Hitch lead: Shannon Apgar-Kurtz
For the first hitch I worked with the Forest Service. My agency contact is a geologist who spends about three-quarters of her time working with the abandoned mines program and the other quarter working with minerals administration. For the abandoned mines program she surveys them to see what’s at the site and of they pose a danger to the public.
On Tuesday and Wednesday of the first week, the two Forest Service employees who actually close the abandoned mine adits and shafts for the region were in the Challis area closing mines. Over the two days, we closed three adits with steel grates that were welded to the rock to prevent the public from going in but allow them to look in and two shafts. The shafts are closed with foam that is similar to the same foam used to insulate homes.
The other days were spent checking one abandoned mine that a mining company is interested in operating again. My contact wanted to make sure that the company wasn’t starting work without paying their bond. Any type of mining on Forest Service land has a bond so that if the miner or company walks away without reclaiming the area the Forest Service has the money to do it for them. My contact and another geologist also spent time looking for an adit that firefighters found and looking at a conglomerate of abandoned mines for any missed adits and shafts.