Vandalism of Gated Mines Leads to Safety, Resource Concerns (press release)
Bishop, Calif., March 3, 2014 – Recent vandalism of gated mines on the Inyo National Forest have led to concerns for safety for visitors, can expose bats to pathogens and disease, and add additional costs of re-gating the mines.
The forest is working to block abandoned mines that pose a safety hazard to the visiting public. Among the possible multiple hazards include open shafts, unstable rock and decayed support, deadly gases and lack of oxygen, explosives and toxic chemicals, and horizontal and vertical openings. Please visit Stay Out, Stay Alive for more information about safety around abandoned mines.
Additionally, many abandoned mines protect and preserve important habitat for wildlife, especially bats.
White-nose syndrome is a fungal disease killing bats in North America. The disease is spread among bats, but may also be spread by people who carry the fungus to un-infected areas. While white-nose bat syndrome has yet to be detected in western states, it has spread rapidly in the last several years, killing an estimated five million bats. By avoiding abandoned mines, these areas can provide a refuge for bats.
“We understand that old mines incite curiosity and the urge to explore,” said Margaret Wood, District Ranger for the White Mountain and Mount Whitney Districts. “However, these mines are gated to protect you and key habitat. Please respect the closures.”