A Legacy of Our Search for Mineral Wealth

There are approximately 38,000 Abandoned Mineral Lands (AML) features in park areas. These features include old mine structures, shafts, and adits; abandoned and orphaned oil and gas wells; related infrastructure; buildings and foundations; and equipment and tools. AML sites and features can pose physical safety hazards and cause impacts to natural and cultural resources, but they can also be important cultural resources, provide habitat for wildlife, and support visitor education and enjoyment. Some park units were established, in part, to preserve and commemorate America’s mining and mineral history. Deserted, these sites stand in silent testimony to those who pioneered this country in search of wealth and freedom.

The lead NPS office for AML management and reclamation is the Geologic Resources Division (GRD). GRD is responsible for the funding, coordination, and oversight of AML projects for both mine sites and oil and gas sites.  

A ranger surveys a dangerous mine opening

Understanding Abandoned Mineral Lands

Abandoned Mineral sites in our National Parks may contain many hazards, but are also important cultural resources and wildlife habitat

Quincy Mine Hoist House

Visit Mining Heritage Sites

The legacy of mining can be found in many parks

two people standing in a field with rolling hills in the background

AML Program Activities

NPS actions to address safety, environmental, and cultural resource concerns

Last updated: December 3, 2021


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