The Most Remote US Counties – Using Roads by Aaron O’Neill of Mapping Americana

I’ve lived in six different locations throughout my life. All of them were within 30 miles of the nearest major city, and each one had at least one interstate running through the county. I suspect this is the case with most Americans; after all, while our country is filled with wide open spaces, more and more of us are flocking to urban areas.

The urban migration. Via Governing Magazine.

Still, the wilderness has a certain appeal to it. It’s nice to imagine losing yourself in the middle of nowhere, where there are less mundane responsibilities and time seems to move slower. The contrast between urban and rural areas in the US got me thinking: what was the most remote place in America? This question has been asked before, with varying answers. However, I will get one thing out of the way: obviously, Alaska has many of this nation’s most remote locales. So, for these particular posts, I’ll be excluding Alaska and Hawaii.

So, what makes a place remote? Is it its distance from the nearest major population center? Its distance from the next town of any population? Perhaps it’s the difficulty of getting there, through the lack of efficient road networks. In my opinion, remoteness can mean all of these things. So, over the next couple of weeks I’ll be finding the most remote places in America by looking through different lenses. I’ll begin today by looking at the USA’s road network.

NB77SB81

These shields will come in handy later. Via Wikimedia Commons.

America has one of the best road systems in the world, and it’s easy to get pretty much anywhere with a standard car. Still, there are some places that remain on the fringes of the network. Today, I’ll look at the counties that are the farthest removed from the country’s main arteries, using my own (very unscientific) methodology. I’ll be using a process of elimination to figure out the most remote counties to get to by car.

First, we can eliminate any counties that have interstates running through them. This automatically gets rid of over 40% of the nation’s counties, but we’re still left with well over 1,000. So, let’s also eliminate any county that contains a federal highway. In short, we’re treating any roads that bear the famous white or blue shield as major arteries. This still leaves us with over 250 “remote” counties.

The first round of cuts.

There are some interesting observations to be made from the above map. First of all, just because a road isn’t federally maintained doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not a major artery. For example, in California’s Central Valley, State Road 99 is the major highway for large cities such as Visalia (see map). However, under my criteria some of these clearly urban counties still count as “remote.” The same applies in New Jersey: Cumberland County (see map) is considered “remote” despite containing several cities and the main highway between Philadelphia and the shore. Clearly, I had to dig deeper.

My next round of elimination focused on proximity to interstates. If a county’s neighbor contained an interstate, that county was eliminated. I figured that most people living in these counties would still have a relatively easy drive to get onto the highway. After this next round of eliminations, the map looked like this:

Getting more remote…

Now, that’s much better. The number of “remote” counties was cut to just 70, and many of them were in places you might expect: the Appalachians, the Ozarks, and the sprawling Great Plains. Of course, this methodology wasn’t perfect. It eliminated many of the larger counties in the more rugged west, while preserving counties like Nantucket and Dukes in Massachusetts (see map) that were fairly close to urban centers. Still, I was making progress. Time to dig deeper.

My next round of eliminations focused on Google Maps. In short, Google divides its roads into three colors: Orange, yellow, and white. Orange was typically reserved for freeways, while yellow roads denoted intermediate local routes. I figured that if a county only had white roads on Google, it was more remote than its counterparts. This process cut the map down significantly once again. Take a look:

Much better.

This final map shows the 12 most remote counties in the United States, according to the road system. I was surprised at the representation of the Chesapeake region in this final map – guess my trip to St. Mary’s County last week wasn’t enough to drive home how out-of-the-way this area was. In many ways, though, this map is exactly what I expected. I knew that the West would be underrepresented due to the size of the counties, and I knew that many Appalachian and Atlantic counties relied on small local roads.

Now, it was time to figure out which of these 12 counties was the most remote. I looked at each remaining county to determine which one had the least state roads running through it. After all, if a county had to maintain all of its own roads, it was essentially forgotten by the rest of the road system. Through this method, I reached a surprising conclusion. Both Dukes and Nantucket Counties in Massachusetts had no state roads! Despite being located less than 100 miles from Boston, these counties were the farthest removed from the road system. I suppose this made sense, since both required ferry access. Still, it felt like cheating.

MV Nantucket August 2017

It just feels wrong. Via Wikimedia Commons.

So, I looked for the next best candidate. The result was clear: Hinsdale County, Colorado (see map) only had one road running through it. And I don’t mean one state road, either. Hinsdale literally only has one paved thru-road running through it, the Silver Thread Scenic Byway. I’d driven this road before, and I can attest to the sheer wildness of the county. I feel confident declaring Hinsdale the winner. Despite the East’s best efforts, the wild West still prevails.

Empire Chief mine, 2001

Scenes from Hinsdale County. Via Wikimedia Commons.

www.mapamericana.com/2018/07/21/the-most-remote-us-county-using-roads

Burrows Park (Park) District Mining Information

Hinsdale County

Burrows Park District (aka Whitecross District; aka Park District)

This district is possibly an amalgamation of several districts, but at least has several names. Henderson provides very a very specific location for the Park District, listing 16 sections in three different townships that appear to be the same as other descriptions of the Whitecross/Burrows Park District. Dunn (2003) indicates that the Burrows Park District may have originally been known as the Park District, which seems to fit with Henderson’s description. She notes that Hinsdale County was divided into six districts by the state legislature in 1893, of which the Park District was one, along with the Carson, Cimarron, Galena, Lake, and Sherman Districts. Mindat.org (Sep 2015) considers the Burrows Park, the Park and the Whitecross to be the same district, a convention we follow here.

