A mine is a terrible thing to waste
Post Independent Staff
Memories of mining in Garfield and Pitkin counties linger here like old snow in the shadows of deep mountain drainages.
The White River National Forest and historical societies throughout the Glenwood Springs area are hoping to capitalize on some of those memories with a tourism grant proposal aimed at luring visitors to old mine sites.
WRNF partnership coordinator Steve Carcaterra said the Colorado Tourism Office is looking for requests for proposals to allow areas of the state to boost “heritage” tourism, one of the fastest growing segments of the tourism industry.
“We have a lot of ghost towns and historic mining sites that we want to provide visitor access to and make it visitor friendly,” Carcaterra said.
But the Forest Service doesn’t have funds to do that, he said, so the agency proposed to work with local historical societies to submit a grant to the state that would help create a themed tour linking mining sites from Parachute to Leadville and Salida. The theme: “Mining Memories,” he said.
“The value is that we, I think, in Colorado have a great opportunity to consolidate and to build a tourism experience around our historical mining heritage,” Carcaterra said.
The proposed tour would inform visitors about the mining history of the site and the environmental impacts of mineral extraction there.
Sara Oates, curator of the Aspen Historical Society, the lead organization for the project, said the participating groups would create a regional map of historical mining and railroad sites.
The project would also try to erect informational signage at and protect each site.
Though specific mining and railroad sites haven’t been picked out, if the grant is accepted, Oates said mines such as Ashcroft, Independence, Cardiff and the quarry in Marble could be likely candidates for inclusion in the tour.
The Aspen Historical Society has until March 13 to submit its grant proposal.
Contact Bobby Magill: 945-8515, ext. 520
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