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Monte Cristo in Danger?


Sol seaker
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It looks like they're going to do a massive clean up of toxic metals in Monte Cristo. In order to do this they're going to build a whole new road out there for the trucks that are going to do the work.

I'm really not sure exactly what is going to happen. Here is an article. One line in the article:

 

Lider said. "So, if you like Monte Cristo and the area around it, you better visit before the Forest Service hauls it away."

 

I'm not sure what the extent of the work will be.

If anyone else has additional information, please let us know.

 

Article: Project to clean up Monte Cristo..."

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A little more info, but it's still not really clear what is happening and when. I don't know if we need to worry about this or they're going to work around hikers.

The original source I found out about this from said the current road out there will be closed in order to build the new one that will be able to carry trucks. I don't know where they got that information or whether it is accurate or not.

 

Here's a few other things from online.

The bolding and underlining are mine.

 

MONTE CRISTO MINING AREA

 

SITE INFORMATION

Facility Site ID: # 2251399

 

 

Cleanup Site ID: 4550

 

Location:

Silverton, Snohomish County

 

Status: Cleanup Started

 

SITE DESCRIPTION

 

The Monte Cristo Mining Area (MCMA) is located in the extremely rugged terrain of the Cascade Mountains within the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Snohomish County, Washington, near the west-center margin of the Henry M. Jackson Wilderness Area, approximately 40 miles east of Everett. The MCMA includes three large mine complexes, the Mystery Mine, Justice Mine, and Comet Mine and many smaller mines.

 

Prospecting in the MCMA began in the spring of 1889 by Joseph Pearsall. A railroad to the Townsite was completed in 1893, and the 300-tons-per-day United Companies Concentrator was constructed on site. Mining was strong until flooding destroyed the rail access in 1897. All mining companies and properties came under control of John D. Rockefeller and the railroad was rebuilt in 1900. In 1903 Rockefeller sold all holdings to the Guggenheim Smelter Trust (later known as American Smelting and Refining Co., and better known as ASARCO). Two years later the mines were sold to the Wilmans brothers, then to the Monte Cristo Mining, and Metals Co. The last serious attempt at mining in the district took place in 1915.

 

Today the MCMA is a popular recreational destination for many people each year.

 

Risks to human and ecological receptors (plants, fish, birds, mammals, and benthic macroinvertebrates) in the MCMA are due to high concentrations of metals, and other metal like substances, in waste rock, unprocessed ore, mill tailings, and adit drainage.

 

PLANNED ACTIVITIES

 

The Washington State Department of Ecology began conducting a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) in the Monte Cristo Mining Area in 2011. The purpose of the Remedial Investigation is to gather data to determine the extent of contamination from historical mining practices. The contaminants of concern are arsenic, antimony, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, zinc, and potentially other metals and metal like substances in soils, surface water, and sediments. The Feasibility Study will identify and evaluate cleanup options. The RI/FS process is anticipated to be complete in 2014.

Edited by Sol seaker
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We will be headed up there this weekend as well doing the Jazzy Junior Challenge (find at least one cache placed in every single year from 2000-2010 in one calendar day) so we'll post a report when we get back.

 

Great! Thanks so much!

 

If you happen by the ranger station, maybe you can get some dates for us so we know how long it will still be open for hiking. (or I guess we can always call)

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Sol

 

Yes this is a bit of old news, but worth repeating. This is my industry, and coincidentally mostly caches on the way out there I adopted from paradise so I have been keeping an eye on the situation. The RI/FS process is very long and drawn out, based on the preliminary plan I have read the "new road" is only going to avoid the landslide and river, but like the article said it may be a new road; thats part of the RI/FS. The "new road" is currently planned to match the old wagon road for a bit, which to me is potentially damaging to a historic feature in and of itself. I know the company that is doing a lot of the field work for the RI/FS process. Those were some lucky field guys, I wish I had a project like that I was working on.

 

While some artifacts will need to be moved and some MAY be damaged it is important to remember that is a highly passionate issue that no one will agree on. I have seen the chemical water data and I for one will never drink from that river unless I am using a filter specifically designed to remove heavy metals. Its not worth the health risk to me. What does that say about the benthic life down river.

 

The gentleman quoted in the article, Lider, is well known and opinions of him are significantly varied. Lets just say that he is probably telling the truth as he sees it, but I feel that he is overblowing the situation for the press.

