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Activists buy out gold mine claim at Yellowstone National Park

Four buffalo stand in a field with yellow grass.
Adobe Stock
The south slope of Crevice Mountain is one of the few designated places outside Yellowstone National Park where Yellowstone bison can roam.

When Crevice Mining Group made moves in 2021 to establish a gold mine on lands directly upslope from the Yellowstone River and in plain view from Yellowstone National Park, the team who successfully stopped mining in Gardner Basin and Paradise Valley went to work.

Scott Christensen, executive director of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, announced this week they had raised the $6.25 million dollars needed to buy out the mining group's claim.

"People care about the park, and the lands that surround it, its wildlife, its water resources," Christensen outlined. "Just a really great reminder of how important Yellowstone is to so many people all around the world, and of course here locally as well."

The campaign to protect nearly 1,600 acres of watershed and wildlife habitat adjacent to the park, which went public in May of this year, brought in over 1,300 donations from 47 states and seven countries. Critics of the buyout said it will mean the loss of royalties for state coffers, and good-paying jobs.

The coalition feared mining activities on the south slope of Crevice Mountain would put the Yellowstone River directly below at risk.

Christensen believes preserving landscapes is a better economic path than short term mining projects which, unlike outdoor recreation and wildlife tourism, typically see revenues leaving local communities.

"Yellowstone is more valuable than gold," Christensen asserted. "It generates hundreds of millions of dollars every year for local gateway communities. And that is all at risk on the northern boundary of the park if the river is polluted, if wildlife habitat is lost and destroyed."

The parcel is also one of the few designated places outside the park where Yellowstone bison can roam. The coalition plans to transfer ownership to the Custer Gallatin National Forest to open the area to the public, permanently protect it from future mining, and help wildlife.

"It's occupied grizzly bear habitat, and right in the middle of the northern range elk herd migration corridor," Christensen pointed out. "It's used by mule deer, big horn sheep, and all sorts of different animals that use the park itself."