I received an email today telling me that I was chosen for another Forest Service Passport In Time (PIT) project! This one is in South Dakota and involves restoration of an old gold mine and mill. The project actually lasts for two weeks but I signed up for the week of June 21-25.
This will be my seventh PIT project and will be the furthest I’ve ever travelled to get to one. The project is located about 35 miles south west of Rapid City SD and it will take me two days to get to the project site. I’m already looking at the calendar and trying to figure out if I can add several days to the trip so that I can take in some of the other attractions in the area.
There will be plenty of adventures this summer!
Here’s the official write up for the project.
Black Hills NF
Gold Mountain Mine & Mill Restoration Project, Phase IIJune 14-18; 21-25
Must commit to one full session; may participate in both
Please join us in the beautiful high country of the Black Hills for the second year of the Gold Mountain Mine and Mill restoration! The mill served the historic Gold Mountain Mine during the "Gold Rush" of 1875, and is the last "living" ore-processing mill on the Black Hills National Forest. The structure is one of many that stood here during a prosperous period of the gold-mining industry in the region. The wood frame of the mill still retains many of its original features, including its ore crusher, ore shoots, and distribution gates. Today, little else remains beyond the mill and its associated features, and the area's history is quickly slipping away. However, in 2007, the Forest Service and local volunteers began to explore plans to restore and preserve this unique site. In June of 2009, the plans became action. Phase I of our project consisted of a detailed survey to fully record the site and its features and preliminary restoration of the mill frame. Additionally, volunteers removed overhead hazards and emptied an estimated 12 tons of ore and debris from the mill, and planning crews began efforts to interpret the site for visitors.
During Phase II, we will continue to restore the mill structure and develop means for the site's interpretation. Restoration will focus on the mill-frame structure. The surviving original components will be removed, treated, repaired, and replaced using power and hand tools, though we will also bring in heavier equipment, such as cranes and bobcat tractors. Simultaneously, those assigned to interpretive crews will do historic research, develop trail plans, and design signage and other displays. This area of the Black Hills offers many popular attractions and boasts some of the best scenery to be found, and early summer here features warm days and cool nights, perfect for enjoying yourself around a camp fire! So, whether you're back for year two or will join us for the first time, we look forward to seeing you in June!
Number of openings: 20 (10 per session)
Special skills: Participants must have an interest in learning! Construction, carpentry, woodworking, art, and/or research skills helpful, but not required
Minimum age: 18 years old
Facilities: Tent and RV camping at no charge at nearby FS campgrounds; drinking water, toilets, no hookups; private campgrounds available nearby; facilities vary with campgrounds and may or may not include pit toilets, water, and/or RV spaces/hookups; reservations recommended; Hill City, Custer, and Rapid City are full-service communities with hotels/motels, restaurants, and a full range of other amenities; volunteers responsible for personal camping equipment, food, and transportation
Nearest town: Hill City, 5 miles; Custer, 20 miles; Rapid City, 35 miles
In a couple of hours I’m off to Chatfield State Park for a Circle the Wagons get together. Check back in a couple of days for a report!
Thanks for visiting.