 

RI/FS will generally look at cost and the ability to solve a problem based on risk. So on one end of the spectrum may be do nothing, Cost: nothing (or maybe a fine from a court), doesn't remove any contamination and doesn't fix the problem. The other end may be dig up, and remove all contaminated soil. Cost: very expensive but removes all potential contamination from the area. Other options may be something like, remove small areas of the most heavily contaminated (Acute) and leave lower level areas (chronic). What the very initial preferred option was removing the worst areas and capping the rest of the areas under clean imported soil, basically removing a few feet of surface soil and then covering with clean soil. Then you have to realize that the areas of concern are relatively small areas around the mine openings and concentrator, not the town site itself as much. Its not like they are going to level the buildings that are there.

 

I could ramble here for quite a while, but I will leave it at that. Someone will most likely take exception to something I posted, but that's ok. There are many valid viewpoints on what needs to or should be done up there and everything becomes weighted to what is important to your world view.

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While some artifacts will need to be moved and some MAY be damaged it is important to remember that is a highly passionate issue that no one will agree on. I have seen the chemical water data and I for one will never drink from that river unless I am using a filter specifically designed to remove heavy metals. Its not worth the health risk to me. What does that say about the benthic life down river.

 

I can't speak for all of the contamination, but the only way to pull arsenic out is with a still.

 

IIRC, contamination is also around the assessor's office.

Edited by TotemLake
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The gentleman quoted in the article, Lider, is well known and opinions of him are significantly varied. Lets just say that he is probably telling the truth as he sees it, but I feel that he is overblowing the situation for the press.

There is actually a consensus view of the meddlesome Mr. Lidar. Unfortunately, it can't be repeated here. Like most gadflies, he's fond of his hyperbole.

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Last I heard, the NF people were responding to a lawsuit by getting in there & cleaning it up, which would require a new road in to bring in the machinery. Now the people that sued to get the NF to clean this up are again going to court to prevent the NF from building this new road. Go figure. Of course, this is all rumor, but - if it's true??! WTH?

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Last I heard, the NF people were responding to a lawsuit by getting in there & cleaning it up, which would require a new road in to bring in the machinery. Now the people that sued to get the NF to clean this up are again going to court to prevent the NF from building this new road. Go figure. Of course, this is all rumor, but - if it's true??! WTH?

Left hand... please meet Right hand.

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My parents and I did the Monte Cristo hike this weekend and the only sign I could see of planning were some stakes at the top of Hap's Hill. It appeared as though they were staking out a new road (from the northeast) that would connect with the trail. There wasn't any information posted with the stakes that I could see.

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While some artifacts will need to be moved and some MAY be damaged it is important to remember that is a highly passionate issue that no one will agree on. I have seen the chemical water data and I for one will never drink from that river unless I am using a filter specifically designed to remove heavy metals. Its not worth the health risk to me. What does that say about the benthic life down river.

 

I can't speak for all of the contamination, but the only way to pull arsenic out is with a still.

 

IIRC, contamination is also around the assessor's office.

One thing to note about arsenic as well is that the Pacific Northwest in general has naturally occurring elevated levels of arsenic from natural processes. In many cleanups that I have completed the "natural level" is higher then the state mandated cleanup level. It happens in areas of concentration and a risk based approach is used as well as showing that it is a background issue.

 

This is not the case in Monte Cristo, that is a man made contamination issue, but just some FYI.

TL, yes the assessors would likely be heavily contaminated as well.

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Last I heard, the NF people were responding to a lawsuit by getting in there & cleaning it up, which would require a new road in to bring in the machinery. Now the people that sued to get the NF to clean this up are again going to court to prevent the NF from building this new road. Go figure. Of course, this is all rumor, but - if it's true??! WTH?

The Washington Environmental Council sued (successfully) because they felt progress was too slow. As a result, The USFS acted to have the Monte Cristo declared a superfund site. ASARCO is in the hook to pay for the cleanup, at least on the public land. Bill Lider and the Sierra Club are now trying to delay and disrupt the process. The WSDOE is also involved and their feasibility studies aren't even scheduled to be complete until 2014, which really makes this topic kind of Chicken Little-ish.

 

Here's the UFSA CERCLA (superfund) document repository, for anyone who really wants to know more: CERCLA Cleanup Projects

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I wasn't saying the sky was falling, I was asking if there was a problem.

I knew someone would take it that way. Hard to not get one's words twisted in here, especially anywhere after post 10. Isn't there a rule on that one?

(No I didn't look, so don't get your socks in a twist if you posted in on post 11)

 

Is there anyone else planning on going out to find them before it gets cold?

I'd love to find some other people to cache up there with.

I found a whole lot in that area, and did the hike to Monte Cristo about five years ago or so, but recently looked at a map and there are tons of new ones.

 

It sounds like we don't have to be in any big hurry though, if nothings going to happen until 2014. I'm glad for that because I'd love to go up again before it all starts.

 

Thanks all for posting all the information. I knew you guys would have it!!!

