Sometimes, a small group of dedicated individuals comes together against a Goliath. Save South Park is such a group. Our "goliath" is irresponsible mining in our area and its threats are multifaceted. They include contamination of air, surface water and groundwater by mining wastes, disruption of peaceful mountain environments, antiquated mining laws, greed by large, out-of-county companies and short-sighted decisions made by our local politicians.
The main goal of our 501(c)(3)organization is to help enact plans and policies that will minimize the public health and environmental damage caused locally and downstream from mining activities. These plans and policies will help protect water quality, biodiversity, public health effects and quality of life impacts to residents, property owners and visitors.
We are a passionate group of caring individuals donating our time, money and skills to help preserve a healthy environment for this and future generations. Please help us to protect this sacred hydrological and ecological wonder that is South Park. We invite you to join us.
You can donate through various links on this website.
You can bring your passion for your community and your environment and become a volunteer. We need help with a variety of activities including promotion of responsible mining, fundraising, social media communications, community awareness and outreach, legal actions, research, and communication with Federal, State and local agencies to name a few tasks. Email us with questions.
Help spread the word!
The images above are from 1964 and 2017 and show how new mining has changed a once peaceful and beautiful valley.
Which represents YOUR vision for the future?
ISSUES & CONCERNS
Spot Zoning. Our County Commissioners recently rezoned 28 acres of residentially zoned property to mining. This decision could set a precedent that could increase mining activities adjacent to residential homes and property. Mining could happen in your backyard next unless we send a clear message through legal action to our County Commissioners.
Potential damage to the Middle Fork of the South Platte River through release of mercury and sediment from dredge piles. This includes potential mercury exposure to mine workers and local residents. See our mercury report.
Ground water disturbance which is allowed by permit of some mines and potential contamination.
NOISE and hours of operation.
Decreasing property values.
The loss of the right of residents to peaceful enjoyment of their homes, property and local environment.
South Park is a Natural Heritage Area which means it's a special place that needs protection for its natural beauty and resources.
Outdoor recreation is a billion dollar industry that could be eliminated from South Park because of irresponsible mining affecting views, rivers, and peacefulness.
Forest Service and BLM Land - With the increase of gold prices and exposure, such as the Gold Rush TV show which was filmed in Fairplay, mining companies are evaluating any and every possible piece of land for extraction potential. Due to old, outdated mining laws the BLM cannot deny an application to mine, as long as the operator completes an environmental assessment. This assessment is a toothless tool that gets filed away after submittal without any requirement for mitigation of environmental impacts.
To Whom It May Concern,
We, the Concerned Homeowners of Park County, are not against mining. One cannot be a member of society today without understanding the need for mining to supply the items prevalent in our modern lifestyle. We support responsible mining. We trust and hope that mining is done responsibly everywhere to supply the needed materials for the goods that we purchase and use. We cannot speak to mines we have not seen, but we can to the operations here in our county. The large and expanding operations here in South Park are not consistent with responsible mining.
People say that mining is part of our heritage and therefore these new operations are simply an extension of our past. There are two errors with that argument. First, people, communities, and towns grow and change. Just because something is part of the past does not mean it belongs in the present or future. Human history is littered with many meaningful examples of shifting and progressing values and priorities. This is further illustrated with our knowledge of this community. In our combined decades here, we have not encountered a single person who moved here to mine and know only a few who are involved in the industry. Mining, while still here and a small piece of the community, is no longer an integral part of South Park.
Secondly, our mining history involved burros and pick axes. Mining with machinery that can flatten an acre in less than a day right next to a home is not part of the heritage of Park County. Technology has progressed the industry to where it is no longer compatible with residential areas of our county. This was not an issue in the past, with remote mountain mining operations and few full-time, long-term residents.
The County Commissioners recently rezoned a parcel of land from "residential" to "mining". The miners then petitioned for a hard rock mining permit. We have three concerns with this decision. First, the precedent set with the change in zoning is troubling. With over 2000 mining claims in this county, we are all at risk to lose all that we have worked for with our land, home values, to say nothing of the lifestyle and ecology that brought many of us here to live and work in the mountains. Second, the Commissioners went against the recommendations of the County Planning Department, the Planning Commission, and the wishes of the community by granting this rezoning, and made this decision under unclear priorities. Lastly, hard rock mining is different from placer mining. The changed permit and rezone allows the miners to utilize extensive blasting and different chemicals, changing the nature of their operation to more aggressive and invasive methods, which could lead to additional unforeseen complications.
This escalation in mining in our residential areas increases long and short term risks to the community. Some of the risks include surface water pollution, groundwater pollution, air pollution from dust and machinery, noise pollution, scarred landscape, disrupted wildlife patterns, decreased property values, decreased tourism, and reduced recreational opportunities, all of which make for significant negative changes in the quality of life for the residents of Park County. The miners will collect their gold, enjoy their television glory, and move on, leaving us to pick up the pieces of our community.
If you have read this far, thank you, and please consider a Donation or Get Involved - we welcome your contribution of money and/or time. Let's fight for our county, our way of life and the futures of our children.
~ September 7, 2017