, 2014 7:20 pm

Cyanide processing vats at the Tumco site in southern California...apparently the BLM isn't as concerned about cyanide?

Image

Image

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Post by sheepranch » Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:56 pm

Nice finds Candace , saw those 2 weeks ago , wondered what they were. A few of us were out riding dirt , we were staged close to Yuma , and ran across that 'ghost town' . You say that site is in California ? We had gone 70 miles by that time. Interesting , what was the cyanide for ??
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Post by BozBronco » Sat Jun 28, 2014 12:04 am

I would argue that BLM is or should be just as concerned regarding the safety of a mine site as the NPS. There are no less than nine pieces of legislation (thanks to your Congress at work) that mandates the BLM mitigate any mine hazards identified on public lands. Therefore, don't misconstrue inactivity at some abandoned mine site as lack of concern on the part of the BLM. More than likely, it simply lack of funding to do something about it. Or in the case of the old Tumco mine site... some government tech probably sampled the area and found the cyanide in the soil had either been contained or long since washed away. Based on the recent gold mining done in the area, I'll bet the overall site has checked out safe... given the collections of laws modern mining faces these days.

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Post by MojaveGeek » Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:09 am

My understanding is that DEVA was visited by someone from the Inspector General's Office in DC and that person wrote up a report highlighting the "liabilities" of Keane. Legally, it is even worse because with the parking area and all the NPS could be said to encourage use, which increases damages.

Faced with that, I'm sure the Super had little choice but to shut it down and pretend it was going to be fixed up. Some day.

Some of this action stemmed from at least one lawsuit against BLM for someone riding an ATV into an open shaft.

It is sad to lose such a scenic and historic area.

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