OF-01-14 History, Geology, and Environmental Setting of the Griffin and Wilkesbarre Mines, Pike/San Isabel National Forest, Lake County, Colorado


Describes the history, geology, and environmental setting of the Griffin and Wilkes-Barre mines in Lake County. Includes: abbreviations and symbols, introduction, location, mining history of both mines and unpatented claims, geology, site description, waste and hazard characteristics, migration pathways, summary and conclusions, references, and appendix. Digital PDF download. OF-01-14D

From the Author’s Notes:

During the summer of 1996 the Colorado Geological Survey (CGS) inventoried mines in the St. Kevin Gulch drainage basin as part of a statewide inventory of abandoned mines on, or affecting, U.S. Forest Service-administered lands in Colorado. CGS assigned Environmental Degradation Ratings (EDRs) of 1 (extreme environmental degradation) and 3 (potentially significant environmental degradation) to some of the mines and waste-rock piles in the “South of Wilkes Barre Tunnels” inventory area. In 1999 the U.S. Forest Service requested more detailed information regarding selected mine features in this inventory area.

Mine workings discussed in this report are north of Leadville and Turquoise Lake, near the confluence of Shingle Mill Gulch and St. Kevin Gulch. Features described in this report are adits and associated waste-rock piles #100/200, #101/201, and #102/202. Adit #103 and associated waste-rock pile #203 were not considered significant environmental problems and were not included in this study.

Various mineral surveys conducted in this area indicated that the mines included in this study are probably on or partly on privately owned patented mining claims. The Homestake Reservoir Primary Base Series (PBS) map and some of the mineral surveys show conflicting locations for the patented mining claims in relation to St. Kevin (Sow Belly) Gulch. An accurate survey might confirm ownership and location of the mines. Although the mine openings included in this study probably lie on private land, effluent and waste rock from them may affect National Forest System (NFS) land.

Two independently worked mines, the Griffin and the Wilkesbarre, were included in this inventory area. Adit #100 is probably the lowest access point (Tunnel No. 3) for the Griffin Mine (also known as the Gerald Griffin Mine and Carleton-Griffin Mine). Most of the mine features associated with the Griffin Mine were dug on the Gerald Griffin Lode and Carleton Lode patented mining claims and were not inventoried. Adit #100 was probably driven on the Annie G. or Griffin No. 2 patented claims, but was inventoried because the adit was on NFS land according to the PBS map. CGS assigned an EDR of 1 (extreme) to adit #100 and associated waste-rock pile #200. Mine effluent and waste rock from Tunnel No. 3 apparently extend onto NFS land.

Adits #101 and #102 were probably dug on the Wilkesbarre No. 3 Lode patented mining claim. The Wilkesbarre Group included five patented mining claims (Arty, Snow, and Wilkesbarre No. 1-3 Lodes). This investigation revealed no specific historical information regarding adit #101 on the western side of Shingle Mill Gulch. It is likely that any minor production originating from this small working was included with the Wilkesbarre Group figures.

Adit #102 has been referred to as the Wilkesbarre Mine, Wilkesbarre Adit, and Wilkesbarre Tunnel, and has been spelled Wilkesbarrie and Wilkes-Barre. Adit #102 is the lowest of the adits on the eastern side of Shingle Mill Gulch shown on maps of this area. The upper workings were not inventoried because they are on private land (Arty, Wilkesbarre No. 3, and Snow Lodes). The larger of the upper workings has been called the Arty and Snow Adit (Singewald, 1955, plate 27), Snow Adit, Snow Lode, and Snow Lode tunnel. Because the Wilkesbarre Mine was driven to develop the Arty and Snow vein, historical and production information from all of the workings associated with this vein were combined in most reports. Adits #101 and #102 and associated underground workings are seemingly confined to patented mining claims. However, waste rock and possibly mine effluent from both workings probably extend onto NFS land. EDR ratings of 3 (potentially significant) were assigned to adits #101 and #102 and associated dumps #201 and #202 on the Wilkesbarre No. 3 Lode.