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Going for the Gold
Miners Once Again Propose Drilling Near Yellowstone Park


One of the concerns of the gold mines proposed north of Yellowstone National Park is that mine runoff would go into the Yellowstone River, here pictured flowing through Hayden Valley.
Photo: NPS

Concerns over Yellowstone National Park's ecosystem subverted gold mining near the park's northeast entrance in Cooke City, Montana in the 1990s.

Now, the gold miners are back.

In this year's centennial celebration of the National Park Service, the National Parks Conservation Association is encouraging people to send an online form petition letter to U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to protect Yellowstone from two gold mining proposals along the park's northern border, one within view of Roosevelt Arch.


Roosevelt Arch is at the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park. There are two gold mining proposals along the park's northern border, one within view of the iconic arch.
Photo: NPS RG Johnsson.

The first gold mine proposal is near Emigrant about 30 miles north of Gardiner, Montana. There, Lucky Minerals of Canada wants to drill some 20 exploration holes on private land in the mountains above Emigrant. The mining company has said the mine would not be developed for 5 to 15 years if given permission to start drilling. The other proposed site is Jardine, Montana, where wants to mine gold. The Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality has requested Crevice Mining Group submit new plans for the Jardine site.

Yellowstone, our first national park, still has its natural beauty, and visitors can still see bison (don't approach them!), moose, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep and bears. (Ed note: In the 1960s while visiting Yellowstone with my family, we counted the bears we saw. We stopped at 100. Black bears would walk right up to the guest cabins at Fishing Bridge to forage the trash cans, with children following close by!). Today, the NPS reports there are approximately 150 bears who range wholly or partially in the park; with 674-839 bears in Greater Yellowstone. Greater Yellowstone and northwest Montana are the only areas south of Canada that still have large grizzly bear populations.

NPS warns the idyllic landscapes and animal range of the park could be forever changed unless people speak out against the large-scale mining proposals. "Yellowstone is worth far more than gold," says NPS in the petition letter. "These mines could have disastrous consequences on important waterways and wildlife, as well as the local community and the park. It's time to reaffirm our commitment to protecting our national parks."

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October 19, 2018, 11:43 am PDT

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