View Full Version : Eureka, UT : Our History Under Fire

07-24-2008, 08:58 PM
As a child I was always fascinated by the small semi-ghost town of
Eureka. When we passed through it on our way to the latest family
adventure my imagination ran wild. The rustic landscape dotted with
tailing piles and giant wood headframes filled my mind with visions of
the past. I could imagine the hustle and bustle of miners as they
chiseled away at a silver vein and I could almost smell the
locomotives as they hauled ore off to the mills.

Eureka was a piece of history right of a wild west novel. Childhood dreams emerged into
teenage adventures as I continued to visit Eureka and many of its
prominent mines. I spent hours hiking around studying minerals in the
mine dumps, watching the owls and falcons native to the area, and
journeying deep into the workings of some of the west's most
historical mines. Today even though I am much older I still continue
to explore many of Utah's mines and mining towns, but It was here in
Eureka that I found my love for Utah's dying history.

The Utah Department of Oil Gas and Mining's (DOGM) Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program is charged with reclaiming abandoned mine areas
under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. It is
the AMR programs ultimate goal to backfill, gate, or blast every
abandoned mine opening in the state. This all sounds great doesn't it?
Sure it does, until you visit some of the sites that DOGM has finished
working on. Some of you may have visited Jacob City before the DOGM
destroyed it in the 80's. No one can deny how much damage has been
done to the structures and mines in the Jacob City area. Eureka has
seen its fair share of DOGM abuses in the past. In April 1986 a
contractor working for DOGM was preparing the collar of the Bullion
Beck Headframe, a National Register Historic Site, for a steel
"safety" grate. In direct opposition to contractual guidelines and
federal law, the skip guides were smashed down with a backhoe. They
fell down and became lodged in the shaft, so the contractor doused
them with gasoline and set them afire. The cribbing around the collar
smoldered and burned for weeks. Does this sound like the type of
people we want responsible for working on and around our National
Register Historic Sites?

The latest DOGM proposal is to spend over $400,000 to destroy
116 mines in the Eureka-Mammoth area. This is a very real threat to
our mining history! I personally attended the pre-bid meeting and saw
exactly what they have planned for Eureka. How is one to study a mine
and its workings when 200 cubic yards of the mine dump have been
thrown down the shaft? What of the natural caves and other wonders

that are know to exist inside Eureka's mines? What about the owls that
nest in many of Eureka's shafts and portals? DOGM's solution is to
place a cement wall and hundreds of yards of backfill into all the
mine entrances, effectively sealing them off forever. I especially
have concerns about the Eagle-Bluebell lift, a National Historic
Register Site. In order to place the proposed gate on the shaft they
will have to disturb the lift itself. Are we going to see another
Bullion Beck type disaster? I hope we can all band together and make
DOGM rethink its actions in Eureka, especially in regards to all the
proposed backfills.

Don't let DOGM spend our hard earned tax dollars to erase one of
Utah's last historic mining districts! They have already destroyed far
too much of our precious history. For
more ideas on how you can help, visit our website at
www.helpmojaveunderground.com (http://www.helpmojaveunderground.com/)

Stuart Burgess
Mojave Underground

Natalie's Boots
07-25-2008, 07:28 AM
That's just not right. In the few weeks I've been hanging around here I've heard nothing but trouble about the DOGM. I can't believe they'd even consider just destroying such a quantity of historic landmarks. Obviously the folks who run the Abandoned Mine Reclamation program haven't actually BEEN to any of these locations they seem so keen on destroying.

07-25-2008, 11:48 AM
It really is quite sad. The DOGM is just on a rampage and is doing everything they can to close these sites. Every week, I hear of a new location scheduled for closing. We just won't have it any longer.

Were still not quite sure how we are going to stop them, but we are doing everything we know to put an end to it. The best we can do is increase public knowledge and tell everyone around us.