Remnants of a 20-stamp mill that was briefly used to process ore from the Highland Chief Mine that operated within yards of the Yellowstone Park northern boundary from 1894 to 1908. Fine mine tailings that were created likely eroded or washed downslope into Yellowstone National Park and the Yellowstone River. Credit: William Campbell

A Bozeman-based nonprofit is trying to raise $6.25 million to purchase land and mineral rights — and prevent mining — on the northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park.

To date, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition has raised $3.9 million to purchase the mineral rights and mining claims involving 1,368 acres near Gardiner. In addition to acquiring the mining claim from Crevice Mining Group, LLC, the group intends to buy the deed to a 300-acre parcel of land, which it would then transfer to the Custer Gallatin National Forest.

According to a press release on the group’s plan, the mineral rights and land acquisition would “extinguish the last real and significant mining threat on the border of Yellowstone National Park, forever.”


State Supreme Court blocks proposed gold mine near Yellowstone

The Montana Supreme Court has denied an appeal brought by Canadian mining company Lucky Minerals, effectively voiding its permit to conduct exploratory drilling for gold in a remote area north of Yellowstone National Park, and marking the culmination of a years-long campaign to prevent mining in the Emigrant Gulch area.

GYC said it has until Oct. 1, to raise the remaining $2.35 million to execute the deal.

Crevice Mountain is home to grizzly bears and serves as a migration corridor for elk, mule deer and bighorn sheep. It’s one of the few places outside the park where bison can roam without being subjected to culling efforts laid out in the Interagency Bison Management Plan.

GYC Philanthropy Director Melissa Richey described the proposal as “our generation’s best opportunity to protect what we love about Yellowstone National Park.”

For the better part of a decade, Park County communities have been especially concerned about mining proposals leading out of Gardiner and into Paradise Valley. In 2019, GYC worked with other groups, including the Yellowstone Gateway Business Coalition and Park County Environmental Council, to pass the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act, which permanently protected about 30,000 acres of public land near Yellowstone from mining. In the 1990s, GYC worked to stop the New World gold mine that had been proposed for the Cooke City area.

Former Montana Environmental Information Center Executive Director Jim Jensen told Montana Free Press that he’s not aware of a similar effort to buy out a mining claim with private funds in the annals of Montana mining history. Jensen did note, however, that former president Bill Clinton executed a deal to buy Crown Butte’s interest in the New World Mine with public funds. That deal involved the transfer of other mineral-rich interests, including the eventual transfer of large tracts of coal-rich federal property in the Otter Creek region of southeastern Montana to the state.

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Amanda Eggert studied print journalism at the University of Montana. Prior to becoming a full-time journalist, Amanda spent four years working with the Forest Service as a wildland firefighter. After leaving the Forest Service in 2014, Amanda worked for Outside magazine as an editorial fellow before joining Outlaw Partners’ staff to lead coverage for Explore Big Sky newspaper and contribute writing and editing to Explore Yellowstone and Mountain Outlaw magazines. Prior to joining Montana Free Press’ staff in 2021 Amanda was a freelance writer, researcher and interviewer. In addition to writing...