NPS Response

AML Program
Remediation of safety and environmental issues at abandoned mineral lands is an expensive and important land management issue. The National Park Service is committed to maintaining a comprehensive, nationwide inventory of abandoned mineral lands, and works with other agencies to address the multitude of safety, environmental, and cultural issues raised by AML sites. The AML Program's five primary emphasis areas are:
The Service supports legislative efforts to create a hardrock mine reclamation fund similar to that created under the Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, which provides money for reclamation of coal mines.

Volunteer and Cooperative Projects

Each year, national parks benefit from the hard work of thousands of volunteers. Volunteers assist with the inventory of abandoned mines and wells, construction of mine closures, and revegetation of mine sites. Without volunteers, the National Park Service could not afford the labor-intensive projects. Often, the National Park Service uses outside specialists to conduct scientific research for restoration projects. The service established cooperative agreements with several other federal agencies, state agencies, and universities for the study environmental impairments in abandoned mineral land sites in park units.

Cultural Preservation

Many parks boast rich mining histories and are active in preserving and even reconstructing mining-related historic structures and landscapes. Three park units were established with the specific purpose of preserving the American mining heritage: Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park , Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, and Keewanaw National Historical Park. The first two of these parks commemorate the Alaskan gold rush of 1898, and the latter, established in 1992, celebrates the internationally significant copper mines in the upper Michigan peninsula. Evidence of earlier mining can also be viewed in the National Park System. Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument in Texas and Wupatki National Monument in Arizona preserve the remains of prehistoric extraction sites, and Pipestone National Monument in Minnesota protects the pipestone (red mudstone) quarries of the Yankton Sioux.

Interpretation and Education

The National Park Service wants people to know that mining and abandoned mineral lands are often part of the park scene. Mining interpretive displays and presentations are part of the program at several parks. In other parks, special regional events such as discoveries and local gold rushes are commemorated. Visitor centers often have books on mining history and folklore. Educators have recognized that parks make excellent classrooms. Mining-related topics are used to enhance school curricula in history, geography, science, and even art. Some national parks and state agencies offer school outreach programs, including abandoned mineral lands safety information for children.

Last updated: December 18, 2015


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