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.