Vanderwilt (1947) considered the Burrows Park District, which he described as sitting at the head of the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River, to be a continuation of the mineralization of the Silverton area. Wilson and Spanski (2004) aggregated the Burrows Park District in with eight other districts as the “San Juan Mineralized Area.” The connection is that they appear to lie within the San Juan caldera of Steven and Lipman (1976). (The other districts in this grouping are the Galena/Henson Creek, the Sneffels, South Ouray, Eureka, Telluride, Ophir, Red Mountain and Lower San Miguel, of which the Galena is in Hinsdale County.)

The geology consists of tuffs and flows associated with the Oligocene San Juan caldera complex, with an outlier of Precambrian granites in the middle (Vanderwilt, 1947). Mineralization consists of “filled fissures grading into replacement types” of chalcopyrite ore, sphalerite-galena ore or gold-silver ore with small amounts of lead and zinc (Vanderwilt, Ibid).

Eberhart (1969) discusses the three settlements that arose around Cinnamon Pass – Whitecross, Tellurium and Sterling. He indicates that the harsh winters and associated transportation problems inhibited both the mines and the towns.

Mines listed in the district (mindat.org; Eberhart, 1969; Dunn, 2003) include:
 Allen Dale2
 Bon Homme Tunnel1, 2
 Burrows Park Group1
 Champion2
 Cleveland Group (Hilluron Millsite; Ida; Lock Lommond)1
 Cracker Jack2
 Dewey1
 Gavin Pipe Occurrence1
 Gnome Mine (Bull Run; Bull Run No. 1; Unpatented Claims: Sydney Nos. 1-3;
Gnome Nos. 1-26; Patented Claim: Gnome)1
 Goodwin1
 Goodwin’s Creek1
 Illinois Boy Mine (Patented Claim: Illinois Boy)1
 Isolde Mine (Belcher; Baltimore; Isolde)1
 Little Sarah2
 Monticello Mine1
 Mountain King2
 Napoleon Mine (Patented Claim: Napoleon)3
 Ohio Mine1
 Onida3
 Park View Mine (View of the Park Mine; D & N Lead Mining Company Nos. 1-4)1
 Providence2
 Seward County Mine (Patented Claim: Seward County)1
 Silver Star Mine (Patented Claim: Silver Star)1
 Tobasco2
 Troy2
 Undine3
 Whitecross Mountain1
Notes: 1 Mines listed in mindat.org, September 2015.
2 Mines listed by Eberhart (1969), as located near the settlements around Cinnamon Pass.
3 Mines listed by Dunn (2003).
Minerals listed in the district (mindat.org) include:
Brochantite
Calaverite
Calcite
Chalcopyrite
Galena
Lillianite
Molybdenite
Opal var: Opal-AN
Platinum
Pyrite
Quartz
Sphalerite
Tetrahedrite
References:
Dunn, Lisa. 2003. Colorado Mining Districts: A Reference. Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado.
Eberhart, Perry. 1969. Guide to Colorado Ghost Towns and Mining Camps. Fourth, revised edition. Swallow Press, Athens, Ohio.
Henderson, C.W. 1926. Mining in Colorado, a history of discovery, development and production. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 138.
Steven, T.A. and Lipman, P.W. 1976. Calderas of the San Juan Volcanic Field, Southwestern Colorado. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 958.
Vanderwilt, John W. 1947. Mineral Resources of Colorado. Colorado Mineral Resources Board, Denver, Colorado.
Wilson, A.B. and Spanski, G.T. 2004. Distribution of Mines and Mineralized Areas in Bankey, V., ed. Resource Potential and Geology of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, Gunnison National Forest and Vicinity, Colorado. U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 2213.
www.mindat.org, accessed September 2015.

This information is from the Colorado Geological Survey website at http://coloradogeologicalsurvey.org

Lake City (Lake) Mining District Information

Hinsdale County

Lake City District (aka Lake District; aka Lake Fork District)

The Lake City District has been identified as the Lake, the Lake City and the Lake Fork District. These districts are occasionally differentiated, but here we include all as the same district, extending south to Lake San Cristobal.

The Lake District was one of the six districts into which the Colorado legislature divided Hinsdale County in 1893. (The others were the Carson, Cimarron, Galena, Whitecross and Sherman Districts.) The district occupies the Lake City, Uncompahgre Peak and Redcloud Peak quadrangles.
Lake overlaps (or blends into) the major district to the west, the Galena or Henson Creek District. Mindat.org separates the Lake and the Galena into two districts. The seminal work on the area – Irving and Bancroft (1911) does not distinguish the different districts, but rather discusses mines in the vicinity of Lake City.

Mindat.org and Dunn (2003) list the group of mines (the Hidden Treasure, Ute and Ulay) among the most famous and productive in the Lake City District. However, Irving and Bancroft (Ibid) lists them among the “Henson Creek Mines,” which implies Henson Creek (Galena) District. Vanderwilt (1947) places these mines in the Galena (Henson Creek) District also, and provides a structural distinction between the two districts, noting that a down-faulted block lies between Henson Creek and Lake Fork. We have chosen to make the distinction as mindat.org does to make referencing the mines easier for the reader.

Irving and Bancroft (Ibid) distinguish a group of mines as the San Cristobal Group, south of Lake City – a geographic distinction that we believe places those mines in the Lake City district.
The geology of the Lake City District is typical of the San Juan Mountains. The district sits within the caldera fill on the northeast margin of the Lake City Caldera (Steven and Lipman, 1976; Wilson and Spanski, 2004). Units include Oligocene quartz latite and andesitic flows and breccias of significant lateral extent, plus more localized flows; the Bachelor Mountain and Carpenter Ridge tuffs, the Fish Canyon tuff, the La Garita tuff, the Henson and Burns formations, the Sapinero Mesa, Eureka and Dillion Mesa tuffs along with silicic lavas (Day et al., 1999). Generalized descriptions are also available in Sanford et al. (1987).

