Mine shafts to close next summer | SummitDaily.com

Mine shafts to close next summer

SUMMIT COUNTY – Beginning next summer, the Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Minerals and Geology plans to undertake an effort to close more than 20 open mine shafts, stopes and adits in Horseshoe Basin near the town of Montezuma.

Stopes are underground excavations. Adits are horizontal openings.

The project is part of the department’s Inactive Mine Reclamation Program, which was established in 1980 to address the hazards and environmental problems that arise from abandoned mines. Since then, it has closed more than 6,000 openings and reclaimed 1,052 acres of abandoned strip mines statewide.

The Summit County project comes in response to increased usage of the region’s backcountry, said program supervisor Dave Bucknam.

“Summit County is outdoor

recreation-orientated, and a lot of people get out in the hills,” Bucknam said. “It’s just more and more public visitation in these areas that spurs interest in hopefully getting ahead of the people who might fall down (the openings).”

The department has already finished work in nearby areas such as French Creek and other parts of the Golden Horseshoe. Bucknam said some sites previously repaired in the TenMile Canyon have since been vandalized and the department will soon begin further repair work there.

Aidan Leonard can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or aleonard@summitdaily.com.

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