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Contact: Keith Holliday, 509-633-3860 ext. 161
Under signature of Superintendent Debbie Bird, an area of Bossburg Flat and beach has been closed. The closure is in response to environmental sampling information recently provided to the National Park Service (NPS) by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that indicate lead and arsenic levels in this area may be a risk to human health.
When EPA provided the NPS this information in December of 2011, NPS staff put up temporary barriers and signs closing the area of concern. While investigating the Young America Mine's Mill Site near Bossburg, using field instruments, the EPA detected elevated levels of arsenic and lead in the soils and sediments on the shoreline and uplands at Bossburg.
Bossburg began as a mining camp for the Young America Mine that was operated by a number of different companies and leaseholders between 1885 and 1954. Originally known as Millington, then Young America, it was renamed Bossburg in 1892 in honor of two influential citizens, Chester S. Boss and John Bergh. The last operating feature of the town was the school which remained in operation until 1956.
At this time, there are a lot of questions remaining to be answered about this site. The NPS and EPA are working to determine the next steps, such as determining potential sources, better defining the contaminated area, and how best to clean up the area. In the meantime, the area will remain closed.