BOZEMAN, MONTANA — The Greater Yellowstone Coalition announced an ambitious campaign this week to buy out a mining company on the northern border of Yellowstone National Park, according to a …
BOZEMAN, MONTANA — The Greater Yellowstone Coalition announced an ambitious campaign this week to buy out a mining company on the northern border of Yellowstone National Park, according to a press release by the group. If successful, the effort would extinguish the last real and significant mining threat on the border of Yellowstone National Park.
Based on an agreement between the Greater Yellowstone Coalition (GYC) and Crevice Mining Group, LLC, GYC plans to purchase the mineral rights, leases, and claims to 1,368 acres of land on Crevice Mountain, which rises directly above the Yellowstone River and town of Gardiner, Montana, for $6.25 million by Oct. 1, 2023. The organization has raised $3,801,357 so far in pledges and gifts.
“Given the significant threat this mine presents to Yellowstone National Park and its resources, we worked diligently to negotiate an agreement with the mining company that provides a win-win outcome,” said Scott Christensen, GYC’s executive director. “We simply cannot risk a gold mine being developed on the boundary of the park and this approach will protect these critical lands, the Yellowstone River, and the local community, while allowing the company to walk away. This is a big lift for GYC, and we know we cannot fail.”
The mine site, visible from the Roosevelt Arch and perched above the Yellowstone River, provides vital habitat for grizzly bears. It is also a critical migration corridor for elk, mule deer, and bighorn sheep, and is one of the few designated places outside the park where Yellowstone bison can roam.
If this mine were to move forward, it would forever change the landscape along the border of the world’s first national park. Instead of pristine, untamed wild lands, an industrial mining complex with lights, machines, and new roads would destroy critical wildlife habitat and potential poison the famed Yellowstone River below.
For more than a decade, the mining company has made significant investments in the development of a gold mine. “Without intervention, the mine would move forward,” stated Melissa Richey, GYC’s director of philanthropy. “This campaign is our generation’s best opportunity to protect what we love about Yellowstone National Park. People understand its significance — this is a legacy project — but we still need more people to step up and help in these last few months as we approach our deadline.”
The Greater Yellowstone Coalition, celebrating a milestone anniversary this year, has a history of hard-won victories protecting the region and the park from proposed gold mines. Notable victories include stopping the New World Mine near Cooke City, Montana in the 1990s and successfully advocating with the Yellowstone Gateway Business Coalition, representing more than 400 local businesses and nonprofits, to pass the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act in 2019. That legislation permanently protected 30,370 acres of public lands near Yellowstone National Park from mining. However, the private lands on Crevice Mountain slated for mining were exempted from the protections enacted by the bill.
“For decades, we have worked with communities to demonstrate Yellowstone National Park is more valuable than gold,” continued Scott Christensen. “The announcement of this campaign and the innovative approach it employs shows that when people work together, we can find lasting solutions that safeguard something we all love.”
In addition to the agreement with the mining company, GYC is also working with willing landowners on Crevice Mountain to purchase more than 300 acres of private land in-holdings.
“Crevice is not only rich with wildlife, but for the handful of people who live here, home to a rapidly disappearing way of life,“ stated Joe Josephson, GYC’s senior Montana conservation associate, who has led this effort for GYC over the past eight years. “As someone who has worked closely with communities on and around Crevice Mountain, it’s clear the border of Yellowstone is no place for a gold mine.”
The ultimate goal of this effort is to transfer ownership of the 300-plus acres to the Custer Gallatin National Forest, making them accessible to the public and permanently protected from future mining through the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act.
“We know that extinguishing the threat of this gold mine is the only path forward,” said GYC executive director Scott Christensen. “This campaign will help ensure future generations can experience Yellowstone National Park like we do today. That’s what we all want for our kids and grandkids.”
Donations in any amount will be accepted through Oct. 1, 2023. To learn more or donate, visit the campaign website at greateryellowstone.org/yellowstone-mine or call Melissa Richey, director of philanthropy, at 406-586-1593.