Removing the Threat of Mining in Muir Country
June 26, 2020 – John Muir spent his life advocating for permanent protection of America’s wild places, including the Sierra Nevada in California. Aptly named for his tireless work, the more than 652,000-acre John Muir Wilderness stretches nearly 100 miles across California from east of Fresno in the north to just west of Lone Pine in the south.
In the heart of the wilderness atop Kearsage Peak lies the Rex Montis mine. Most hikers who regularly traverse the John Muir Trail have no idea that this privately owned gold mine sits just above them as they cross Kearsage Pass.
When active, the site contained five tunnels and shafts, a boarding house, several cabins, a dump and affiliated mining equipment that marred the surrounding landscape.
Thanks to your generous support, the threat of mining is now gone. The Trust purchased this 11-acre property in 2016 and recently transferred it to the U.S. Forest Service as a new addition to the surrounding wilderness.
Trust supporter Fred Dietrich says his dad started taking him into the Sierras in the 1960’s and he’s been backpacking there ever since. When told about this land transfer, Fred said, “I have so many great memories of backpacking in those mountains with my father. To be able to protect the Sierras and recognize Sam Dietrich who introduced me to wilderness is really important to me and my family and something we feel honored to do.”
We hope you’ll share this good news with family and friends, and visit us for additional updates on our work to permanently protect our nation’s designated wilderness areas.