Keep the updates coming!!

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It's hard, because if we really don't have to worry, I'd rather wait until spring. It would be much easier for me. But I hate taking a chance and regretting it later.

I'm happy to wait until whenever you're ready Ambrosia.

It was great meeting you at the block party! I'd love to go to Monte Cristo with you. Whenever you're ready is a great time for me!

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I wasn't saying the sky was falling, I was asking if there was a problem.

I knew someone would take it that way. Hard to not get one's words twisted in here, especially anywhere after post 10. Isn't there a rule on that one?

(No I didn't look, so don't get your socks in a twist if you posted in on post 11)

I was more referring to Bill Lider's self-serving, breathless prose that prompted you to start this topic. Perhaps you'd care to enlighten those of us who don't play report button tag team exactly what is wrong with post 10.

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It's hard, because if we really don't have to worry, I'd rather wait until spring. It would be much easier for me. But I hate taking a chance and regretting it later.

I'm happy to wait until whenever you're ready Ambrosia.

It was great meeting you at the block party! I'd love to go to Monte Cristo with you. Whenever you're ready is a great time for me!

 

B)

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I wasn't saying the sky was falling, I was asking if there was a problem.

I knew someone would take it that way. Hard to not get one's words twisted in here, especially anywhere after post 10. Isn't there a rule on that one?

(No I didn't look, so don't get your socks in a twist if you posted in on post 11)

I was more referring to Bill Lider's self-serving, breathless prose that prompted you to start this topic. Perhaps you'd care to enlighten those of us who don't play report button tag team exactly what is wrong with post 10.

 

:rolleyes:

Lighten up. It was a joke.

There are standing jokes in the forums about threads going downhill as soon as people say a certain word, such as entitlement or many other things, so I was just making a new joke about how the further along the thread is, the more the opening post gets twisted. I chose 10 arbitrarily.

 

It is very often true though, the further a thread goes along the more the opening post gets twisted. No it doesn't happen exactly at post ten. It can happen anywhere, anytime.

 

Have a donut :omnomnom:

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Lighten up. It was a joke.

There are standing jokes in the forums about threads going downhill as soon as people say a certain word, such as entitlement or many other things, so I was just making a new joke about how the further along the thread is, the more the opening post gets twisted. I chose 10 arbitrarily.

 

It is very often true though, the further a thread goes along the more the opening post gets twisted. No it doesn't happen exactly at post ten. It can happen anywhere, anytime.

 

Have a donut .

Your seem to have lost track of where you are. By "the forums", you actually mean threads such as The Stands in Off-Topic. Why would you expect anyone other than the people you hang out with there to get your so-called "new joke"? Out here in what you guys call The Dark Side, your insider jokes aren't going to quite so obvious, or amusing, and we find most doughnuts to be overly sweet and greasy.

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Lighten up. It was a joke.

There are standing jokes in the forums about threads going downhill as soon as people say a certain word, such as entitlement or many other things, so I was just making a new joke about how the further along the thread is, the more the opening post gets twisted. I chose 10 arbitrarily.

 

It is very often true though, the further a thread goes along the more the opening post gets twisted. No it doesn't happen exactly at post ten. It can happen anywhere, anytime.

 

Have a donut .

Your seem to have lost track of where you are. By "the forums", you actually mean threads such as The Stands in Off-Topic. Why would you expect anyone other than the people you hang out with there to get your so-called "new joke"? Out here in what you guys call The Dark Side, your insider jokes aren't going to quite so obvious, or amusing, and we find most doughnuts to be overly sweet and greasy.

 

I've known a lot of people in all forums everywhere to have a sense of humor.

And you do seem to have hung out there long enough to get any "insider" jokes.

 

I've also known people in all forums everywhere to accept a hand outstretched in friendship, which is what we in off-topic consider extending a doughnut to be. Even gluten-free people can appreciate an electronic symbol of kindness.

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It's hard, because if we really don't have to worry, I'd rather wait until spring. It would be much easier for me. But I hate taking a chance and regretting it later.

I'm happy to wait until whenever you're ready Ambrosia.

It was great meeting you at the block party! I'd love to go to Monte Cristo with you. Whenever you're ready is a great time for me!

 

B)

I'm interested in going to, schedule allowing...

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I would be interested in joining in if there ends up being a group hike in the next few weeks. No guarantees considering my antisocial tendencies.

What if there are donuts? :ph34r:

Donuts and beer!

 

 

Donuts early and beer late. :lol:

 

And Bacon in between. :D

 

I haven't heard back yet from anyone else for this year.

We'll see if we get more interest.

I do like the idea of going with Ambrosia, although more than one trip is possible too.

