OF-01-12 History, Geology, and Environmental Setting of the Lienhart Mine, Pike/San Isabel National Forest, Chaffee County, Colorado


This publication describes the history, geology, and environmental setting of the Lienhart mine near the boundary of the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness northwest of Buena Vista in Chaffee County. The mine is located at about 11,000 feet on the eastern slope of Mount Harvard above Morris Creek. Includes: abbreviations and symbols, introduction, site location, mining history, geology, site description, waste and hazard characteristics, migration pathways, conclusions, references, and appendix. Digital PDF download. OF-01-12D

From the Author’s Notes:

During an abandoned mine inventory in 1996, the Colorado Geological Survey (CGS) assigned Environmental Degradation Ratings (EDRs) of 2 (significant environmental degradation) to the Lienhart Mine and its associated waste-rock and tailings piles. This work was done as part of a statewide inventory of abandoned mines either on U.S. Forest Service-administered lands or causing potential environmental impacts to them. In 1999 the U.S. Forest Service requested more information regarding the Lienhart Mine.

Mine features described in this report are within the “Lienhart Mine” inventory area (USFSAMLIP form 12-01-391/4310-1) and include adit #102, associated waste-rock pile #202, and tailings pile #203. Other mine features within this inventory area were not considered environmental problems and were not included in this study (Appendix).

Older literature referred to the Lienhart Mine by other names. Only more recent references such as Brock and Barker (1972), Baskin (1987, p. 15), and the 1982 U.S. Geological Survey Mount Harvard 7.5-minute topographic map label this site as the Lienhart Mine. Early names for the Lienhart Mine include the Mount Harvard Mine, Mount Harvard Tunnel, Harvard Tunnel, and Doris Ruby Lode. Different references cited exactly the same production figures for 1935 and 1937 for the Mount Harvard Mine/group and Lienhart Mine. The name Lienhart was probably derived from Leonhardy, the last name of a family that owned and/or operated the mine prior to 1925 and probably later. Although unlikely, some mine activities associated with the nearby Tamarack Mine could be confused with the Lienhart Mine. The Tamarack mine is on private land (Humbolt and Tamarack Lode claims, Mineral Survey No. 17190) about 1½ miles northeast of the Lienhart Mine.

Ore included gold, silver, lead, copper, and zinc. The Lienhart Mine discharges a moderate volume of poor quality water. Water sampled from a pipe at the portal in 1996 and 1999 exceeded state standards in aluminum, cadmium, copper, iron, manganese, lead, and zinc. Metal concentrations were greatly reduced in water samples collected 750 feet below the portal, and only cadmium, copper, lead, and zinc approached or exceeded standards in 1996 and 1999. It was unknown if effluent ever reaches Morris Creek at the surface. Composite samples from the rock dump and two small tailings area were moderately to highly mineralized, with lead, silver, arsenic, iron, gold, copper, zinc, and manganese. This publication provides useful data for future water quality investigations or restoration.