The National Park Service (NPS) oversees 84 million acres of land on 387 units. Their Abandoned Mineral Land Program, established in 1983, estimates that there are 4,000 abandoned mine sites in the National Park System, with over 11,000 separate mine openings. The program focuses on public safety, preservation of historic artifacts, threatened and endangered species, and education.
Although the National Park Service estimates that it will cost over $200 million dollars to clean up mine related problems on lands under its jurisdiction, they do not receive funding specifically for the abandoned mine program. Most of the agency’s reclamation work is done through its general operating budget or through partnerships with other federal agencies and private entities.
Since 1984, the National Park has restored 85 abandoned mine sites, closed 766 abandoned mine openings, and plugged 34 orphaned oil and gas wells at a cost of about $7.5 million. A recent cooperative agreement with eight states and two federal agencies will allow for further abandoned mine characterization and eventual clean up work.
National Park Service – Abandoned Minerals Program