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The Everett Herald has a new article today about the Monte Cristo Cleanup

 

http://heraldnet.com/article/20120916/NEWS01/709169973#What-the-miners-left-behind

 

It says they are going to fell trees this month for the new access. Am I reading this right? No access for 3 years?

 

and on a side note, Donald Trump's grandfather lived at Monte Cristo for a spell

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2200169/How-Trumps-struck-Klondike-gold-Donalds-grandfather-gave-birth-familys-glittering-empire-seedy-restaurant-catering-loose-moralled-men-women-seeking-fortune.html

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The Everett Herald has a new article today about the Monte Cristo Cleanup

 

http://heraldnet.com/article/20120916/NEWS01/709169973#What-the-miners-left-behind

 

It says they are going to fell trees this month for the new access. Am I reading this right? No access for 3 years?

 

and on a side note, Donald Trump's grandfather lived at Monte Cristo for a spell

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2200169/How-Trumps-struck-Klondike-gold-Donalds-grandfather-gave-birth-familys-glittering-empire-seedy-restaurant-catering-loose-moralled-men-women-seeking-fortune.html

 

Wow! I didn't know Harriet the Spy is a geocacher!! WAy too cool!!

 

Thanks for that article Harriet. I really appreciate it. It looks like it's happening sooner than we were thinking:

 

"During the actual cleanup, from spring 2013 to summer 2015, the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest plans to close the mining ghost town. With so much work taking place, people who value the old mining town worry that some history will be wiped away for good."

 

This fall may be our last chance to see it for a while, and it looks like there is some question about how much history will be disturbed.

There may not be time to hike it in the spring before it's closed. My guess is that they're going to close the road and get in there as soon as they can at the beginning of the season. Working with an area like that they only have the months when the snow is melted enough to get in there and work: and they can't clear contaminated dirt that is buried in snow.

They may take advantage of all the time they've got. If this is so, then this fall may be all we get before the work is done.

 

Of course it sounds like one should not be drinking water up there or much else before the work is done. :)

 

thanks again Harriet.

Don't know if I'll get the chance to get up there, but I may give it a shot.

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Interesting article, Bill Lieder reminds me of Tim Eyman in that any small point he may have is effectively lost in how annoying I find his views and grandstanding attitude. I almost instantaneously find myself rooting for the opposite view point because of this.

 

 

That said I have had a miserable hiking season so I am going to hike up to Monte Cristo on October 13th. I will be at the trail head at 8:30 and will start hiking at 9am. Bring your NW forest pass as it is needed at the trailhead. I will see if I can get an event published in time.

 

Edit:

 

I have submitted an event for that date and time, lets see if it makes it under the deadline. I am probably going to pull my caches up there. It will be end of season and with the construction, there isn't many reasons to let them sit for 2 years.

Edited by AndrewRJ
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Interesting article, Bill Lieder reminds me of Tim Eyman in that any small point he may have is effectively lost in how annoying I find his views and grandstanding attitude. I almost instantaneously find myself rooting for the opposite view point because of this.

 

 

That said I have had a miserable hiking season so I am going to hike up to Monte Cristo on October 13th. I will be at the trail head at 8:30 and will start hiking at 9am. Bring your NW forest pass as it is needed at the trailhead. I will see if I can get an event published in time

Despite the early start :lol: , I may try to make this one. It's been a few years since I visited Monte Cristo, and there are a few caches I haven't gotten in the interim. Plus, it would be nice to catch up with you, Andrew!

Edited by hydnsek
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Interesting article, Bill Lieder reminds me of Tim Eyman in that any small point he may have is effectively lost in how annoying I find his views and grandstanding attitude. I almost instantaneously find myself rooting for the opposite view point because of this.

 

 

That said I have had a miserable hiking season so I am going to hike up to Monte Cristo on October 13th. I will be at the trail head at 8:30 and will start hiking at 9am. Bring your NW forest pass as it is needed at the trailhead. I will see if I can get an event published in time

Despite the early start :lol: , I may try to make this one. It's been a few years since I visited Monte Cristo, and there are a few caches I haven't gotten in the interim. Plus, it would be nice to catch up with you, Andrew!

Yea!!!! It was published, my first event.

 

One last hike to Monte Cristo I will probably take the opportunity to remove my caches up there.

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I've posted video of the turntable.

And it could still do with some grease... :lol:

I was amazed at how easy, though hard, it was to move after how many decades without grease.

I don't remember where I saw it, but I saw a video of it a while ago that you could not watch with the sound on, it was that bad of a squeal. :blink: It may have been on someone's Facebook page. I wonder how they turned it when it was operational? I know some were turned by hand.

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