Mineralization was described generally by Vanderwilt (Ibid) as vein mineralization continuous with that of the Silverton area. Bove et al. (2000) distinguish 23 Ma precious metal-bearing barite veins and older base-metal veins. Irving (1905) and Irving and Bancroft (1911) provide a detailed descriptions of the rocks and mineralization.

Some top-producing mines include the Golden Fleece (nee Hotchkiss) mine, discovered in 1874, which produced $1.4M in metals (Henderson, 1926). The Pelican Mine produced off and on from 1891 to 1960; Irving and Bancroft (Ibid) report freibergite, pyrargyrite and galena as the main minerals. The Fanny Fern Mine produced silver from tetrahedrite, reporting 74,000 ounces of silver and 65 ounces of gold.

The Black Crook Mine operated off and on until 1953. The Contention Mine was another major producer.

The Ute and Ulay veins are names that always appear in relation to the mines and deposits of the Lake City area. The Ute was the most productive and important of all the mineral veins in the district (Irving and Bancroft, Ibid). The vein was traced for 2,700 feet along outcrop. The vein described an arc, concave to the northwest, averaging four feet in width, but pinching and swelling and occasionally splitting. The vein sequentially filled first with quartz, then rhodochrosite/tetrahedrite/galena and then more quartz. Later movement shattered the vein material and deposited more quartz and barite. The ore mineralization was (presumably, because it was mostly gone even before Irving and Bancroft visited) argentiferous galena with subsidiary tetrahedrite, sphalerite, pyrite and enrichments of ruby silver (proustite/pyrargyrite – Ag3AsS3- Ag3SbS3). Further details are available in Irving and Bancroft (Ibid).

A unique situation has been identified at the Golden Wonder Mine. Irving and Bancroft (Ibid) recognized it as the “only true replacement deposit” in the Lake City area. It was recognized as a hot spring deposit in the 1980’s (Billings, 1983; Billings and Kallowkoski, 1982; Kalliokoski and Rehn, 1987), described as a small epithermal alunitic gold and base metal deposit within flow-foliated rhyolite. The deposit contains considerable gold (often microscopic native gold) and maintains an active permit with the State of Colorado as of 2015 for LKA Gold Incorporated.

Early activity did not develop until the Brunot Treaty of 1873 with the Ute tribe allowed worry-free entry into the territory. The Ute-Ulay discovery had been made in 1871, but not developed until the treaty was in place (Eberhart, 1969). Lake City was the first settlement, named for Lake San Cristobal. Many colorful characters passed through the town, including Alfred Packer, the famous Colorado cannibal.

