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Safety - Abandoned Mines

You are here: Safety > Abandoned Mines

Safe Visits on National Forests and Grasslands

[graphic] a photograph of an abandoned mine

Abandoned mine sites can be great safety hazards. Each year, a number of people are killed or injured nationally in abandoned mines. Many of these structures contain dilapidated frames, open shafts, and water-filled pits. The dangers that are found in the mines include old explosives, hazardous chemicals, snakes, spiders, mice, and bats. Entrance puts a person at risk for hazards such as falls and cave-ins.

Visitors also find these areas as accessible dumping grounds for trash. This can cause a vessel for infestations and contact with wild animals. In the process of dumping into these mines, many slips and falls are incurred, which can lead to entrapment in the mines, serious injuries and possible death.

The unmined mineral deposits can cause contamination to the surrounding water systems. Some of these systems serve as municipal water supplies for nearby citizens. The Forest Service, along with other land management agencies, is involved in ensuring the safety of the water supply and preventing contact with contaminated waters.

No one knows the exact location of all the abandoned mines over the great American lands. Therefore we cannot warn the public of the existence of all abandon mines. However, we work diligently to assess our lands and assist the public by warning of the known sites.

US Forest Service
Last modified March 28, 2013

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