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Death Valley National Park Receives Land Donation

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Date: April 5, 2011
Contact: Cheryl Chipman - NPS, 760-786-3207
Contact: Susan Keefe - Rio Tinto, 303-713-5055

U.S. Borax Inc. – a company that began mining borates in Death Valley in 1872 and played an instrumental role in protecting the land as a national monument in the 1930s – has donated 110 acres of land and associated mineral rights to Death Valley National Park. A dinner to mark the latest donation in a century-long preservation effort was held last month at the Furnace Creek Inn, which was also built by U.S. Borax. The land had associated mining claims since the late 19th century. U.S. Borax became part of Rio Tinto in 1976.

"We appreciate the company’s generosity for the donation to Death Valley National Park. The property is directly on the park’s boundary and we are grateful for the opportunity to protect the area for its historic and resource values. This donation to the people of the United States highlights the extraordinary partnership that has existed between the company and Death Valley National Park from the moment of the park’s inception." remarked Park Superintendent Sarah Craighead.

The donated site is located east of the Death Valley NP boundary and adjacent to the Dante’s Peak Rd. The site consists of three patented claims of undeveloped land. Included are the Hope patented lode claim (21 acres), Fag end patented placer claim (70 acres), and the Oversight patented lode claim (20 acres).

Review of historical sources found that the site has been undeveloped since 1910. Mineral prospecting has occurred on site as recently as 1988, but there is no evidence of mining activities. An environmental assessment was performed by Versar, Inc., and concluded that that the assessment did not reveal evidence of any recognized environmental conditions or concerns at this site.

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