Mines listed in the district (mindat.org and others) include:
 Belle of the West Mine (Malter Placer; Western Belle; Delphos; Trenton; Extension; Patented Claims: Belle of The West)
 Black Crook Mine (Ilma-Hiwassee group; Ilma Mine; New Year)1
 Cleveland Mine
 Contention Mine (Patented Claims: Contention; Mayflower)1
 Dauphin1
 Dawn of Hope
 Eckman Manganese Deposit
 Evangeline claim
 Fanny Fern Mine (Mayday Lode; J. C. Lode; Springfield; Unpatented Claims:
Fanny Fern No. 2; Patented Claim: Fanny Fern; B. R. Lode)
 Ferrara Ranch
 Galena
 Garlock mine
 Gladiator Mine (Ore House; Gladiator; Montana Nos. 1-9)
 Gold Quartz Mine (Wells Mine; Patented Claim: Red Cloud; Gold Quartz Nos. 1-6; Unpatented Claim: Gold Quartz)
 Golden Wonder Mine1, 2
 Happy Day
 I.D.A. Occurrence
 Ilma Mine
 L-C Property (Lake City Property)
 Lake City
o Belle of the East Mine
o Golden Fleece Mine1
o Governor Pitkin Mine
o Hidden Treasure Mine1
o Hotchkiss lode
o Ocean Wave Mine
o Oulay Mine (Ulay Mine; Ute-Ulay Mine)1
 Lake Fork River
o Monte Queen Mine
 Lode Star1
 Louise Morrell Lode Nos.1 & 2
 Mable
 Matterhorn Peak Area
o Dix and Cimarron Chief Groups
 Missouri Favorite Mine1
 Monte Queen1
 Nellie M. Mine (Patented Claim: Nellie M.)1
 Ottawa Mine1
 Pelican Mine1
 Red Mountain Alunite Deposit
 Risorgimento Mine (Patented Claim: Risorgimento)
 Rodney No. 1
 Silver Creek
 St. Mary’s Mining Company Property (V.C.)
 Sulphuret Mine (Cora; Patented Claims: Sulphuret; Sulphuret-Cora Mine)1
 Sunshine Peak tuff
 Uncompahgre Peak
 Uncompahgre Peak Prospect (Maurell Claim)
 Ulay1
 Ute1
Notes: 1Detailed description of mine contained in Irving and Bancroft (1911).
2Considerable information on mine (refer to bibliography).
Minerals listed in the district (mindat.org) include:
Acanthite
Aikinite
Altaite
Alunite
Ankerite
‘Apatite’
Arsenopyrite
Azurite
Baryte
Bismuthinite
Bornite
Boulangerite
Bournonite
Calaverite
Calcite
Chalcopyrite
Chalcostibite
‘Chevkinite’
Coloradoite
Colusite
Copper
Covellite
Dickite
Emplectite
Enargite
Epidote
Fluorite
Freibergite
Galena
var: Argentiferous Galena
Gold var: Electrum
Gypsum var: Selenite
Hematite
Hessite
Hinsdalite (TL)
Jamesonite
Kaolinite
Krennerite
Lead
‘Limonite’
Luzonite
Magnetite
Malachite
Marcasite
Matildite
Mawsonite
Melanterite
Melonite
Molybdenite
Molybdite
Muscovite var: Sericite
Natrolite
Pearceite
Petzite
Pilsenite
Polybasite
Proustite
Pyrargyrite
Pyrite
Pyroxmangite
Quartz
var: Chalcedony
var: Jasper
Rhodochrosite
‘Schirmerite’
Silver
Smithsonite
Sphalerite
Stephanite
Stibnite
Stützite
Svanbergite
Sylvanite
Tellurium
Tellurobismuthite
Tennantite
Tetrahedrite
var: Argentian Tetrahedrite
var: Zincian Tetrahedrite
Uraninite var: Pitchblende
Volynskite
Wurtzite
References:
Billings, Patty. 1983. Underground Geologic Maps of the Golden Wonder Mine, Lake City, Hinsdale County, Colorado. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 83-907.
Billings, P. and Kalliokoski, J. 1982. Alteration and Geologic Setting of the Golden Wonder Mine, Western San Juan Mountains, Colorado. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, vol. 14, pp. 443-444.
Bove, D.J., Hon, K., Budding, K.E., Slack, J.F., Snee, L.W. and Yeoman, R.A. 2000. Geochronology and Geology of Late Oligocene Through Miocene Volcanism and Mineralization in the Western San Juan Mountains, Colorado. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 99-347.
Day, W.C., Green, G.N., Knepper, D.H., Jr., and Phillips, R.C. 1999. Spatial Geologic Data Model for the Gunnison, Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre National Forests Mineral Assessment Area, Southwestern Colorado and Digital Data for the Leadville, Montrose, Durango, and Colorado Parts of the Grand Junction, Moab, and Cortez 1 degree x 2 degrees Geologic Maps. U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report 99-427.
Dunn, Lisa. 2003. Colorado Mining Districts: A Reference. Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado.
Eberhart, Perry. 1969. Guide to Colorado Ghost Towns and Mining Camps. Fourth, revised edition. Swallow Press, Athens, Ohio.
Henderson, C.W. 1926. Mining in Colorado, a history of discovery, development and production. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 138.
Irving, J.D. 1905. Ore Deposits in the Vicinity of Lake City, Colorado in Emmons, S.F. and Eckel, E.C., Contributions to Economic Geology, 1904. U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 260.
Irving, J.D. and Bancroft, H. 1911. Geology and Ore Deposits near Lake City, Colorado. U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 478.
Kalliokoski, J. and Rehn, P. 1987. Geology of the Veins and Vein Sediments, of the Golden Wonder Mine, Lake City, Colorado: an Epithermal Hot Springs Gold-Alunite Deposit. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 87-344.
Sanford, R.F., Grauch, R.I., Hon, K., Bove, D.J., Grauch, V.J.S., and Korzeb, S.L. 1987. Mineral Resources of the Redcloud Peak and Handies Peak Wilderness Study Areas, Hinsdale County, Colorado. U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1715-B.
Steven, T.A. and Lipman, P.W. 1976. Calderas of the San Juan Volcanic Field, Southwestern Colorado. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 958.
Vanderwilt, J.W. 1947. Mineral Resources of Colorado. Colorado Mineral Resources Board, Denver, Colorado.
Wilson, A.B. and Spanski, G.T. 2004. Distribution of Mines and Mineralized Areas in Bankey, Viki, ed. Resource Potential and Geology of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests and Vicinity, Colorado. U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 2213-E, p. 67-86.
www.mindat.org, accessed September 2015.

This information is from the Colorado Geological Survey website at http://coloradogeologicalsurvey.org

Sherman Mining District Information

Hinsdale County

Sherman District (aka Park District)

The Sherman District was one of the six districts into which the Colorado legislature divided Hinsdale County in 1893. (The others were the Galena, Cimarron, Lake, Whitecross and Carson Districts.) The location of the Sherman District is not well defined. Henderson (1926) indicates that the Park District overlaps the Sherman District. He provided a specific location for the Park District that appears to include the area we have enclosed in the Burrows Park District. He does indicate that it overlaps the Sherman District. Dunn (2003) distinguishes the two districts, with the Park District on the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River and the Sherman in the vicinity of the ghost town of Sherman. Mindat.org calls the two districts the same and places both south of the Cinnamon Pass area, which we have placed in the Burrows Park District. In general, we place the Sherman District (aka Park District) south of Handies Peak, to the area around Cottonwood Creek.

Dunn (Ibid) assigns the Black Wonder, Washington and Vermont mines to the Sherman District and the Illinois Boy, Champion and Grand Republic to the Park District. We have placed the Illinois Boy and Champion in the Burrows Park District.

The geology is generally described in Lipman (1976) and Lipman et al. (1976), summarized in Sanford et al. (1987) as lying in the area of the San Juan and Lake City calderas. Rocks included are Sapinero Mesa tuff and megabreccia, Precambrian granite representing the terrain in which the calderas formed, along with post-breccia lava flows and fill.

