Last updated 11:16PM ET
December 14, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Red Mountain Project Reaches A Milestone
(2007-08-16)
Work is now underway to secure the Yankee Girl Mine headwall, which lies within the Red Mountain Project area. (Photo: Red Mountain Project Task Force, Bob Risch)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: A major historic preservation effort north of Durango, involving millions of dollars in property acquisition, has reached a signfiicant milestone which is being celebrated this weekend.
In the second of two reports, KSUT's Victor Locke today looks at progress involving the Red Mountain Project.

VICTOR: Drive north of Durango on the San Juan Million Dollar Highway north of Silverton, and you cross Red Mountain Pass.
Look beyond the spectacular views, and you'll see the remains of what was once a thriving mining industry.
This Saturday, a small group will gather at the Crystal Lake Picnic area near Red Mountain to celebration a milestone reached by the Red Mountain Project, which was begun in the late 1990's.
The group was formed to try and secure lands in the Red Mountain area no longer used for mining, that could have fallen into the hands of private developers and others.
Bob Risch is chairman of the project.
RISCH: WE HAVE SUCCEEDED IN THAT EIGHT YEARS IN INVESTING SOMEWHERE IN THE VICINITY OF $13 MILLION, TO ACQUIRE IN THE VICINITY OF 8-THOUSAND 500-ACRES OF MINING CLAIMS IN THE RED MOUNTAIN DISTRICT AND PUT THEM IN PUBLIC DOMAIN.
8-thousand 500 acres puts the Project at 80-percent of their goal of obtaining 10-thousand 500 acres, cause for this weekend's celebration.
The 13-million dollars the project has spent came mostly from federal land and water conservation funds.
RISCH: MOST OF THAT IS IN THE FOREST, THE UNCOMPAGHRE NATIONAL FOREST. THERE ARE A COUPLE OF HUNDRED ACRES OF THAT THAT HAVE BECOME COUNTY PARK LANDS. AND WE ALSO HAVE 23 ACRES OF LAND THAT WERE ACQUIRED BY AN INDIVIDUAL AND HIS WIFE AND PUT INTO CONSERVATION EASEMENTS AND ALSO PROTECTED FOR PUBLIC PRESERVATION.
That 23 acres includes the Yankee Girl Mine Headwall which is now being stabilized and preserved.
RISCH: THE YANKEE GIRL HAS BEEN KIND OF KEY TO THIS THING FROM THE BEGINNING BECAUSE IT'S THE MOST PROMINENT STRUCTURE FROM THE OLD MINING ERA BACK IN THE 19TH CENTURY THAT IS VISIBLE FROM THE SAN JUAN SKYWAY, OR THE MILLION DOLLAR HIGHWAY. IT WAS ACTUALLY THAT BUILDING THAT WAS KIND OF PUT AT RISK ABOUT NINE YEARS AGO THAT KIND OF TRIGGERED US TO DO SOMETHING TO TRY AND PRESERVE IT.
Risch says acquiring the land is really just the beginning.
RISCH: THE FOREST SERVICE NEEDS TO FIGURE OUT HOW THEY WANT TO ADMINISTER THESE NEW LANDS. THEY NEED TO MAKE DECISIONS ON WHAT TRAILS WILL BE OPENED, WHAT ROADS WILL BE OPENED, WHAT KIND OF RECREATION WILL BE ENCOURAGED.
Numerous mining structures acquired by the project will need to be inventoried, secured and protected, such as the work now underway on the Yankee Girl, all work that will be done, as funds become available.
Risch says ultimately the Red Mountan Project hopes to publish guides so those using the property can better appreciate what it offers naturally, and historically, telling stories about those who once lived and worked, in the Red Mountain area.
RISCH: I THINK IT'S SO HARD FOR US TO LOOK BACK AND REALIZE HOW THESE MANY THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE COULD LIVE IN THAT ENVIRONMENT, ESPECIALLY THROUGH THE WINTER. THAT'S AN IMPRESSIVE AMOUNT OF SNOW THAT CAN LAND UP THERE. IT'S AMAZING, THE MORE YOU LEARN ABOUT IT, THE MORE IMPRESSED YOU ARE WITH WHAT THEY WERE CAPABLE OF.
From KSUT, Four Corners Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.
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