Help Preserve Whitewater & Paddling Throughout the Deserts and Mountains of the West
Reforming the 1872 Mining Law will, finally, give recreation values a voice on how our federal public lands are managed
Perhaps no other human-powered outdoor recreation is so clearly affected by hardrock mining as our treasured whitewater. According to the EPA, over 40% of our Western headwaters are already contaminated by hardrock mining activity. Even without the additional threats of drought and population growth, our streams and rivers deserve, finally, protection from hardrock mining's huge ecological footprint. Iconic desert rivers like the Green, Colorado and San Juan are under considerable pressure from new uranium claims. Creek runs in virtually every mountain range between the Sierra, the Sawtooths and the San Juans are also seeing a significant spike in proposed mines along with threatened access and continued water quality concerns.
As paddlers, we all need metal and responsible mining remains an important activity. The problem lies with 19th century values and policy guiding 21st century high tech mining technology. The laws adopted in 1872 to govern prospecting with a pick and shovel and to help settle the West before the invention of the light bulb are the same laws in use today. These outdated laws place no regard for the new outdoor recreation values and economic future of the West.
Late last year, U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to reform our nation’s policy on hardrock mining policy. Right now the U.S. Senate is considering reform too.
Please take action and let your Senators know what you think.