Mineralization is similar to the other Hinsdale County districts, with predominately veins carrying gold and silver, and some base metals. Sanford et al. (Ibid) found potential for precious and base metals, and porphyry molybdenum.

Mines listed in the district (mindat.org) include:
 Black Wonder Mine (Black Wonder Extension; Black Wonder No. 2; Patented Claims: Black Wonder)
 George Washington Group (Patented Claims: George Washington; No. 2 Ruby)
 Minnie Lee Mine (Patented Claims: Minnie Lee; Minnie Lee Mill Site; Morning Star)
 Sterling Group
Minerals listed in the district (mindat.org) include:
Acanthite
‘Apatite’
Chalcopyrite
Colusite
Covellite
Galena
‘Monazite’
Pyrite
Quartz
Rhodochrosite
Sphalerite
Tennantite
Tetrahedrite
Thorite
References:
Dunn, Lisa. 2003. Colorado Mining Districts: A Reference. Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado.
Eberhart, Perry. 1969. Guide to Colorado Ghost Towns and Mining Camps. Fourth, revised edition. Swallow Press, Athens, Ohio.
Henderson, C.W. 1926. Mining in Colorado, a history of discovery, development and production. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 138.
Lipman, P.W. 1976. Geologic Map of the Lake City Caldera Area, Western San Juan Mountains, Southwestern Colorado. U.S. Geologic Survey Miscellaneous Investigation Series Map I-962. Map Scale: 1:48,000.
Lipman, P.W., Fisher, F.S., Mehnert, H.H., Naeser, C.W., Luedke, R.G., and Steven, T.A. 1976. Multiple Ages of Mid-Tertiary Mineralization and Alteration in the Western San Juan Mountains, Colorado. Economic Geology, vol. 71, no. 3, pp. 571-588.
Sanford, R.F., Grauch, R.I., Hon, K., Bove, D.J., Grauch, V.J.S., and Korzeb, S.L. 1987. Mineral Resources of the Redcloud Peak and Handies Peak Wilderness Study Areas, Hinsdale County, Colorado. U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1715-B.
www.mindat.org, accessed October 2015.

This information is from the Colorado Geological Survey website at http://coloradogeologicalsurvey.org

Carson Mining District Information

Hinsdale County

Carson District

There are not many districts in Hinsdale County, but there are numerous names and potential confusion. The Carson District appears in Henderson (1926) and is described by Vanderwilt (1947 as sitting at the head of Wager Gulch (a tributary of the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River), approximately 18 miles southwest of Lake City. The area of the district crosses the continental divide into the headwaters of Lost Trail Creek.

Older geologic descriptions of the area can be found in Irving and Bancroft (1911). Based on more recent interpretations, Wilson and Spanski (2004) describe the area as the Carson volcanic center, a 29 Ma plug of monzonite to quartz monzonite composition, intruding intermediate lavas and breccias, and andesites and rhyolites of the Henson and Burns formations.

The rocks contain polymetallic veins in irregular fissures and fractures up to 18 inches wide (Larson, 1911). Ores contain silver and lead with some copper. Enargite, chalcopyrite and galena occur with some gold in a barite gangue. Some bog iron is also known to occur (Harrer and Tesch, 1959).

Eberhart (Ibid) describes the mining camp of Carson, established in 1882, the year after the district. The town sat directly on the continental divide, with water falling on one side of town heading toward the Lake Fork of the Pacific drainage, and water on the other side of town flowing into the Lost Trail Creek, of the Rio Grande system, headed toward the Atlantic Basin. With such a snow-bound location, the town didn’t last long.

Mines listed in the district (mindat.org; Dunn, 2003; Eberhart, 1969) include:
 Bachelor Mine
 Bonanza King
 Carson
 Chandler
 Cresco
 Dunderberg
 George the Third Mine (Hattie; Marian; St. Peter; Vermont)
 Iron Mask
 Kit Carson
 Legal Tender
 Lost Trail mine
 Maid of Carson
 Mayflower
 St. Jacob Mine (Griggs; Patented Claims: Hamilton; St. Jacob Group; St. Johns; St. Jacobs)
 Thor
 Wager Gulch Limonite Deposit
Minerals listed in the district (mindat.org)
Baryte
Chalcopyrite
Enargite
Famatinite
Galena
‘Limonite’
Marcasite
Pyrite
Quartz
Sphalerite
Tetrahedrite
References:
Dunn, Lisa. 2003. Colorado Mining Districts: A Reference. Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado.
Eberhart, Perry. 1969. Guide to Colorado Ghost Towns and Mining Camps. Fourth, revised edition. Swallow Press, Athens, Ohio.
Harrer, C.M. and Tesch, W.J., Jr. 1959. Reconnaissance of Iron Occurrences in Colorado. U.S. Bureau of Mines Information Circular 7918, p. 44.
Henderson, C.W. 1926. Mining in Colorado, a history of discovery, development and production. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 138.
Irving, J.D. and Bancroft, H. 1911. Geology and Ore Deposits near Lake City, Colorado. U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 478.
Larsen, E.S., 1911. The Economic Geology of Carson Camp, Hinsdale County, Colorado in Hayes, C.W. and Lindgren, W., eds., Contributions to economic geology (short papers and preliminary reports) 1910: Part I – metals and nonmetals except fuels. U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 470-B. p. 30-38.
Vanderwilt, John W. 1947. Mineral Resources of Colorado. Colorado Mineral Resources Board, Denver, Colorado.
Wilson, A.B. and Spanski, G.T. 2004. Distribution of Mines and Mineralized Areas in Bankey, Viki, ed. Resource Potential and Geology of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests and Vicinity, Colorado. U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 2213-E, p. 67-86.
www.mindat.org, accessed September 2015.

