Forest Service to Resume Cleanup of Abandoned Mines
located in the historical Cherry Creek Mining District on the Verde Ranger District
The Forest Service will resume construction work associated with the clean-up of six abandoned mines located near Cherry, Arizona, on the Verde Ranger District of the Prescott National Forest, Yavapai County. The Black Hawk Mine, Golden Idol Mine, Black Hawk, Bunker Mine, Logan Mine, and Uncle Sam Mine once produced primarily gold and silver, but operations in the area appear to have ceased prior to the 1940s.
Since then, mine waste has been migrating offsite and into the surrounding environment, contributing to poor watershed quality and posing a potential risk to human health and wildlife.
In 2021 the Forest Service made a decision to pursue an environmental cleanup action at the sites, separating the work into two phases to avoid construction activities during Mexican Spotted Owl breeding season. Phase I began in December 2021 and included the remediation of the former Bunker, Golden Idol, and Black Hawk Mines. Phase I work was completed in February 2022. Phase II of the project will begin in December 2022 and include the remaining mines: the Logan Mine, Gold Eagle Mine, and Uncle Sam Mine, as well as some remaining tasks at the Golden Idol and Bunker Mines. Work will include onsite consolidation of mine waste into engineered repository cells, closure of mine features which present a physical safety hazard, and installation of erosion control measures and seeding to ensure long term stability after the cleanup is complete.
The local community and visitors should be aware of heavy construction equipment in the areas near Forest Road 531, Forest Road 96, and Forest Road 9604 in Cherry, Arizona.
For more information regarding the cleanup of abandoned mines on the Prescott National Forest please contact Francis Alvarado, Forest Geologist at (928) 443-8014.