Amid contamination concerns, White River National Forest seeks input on plans to modernize abandoned mine |

Amid contamination concerns, White River National Forest seeks input on plans to modernize abandoned mine

Dillon District Ranger Adam Bianchi speaks about updates to the White River National Forest management plan during a meeting in Frisco on Dec. 14, 2022.
Robert Tann/Summit Daily News

The White River National Forest is seeking public comment on a proposed reclamation of the Burke Martin Mine near the town of Montezuma in an effort to avoid metal contamination of the Snake River, according to an April 10 news release. 

The site is a former silver, lead and zinc mine northeast of the base of Glacier Mountain in Summit County which operated from the late 1880s to the 1960s. Water flow from the mine’s entrance across a mine waste pile risks contaminating the Snake River watershed with metals such as cadmium and zinc, according to the Forest Service. 

The federal agency is proposing consolidating the waste and covering it in native soil that would then allow for revegetation with native plants. The draining water would be rerouted around the mine waste pile through a lined ditch. Stormwater and erosion control infrastructure would also be added. 

District ranger Adam Bianchi said his organization believes this approach will be the most feasible and effective in preventing heavy metals from continuing to enter the watershed over the long term. 

The proposed plan and its costs are available to read at Comments need to be received by May 9. If approved, reclamation work is expected to begin this summer, according to the news release. 

Questions should be directed to Olivia Garcia, abandoned mine land coordinator, at 970-945-3220 or Adam Bianchi at 970-262-3451.

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