This information is from the Colorado Geological Survey website at http://coloradogeologicalsurvey.org

 

Galena Mining District Information

Hinsdale County

Galena District (aka Henson Creek District)

The Galena District was one of the six districts into which the Colorado legislature divided Hinsdale County in 1893. (The others were the Carson, Cimarron, Lake, Whitecross and Sherman Districts.) The district occupies the Lake City, Uncompahgre Peak and Redcloud Peak quadrangles.
Henderson (1926) recognized the Galena District in his compilation for Colorado, and Vanderwilt (1947) placed it along Henson Creek, west of Lake City and considered the Henson Creek District an alternate name. He noted that all the productive mines were located near the creek.

The Galena District overlaps (or blends into) the major district to the east, known variously as the Lake, Lake City, and/or Lake Fork District. Mindat.org separates these into two districts. The seminal work on the area – Irving and Bancroft (1911) does not distinguish the different districts, but rather discusses mines in the vicinity of Lake City.

Further confusing the situation, the Galena/Henson Creek District is described by the name of the creek. Irving and Bancroft list the group of mines among the most famous and productive in the area (the Hidden Treasure, Ute and Ulay) among the “Henson Creek Mines” which implies Henson Creek (Galena) District; mindat.org lists these in the Lake City District, as does Dunn (Ibid). Vanderwilt (Ibid) places these mines in the Galena (Henson Creek) District also, and provides a structural distinction between the two districts, noting that a down-faulted block lies between Henson Creek and Lake Fork. We have chosen to make the distinction as mindat.org does, so that referencing the mines will be easier for the reader.

The geology and mineralization of the district is typical of the western San Juan Mountains. The district sits within the caldera fill on the northeast margin of the Lake City Caldera (Steven and Lipman, 1976; Wilson and Spanski, 2004). Units include Oligocene quartz latite and andesitic flows and breccias of significant lateral extent, plus more localized flows; the Bachelor Mountain and Carpenter Ridge tuffs, the Fish Canyon tuff, the La Garita tuff, the Henson and Burns formations, the Sapinero Mesa, Eureka and Dillion Mesa tuffs along with silicic lavas (Day et al., 1999). Generalized descriptions are also available in Sanford et al. (1987).

Mineralization was described generally by Vanderwilt (Ibid) as vein mineralization continuous with that of the Silverton area. Bove et al. (2000) distinguish 23 Ma precious metal-bearing barite veins and older base-metal veins. Irving (1905) and Irving and Bancroft (1911) provide a detailed descriptions of the rocks and mineralization.

The town of Henson was the main settlement in the district. It was the site of a major miners strike in 1899 centered on the Ute-Ulay and Hidden Treasure Mines (mines which we have placed in the Lake City District, further demonstrating the overlapping of the districts in this area). The Colorado governor sent six companies of troops to keep order and the strike was finally settled with the involvement of the Italian consul. (Eberhart, 1969).

Mines listed in the district (mindat.org; Irving and Bancroft) include:
 Ajax No. 2
 Bess
 Big Casino Mine (Big Casino No. 2 Mill
Site; Big Casino No. 2; Patented Claims:
Big Casino No. 2)1
 California mine
 Capitol City Mine (Panhandle; Old
Glory; Laddie Boy; Sunny Chief)1
 Chord
 Copper Mountain
o Big Horn prospect
o John J. Crooke prospect
 Czar Mine (Broker; Czarina; Czar)1
 Czarina Mine1
 Dolly Varden Mine (Varden Belle Mine;
Patented Claim: Dolly Varden)
 Eagle and Mary Alice Claims
 Excelsior Mine (Patented Claim:
Excelsior)1
 Frank Hough Mine (Hough Mine;
Patented Claim: Frank Hough)
 Gallic – Vulcan Group (Weatherhorn)1
 Golconda Mine
 Henderson Gold Mine1
 Henson Creek-Ute Creek
 Highland Chief Mine (Wall Street
Empire Chief Mine; Mathison)
 Hoosier Boy Mine (Unpatented Claims:
Isabel R.; Little Joe; Red Bird; Patented
Claim: Adelia; Blue Bird)
 Lellie Mine (Red Rover)1
 Lilly Mine1
 Mohawk
 Moro Mine (Moro Extension; Moro
Tunnel Site; Ajax Limited; Moro-Ajax
Mine; Moro Mill Site; Patented Claims:
Moro Limited; Unpatented Claims: Ajax
No. 2)1
 Oro – Fino Tunnels
 Palmetto Mine (Chimney Corner)
 Pearl and Ruby Groups (Ruby; Patented
Claim: Pearl)
 Pride of America Mine1
 Silver Chord Mine (Patented Claim:
Silver Chord)
 St Louis
 Treasure Hill Spar Claim (Patented
Claims: Treasure Hill Spar)
 Vermont1
 Woodstock Prospect
 Yellow Medicine Mine (Mountain Bell;
Patented Claims: Yellow Medicine)1
Note: 1 Detailed description of mine contained in Irving and Bancroft (1911).
Minerals listed in the district (mindat.org) include:
Acanthite
Anglesite
‘Apatite’
Azurite
Baryte
Bornite
Calcite
Cerussite
Chalcocite
Chalcopyrite
‘Chlorite Group’
Copper
‘Copper Stain’
Covellite
Emplectite
Enargite
Fluorapatite
Fluorite
Freibergite
Galena
var: Argentiferous Galena
Gold
Gypsum
Hessite
Jarosite
Kaolinite
‘Limonite’
Malachite
Muscovite var: Sericite
‘Obsidian’
Opal
Petzite
Pyrargyrite
Pyrite
Quartz
var: Amethyst
var: Chalcedony
Rhodochrosite
‘Ruby Silver Ore’
Silver
Smithsonite
Sphalerite
Stephanite
Stromeyerite
Sylvanite
Tennantite
Tetrahedrite
Uraninite
Uranophane
Wulfenite
References:
Bove, D.J., Hon, K., Budding, K.E., Slack, J.F., Snee, L.W. and Yeoman, R.A. 2000. Geochronology and
Geology of Late Oligocene Through Miocene Volcanism and Mineralization in the Western San Juan
Mountains, Colorado. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 99-347.
Dunn, Lisa. 2003. Colorado Mining Districts: A Reference. Colorado School of Mines, Golden,
Colorado.
Eberhart, Perry. 1969. Guide to Colorado Ghost Towns and Mining Camps. Fourth, revised edition.
Swallow Press, Athens, Ohio.
Henderson, C.W. 1926. Mining in Colorado, a history of discovery, development and production. U.S.
Geological Survey Professional Paper 138.
Irving, J.D. and Bancroft, H. 1911. Geology and Ore Deposits near Lake City, Colorado. U.S. Geological
Survey Bulletin 478.
Slack, J.F. 1980. Multistage Vein Ores of the Lake City District, Western San Juan Mountains, Colorado.
Economic Geology, v. 75, no. 7, pp. 963-991.
Steven, T.A. and Lipman, P.W. 1976. Calderas of the San Juan Volcanic Field, Southwestern Colorado.
U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 958.
Vanderwilt, John W. 1947. Mineral Resources of Colorado. Colorado Mineral Resources Board, Denver,
Colorado.
Wilson, A.B. and Spanski, G.T. 2004. Distribution of Mines and Mineralized Areas in Bankey, Viki, ed.
Resource Potential and Geology of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison (GMUG) National
Forests and Vicinity, Colorado. U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 2213-E, p. 67-86.
www.mindat.org, accessed September 2015.

