Whereas the Star Mining District and San Francisco Mining Districts were formed prior to the enactment

of the 1872 Mining Lawsi and constitute a regional historic site with national significanceii, and Whereas both mining districts located just west of Milford in Beaver County, State of Utah have played a significant role in the development of the American West, and Whereas the City of Milford has a 134 year history of supporting and supplying the rich human component to mining (1873-2007), and Whereas there is an undisputed need for a Historic Mining Initiativeiii to save the physical remains of one of the most dramatic themes in American history—hard rock mining in the West, and Whereas mining areas are distinct historical vernacular cultural landscapes including the communities shaped as a result of said mining activity that need to be studied, interpreted, evaluated and preserved, and Whereas the historic integrity of a mining landscape is compromised by reclamation efforts, and Whereas the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining (DOGM) has documented several cases of inadvertent damage to cultural resources while conducting reclamation activitiesiv, and Whereas it is not enough to merely identify a National Register (NR) eligible site without actually nominating said sitesv, and Whereas features below the ground hold much information about changes in mining practices through successive eras, but regrettably DOGM reclamation contractsvi prohibit consultants and contractors from documenting underground features and even entering the mines they are closing, and Whereas the cultural and historical significance of mining landscapes is the ability to convey the nature of the relationship of humansvii and their environmentviii over time, THEREFORE, the Milford City Council hereby passes this resolution in support of Gold Rush Expeditions Inc. campaign to bring to the public light the anticipated closures of hundreds of cultural features that comprise the rich legacy of the historical mining landscape of the surrounding districts nearby to Milford and supports GRE efforts to organize volunteers to survey, document, record and nominate the historic values while holding the DOGM accountable for a more thorough National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) Section 106 review of proposed federally funded actions to demolish and backfill mining features in our backyard.

Milford supports GRE’s efforts to monitor the reclamation activities to ensure historic values and landscapes are not compromised.


See e.g. Utah State Archives and Records Service STAR MINING DISTRICT (UTAH) RECORDER MINING RECORDS 1870-1897, Series 23996 (2 microfilm reels) and Series 23995 for the SAN FRANCISCO MINING DISTRICT (3 microfilm reels) ii Significance of these districts include the fact that Jay Gould, financier of the Civil War, helped bring the railroad from Sandy, Utah down to Milford in order to access the Horn Silver Mine’s ore. Beaver County is the site of the first metal mining in the State. The Star District is a prime example of a district populated with individual miners who worked an area without the typical consolidation into large mining concerns that controlled an entire area. iii First proposed by Eric DeLony (Chief and Principal Architect, Historic American Engineering Record, National Park Service, Washington, D.C.) in the 1990s, the Initiative was a response to the fact that while archeological remains are extensive, little is left of the extant surface structures of Western mining operations—the headframes, mills, cyanide plants and smelters that processed the ore extracted from the ground. Historic mining structures are threatened with governmentwide reclamation programs close abandoned mine openings and remove potential liabilities like old mill buildings and headframes. (Quoted in Death Valley to Deadwood, Kennecott to Cripple Creek: Proceedings of the Historic Mining Conference January 23-27, 1989 p 8) iv Chris Rohrer, Death Valley to Deadwood, p. 85. Curiously, Chris states in this report how a severe, but unanticipated adverse effect was mitigated. He later defined mitigation as the preservation of “key values of something at risk…even if the item itself cannot be saved.” He goes on to admit that Utah has used sub-HABS/HAER documentation to mitigate adverse effects several times, particularly when the value has low integrity. Lastly, the concept of anticipatory demolition is discussed as well (When the Big Picture is too Big: A Simpler Alternative to HABS/HAER, pp. 1, 3) v The Utah DOGM does not see itself in the role of nominating sites they inventory and document. The opportunity is left to others. vi See e.g. REQUEST FOR STATEMENTS OF INTEREST For Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program Reclamation Engineering and Design - San Francisco Project Solicitation Number NO7514, page 17 states clearly that “Archaeologists are not permitted to go underground. No underground surveys are required.” On Page 20 it is repeated that “No subsurface remains need to be evaluated.” On Page 30 it says “The following services and work are to be excluded from this contract, not considered WORK in this AGREEMENT, and/or will be completed by the OWNER: Environmental Assessment and compliance with Endangered Species Act, landowner consent for right of entry, any and all work requiring entering underground mine workings (this activity is extremely hazardous and is prohibited)…” However, the consultant is expected to assess the hazard potential of a mine feature without entering it-- Page 21: ”CONSULTANT shall assess the potential hazard and cultural significance at each mine feature and recommend the appropriate reclamation action… .” . Also of note is that DOGM specifically frowns upon securing a detailed cultural report from its consultants—page 17 “CONSULTANT shall research and write a historical overview of the project area. The historical overview must be sufficient to establish the necessary context to assess National Register eligibility. It should be based on a variety of information sources including local and regional libraries and museums. A lengthy treatise is not expected.” vii Oral Histories should be immediately compiled by volunteers who seek out and record the life experiences of many of Milford’s residents. viii Photos, and videos should be secured of the current environmental status of cultural features before any further reclamation takes place. It may be important also to document the inventory and the reclamation itself, to ensure that the promises made by DOGM are in fact carried out. [They have assured the public that cultural resources will be protected, that work will stop if new values are discovered, yet in their own contract proposal procedures are in place and instructional guidelines are referenced on how a demolition would be conducted. ]

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