CARBONDALE, COLORADO (November 2, 2011)â€“ To celebrate and promote the successful preservation of the Big Horn Mine wilderness area in southern California, the Wilderness Land Trust is seeking personal stories and anecdotes from active outdoor recreation businesses and individuals.
Just 13 miles from downtown Los Angeles, the precipitous 277-acre Big Horn Mine was the most active gold mine in the San Gabriel mountains. Perched at 6900' on the rugged eastern slope of Mt. Baden-Powell, the Big Horn Mine site is surrounded on all sides by the 41,000 acre Sheep Mountain Wilderness. It is now known as a popular hiking trail into the Sheep Mountain Wilderness.
As a private in-holding, the Big Horn Mine was evaluated in recent years for renewed extraction activities linked to a prospective commercial gold mining operation â€“ a development alternative that would have irreparably damaged both the surrounding wilderness and watershed, and closed the area to hiking completely.
However, the successful effort of the Wilderness Land Trust has preserved it and the wilderness experience for generations to come.
â€œOnce the ink dries and we've brought this private property into the wilderness that surrounds it, this will be a landmark success story in the history of protecting wilderness for future generations,â€ said Reid Haughey, president of the Wilderness Land Trust.
Outdoor industry businesses, groups or individuals who have a personal connection to the area, such as an inspiring trip or memorable experience, are encouraged to contact the Wilderness Land Trust and tell their story. The anecdotes may be used to help celebrate the successful preservation effort, as well as in future efforts surrounding 17 other major projects of the Trust currently underway in California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Washington.
â€œWhile on the site, our board members ran into 80 cub scouts, all with flashlights, excited to be walking out to explore a real abandoned gold mine deep inside a wilderness area. This is what we're working for â€¦ the ability to pass on to children and the children of future generations the opportunity to leave urban Los Angeles behind and experience history and true wilderness,â€ said Haughey.
In 2005, the Big Horn Mine was ranked as the highest priority for acquisition by the Prioritization and Inventory of California's National Forest Wilderness.
The Big Horn Mine site and stamp mill are popular hiking destinations for Los Angeles residents, located approximately 1.5 miles from the trailhead along Highway 2, the Angeles Crest National Scenic Byway.
The site commands spectacular views of the rugged San Gabriel Mountains and supports habitat for Nelson's bighorn sheep. The California spotted owl, the mountain yellow-legged frog, and Arroyo Chub are also found in surrounding wilderness area.
At 7,000 feet above the Los Angeles Basin, the air is refreshing and the views of the San Gabriel Watershed are spectacular. First prospected in the 1850's, the gold ore in the Big Horn deposit was evaluated in the 1990's for renewed extraction potential. Realizing that the rising price of gold could lead to industrial-scale mining inside the wilderness area, the Wilderness Land Trust purchased the property in late 2006.
For more information on the Wilderness Land Trust and their mission, please visit their website at www.wildernesslandtrust.org, follow them on Facebook.