This information is from the Colorado Geological Survey website at http://coloradogeologicalsurvey.org

Preparing for Wildfire Season 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE            
Kristine Borchers
Five Actions for Today to Prepare for Wildfire Season
LAKE CITY, CO., (May 25, 2018):  With our current forest conditions, please consider taking action immediately to prepare for wildfire season.  
 
1)    Keep track of any fire restrictions in your County or in any area you are traveling to (especially as it relates to outdoor recreational activities).  A Red Flag Warning is a forecast warning issued by the National Weather Service that conditions are perfect for wildland fire combustion, and rapid spread of a wildfire if one does start.  Stage 1 Fire Restrictions limit open fires, trash and agricultural burning, fireworks or explosives, and limit where cigarette smoking is allowed. 
2)    Take photographs of every room in your home to provide documentation for your home insurance carrier.  Email off these photographs to your agent. 
3)    Create a wildfire emergency evacuation kit.  Gather as many of these items as you can ahead of time and place them in an easy-to-identify bag or box in your home.  For those items you can’t pack ahead of time, consider putting a “Other Items to Take” list to post on the refrigerator so you do not have to think through what to take when a pre-evacuation or evacuation notice is issued.  Suggested items include:  3 days-worth of non-perishable food and 3 gallons of water per person; at least two days of change of clothing; extra eyeglasses or contact lenses; prescription medicine along with a printed copy of the prescription; extra car keys, credit cards, cash or checks; a first aid kit and flashlight; battery-powered radio and extra batteries; personal toiletry supplies; copies of important documents; pet food and water; cell phones and charges; and computer hard-drives.  If time allows, you may want to take easily carried valuables and family photographs (it may be helpful to scan and store off-site family photographs and documents).    
4)    Determine where you will evacuate to – in multiple directions if necessary – and communicate your plans to one out-of-area family member or friend.  Make sure your entire household and family and friends know who this one person is that you will be communicating with and write down this telephone number (don’t rely on cell phone contact information as cell phone services are often down or overloaded during an event).  Talk with your household and neighbors about what should happen during an evacuation.  Sign up for the local reverse 911 notifications (different counties use different systems).  Check your County’s website. 
5)    Find out how to improve the defensible space around your forested home and neighborhood and either do the work or hire a local contractor https://csfs.colostate.edu/wildfire-mitigation/
RWEACT — together with the Rio Grande National Forest and funded through the Colorado Water Conservation Board, the Department of Local Affairs, and the Office of Emergency Management – works to promote partnerships and actions that provide for public safety and resiliency of communities and watersheds of the Rio Grande Basin of Colorado. More organizational information can be found at www.rweact.org

Hinsdale County Construction Planning Guidelines 2017

Hinsdale County Building Department Construction Planning Guidelines as of 1-1-2017

