New video premier on mining in the Swell
Emery County Historical Society with the help of The Division of Oil, Gas and Mining's Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program and the Bureau of Land Management Price Field Office presented a video titled "Mining on the Swell" to a very large audience at the Museum of the San Rafael Nov. 15.
Before the program began Dottie Grimes on behalf of the Emery County Historical Society made a presentation to someone who has helped preserve the history of Emery County. The Emery County Historical Preservation Award was then presented to Mervin Miles. Miles worked with the BLM for about 37 years and much of that work was out on the San Rafael. He knows as much as anyone about the San Rafael Swell. She said, he is so willing to take people out and show them things he knows about. Mervin knows the history of what went on at each place. We have a lot of human history on the San Rafael Swell. Mervin has many photos that he has taken of that area and he has been the leader of many Historical Society Treks and field trips. He has worked with the youth in training them to preserve things in the environment of our area. "We thank him for all that he has done and continues to do for us," said Grimes.
Before the meeting the Division of Oil, Gas and Mining had set up large displays of photos, maps and descriptions of Oil and Gas facts, Utah Coal and Mineral facts and photos of how abandoned mines are being sealed off from the public. A second display was of the San Rafael AMRP Project with a map illustrating where mining had taken place and where abandoned mines were being sealed off to protect the public. The third display was of the Utah DNR the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program including a large chart about Utah bats. It seems bats like to live in caves or old mines. When these old mines are sealed off provision has to be made for access into and out of the mine by the bats. Thus the steel grates used to seal off the mines have holes for the bats to fly in and out of. The public can look through the grates into the mine but cannot enter the mine.
Chris Conrad a Geologist from the Price BLM Office introduced Tony Gallegos a Mining Engineer with the State Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program who presented the program and discussed what was to be seen in the video and answered questions from the audience. Gallegos, AMRP Project Manager presented the "Mining on the Swell," video with the assistance of Jan Morse a Mine Reclamation Specialist with the Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining, and Chris Conrad a Geologist from the Price BLM Office.
The Division of Oil, Gas and Mining's Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program and the Bureau of Land Management Price Field Office cooperatively produced the "Mining on the Swell," video as part of the historical documentation in compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act for the upcoming San Rafael Abandoned Mine Reclamation Project. "We hope that the Abandoned Mine Program's work will make the history of mining in the San Rafael Swell during the cold war uranium boom era more available to Emery County citizens and visitors to the Swell," said Gallegos, AMRP Project Manager. "This video does a great job of capturing the flavor of what it was like to be mining uranium in the San Rafael Swell 60 and 70 years ago.
This "Mining on the Swell," video was based on oral history interviews conducted in 2011 by a BYU historian who recorded the experiences of six people involved with mining in the San Rafael Swell. The six interviewees were Ted Ekker, Jack Erwin, Mervin Miles, Mark H. Williams, Barbara Ekker, and John Anderson. The video included photos of mines at the following locations: Copper Globe, Lucky Strike, Family Butte, Tomsich Butte, The Hondu, Little Susan, Muddy Creek, Hidden Splendor, Temple Mountain and The Reef. Gallegos said, the purpose of the Abandoned Mine Project is to eliminate physical hazards to the public posed by abandoned mine openings in the San Rafael Swell. This project will close 168 horizontal or inclined mines and four vertical shaft mine openings with steel grates.
Most of the mines being sealed off are old Uranium mines although there were some copper and gold mines to be sealed off as well. After the video Jan Morse a Mine Reclamation Specialist with the Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining was introduced. Morse asked Mervin Miles, Mark H. Williams and John Anderson to come from the audience to be recognized. Ted Ekker, Barbara Ekker and Jack Erwin were not present at the video presentation. She then made some observations about things seen in the video and answered additional questions. If someone would like to see the map of the project boundary or the video they can contact Jan Morse at the Utah AMRP 801-538-5327 or Chris Conrad at the Price BLM Field Office 435-636-3667. The video is available for viewing on the DOGM website.