  • Zoning:  What zoning district are you in?  How does it affect your project?  Will you be required to obtain a special or conditional use permit?  What subdivision covenants must you consider?
  • Historical District:  Is your building site within the Historical District?  Review by the Town Historical Preservation Commission is required.  Applications are available at the Town Hall, 230 North Bluff Street.
  • Setbacks:  What is required within the specific zoning area or subdivision for distances from property lines, wells, OWTS, propane tanks, etc.?
  • Floodplain:  Is the proposed building site within a floodplain?  Do you need to apply for a floodplain development permit?  Will you need an engineered foundation, building plan or sewage disposal system? Applications are available at the County Administration offices, 311 North Henson Street.
  • Water & Sanitation District:  Is your property within the water and sanitation district or is it within 400 feet of district water or sewer lines?  Have you paid your tap fees and installed a water meter?  If you are in a subdivision, does it have its own water system or sewage disposal system?  If you are outside the water and sanitation district, how will you obtain potable water and treat wastewater?
  • Onsite Wastewater Treatment System (OWTS):  Do you need to apply for an OWTS permit?  Will the soil at the proposed building site support an OWTS?  If you have a commercial operation, will you have to meet state OWTS requirements?  Will you need to have an engineered system because of being located in a floodplain, wetland, high water table, highly compacted or rocky soil, etc.?  Applications are available at the County Administration Office, 311 North Henson Street.
  • Water System:  If you are not in the water and sanitation district or a subdivision with such systems, how will you obtain potable water?  Obtain well permit information from the State of Colorado.  Will a community water system under state regulations be required?
  • Drainage:  Does building site allow proper drainage away from structures?  Are there any possible flash flood washes that may affect the building?
  • Geologic Hazards, Avalanche Zones, Steep Slopes, etc.:  Are there natural hazards associated with your building site?  Specially engineered buildings may be required.
  • Soil Conditions:  Will conditions at the proposed site support a structure?  Is the site on bedrock, wetlands, mine tailings or waste rock?  Will you have to blast or bring in structural fill?
  • Subdivision Regulations (if applicable):  Does the HOA require architectural review?  Are there covenants that must be considered?
  • Road Cut Permit:  Does your driveway access a County Road?  Does utility installation require excavation along or across a County Road?  Obtain a Road Cut Permit.  Applications are available at the County Administration Office, 311 North Henson Street.
  • Building Permit Application:  Applications are available online or from the County Administration Office, 311 North Henson Street.  Please see Hinsdale County document ‘Building Permit Guidelines’.  Plan review may take up to 30 days.  Please plan accordingly.
  • Use Tax:  Use Tax Declaration is available online or from the County Administration Office, 311 North Henson Street.  Please see Hinsdale County document ‘Building Permit Guidelines’.
  • Additional Considerations:  Please see ‘Building Permit Guidelines’.
    • 2012 IRC/IBC
    • 2009 IFC
    • Foundation frost protection
    • Snowload
    • Insulation requirements
    • State demolition permit
    • See Building Official for additional design criteria
  • State Plumbing Permits:  All plumbing installations must meet state code requirements and be inspected and approved by a State of Colorado plumbing inspector.  All permitting is coordinated through the Colorado State Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA).
  • State Electrical Permits:  All electrical installations must meet state code requirements and be inspected and approved by a State of Colorado electrical inspector.  All permitting is coordinated through the Colorado State Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA).
  • Minimum Required Inspections:  Please see ‘Building Permit Guidelines’.
    • Preliminary/Site
    • Foundation
    • Framing
    • Roof
    • Mechanical
    • Plumbing & Electrical (by State of Colorado)
    • Insulation
    • Drywall/Fire Separation
    • Drainage
    • Final Inspection
  • Certificate of Occupancy (CO):  You cannot utilize your structure or move into your residence until all necessary inspections have been completed and you have been issued a CO.

Hinsdale County Building Department
311 North Henson Street
P.O. Box 277
Lake City, CO  81235
970-944-2225
www.hinsdalecountycolorado.us

 


		

Ute Ulay Mill & Town Site

The Ute and Ulay mines were some of the best known silver and lead producers in Colorado.  Between 1874 and 1903, the mines were responsible for $12 million worth of minerals, which today would amount to more than $280 million in value.  Located in Hinsdale County, the mines were largely responsible for the development of Lake City.  The booming mining-based economy attracted thousands of people to the area and the mines continued to remain in production on and off through the 1980’s.

Thanks to LKA Gold, the ten-acre site has been donated to Hinsdale County and the environmental stabilization work completed with the assistance of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Colorado Department of Public Health & the Environment (CDPHE), and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  The site consits of 18 structures including residential cabins, a blacksmith shop, a boarding house a red-cedar water tank, and assayer’s office.  Over the past twenty years, the structures have continued to degrade during adverse weather and many are unstable.  Due to the unsafe nature of the site, the public is currently not allowed near the buildings.  A Historic Structures Assessment will need to be completed to determine each structure’s needs in order to stabilize the buildings for future reuse.

The Ute and Ulay mines, mill complex and surrounding Henson town site are rare examples of a more complete mining coummunity with large amount of historic fabric remaining.  The site’s location along the Alpine Loop Backcountry Scenic and Historic Byway increases its opprotunity for eduation and a heritage tourism desination.

Colorado Preservation, Inc. (CPI) was founded in 1984 to promote historic preservation by providing information, education, training, expertise, and advocacy to Colorado communities and individuals. DPI engages leaders with local governments and non-profit organizations and assists historic property owners, educators, and interest citizens to develop successful preservation projects and programs.  CPI administers Colorado’s Most Endangered Places Program (EPP), present the annual Saving Places Conference, hosts the Dana Crawford & State Honor Awards recognizing excellence in historic preservation, and maintains an active presence in the state legislatrue.  CPI also provides services in grant and preservation program management, and undertaikes projects that serve as models for pereservation statewide.

(Taken from Colorado’s Most Endangered Places Issue No. 18 2015)

Spruce Beetle in Hinsdale County

Below is a link to a Quick Guide produced by the Colorado State Forest Service to promote knowledge transfer with regard to the Spruce Beetle in the Colorado’s spruce forest ecosystem..

Spruce Beetle Quick Guide

Realtor, Equal Housing, MLS