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futrue of bickel camp and schmidt tunnel


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  • futrue of bickel camp and schmidt tunnel

    By John V. Ciani

    The Burro Schmidt Tunnel and Bickel Camp, both well-known mining relics in the Last Chance Canyon area, were the main topics of discussion at the Bureau of Land Management Steering Committee’s Aug. 28 meeting.

    Branch Chief for Minerals Linn Gum told the committee that an inspection team consisting of four archeologists, a hazardous-material coordinator and law-enforcement rangers went to the tunnel Aug. 12 to do a hazardous site assessment review and a cultural-resources inventory of the structures and materials there.

    He said the group found no hazardous or toxic materials. “We did have some oil stains and a couple of cans of oil that needed to be disposed of, but nothing provocative as being on the site itself.”

    Gum said the cultural-resources inventory resulted in a recommendation to develop a management plan. He said his group also met with Maturango Museum representatives and other parties and came up with work assignments including developing a list of potential caretakers or docents for the tunnel.

    “We really can’t generate a memorandum of understanding for the management of the site until such time that we create the cultural-resource management plan,” said Gum.

    He told the committee that someone has expressed an interest in being a docent or a caretaker at the Bickel Camp site after caretaker Larry O’Neil leaves the site sometime in the not-too-distant future.

    “We have generated a list of other eligible and interested individuals that we may put an invitation out to give an application to us,” he added.

    The museum also expressed an interest in continuing this opportunity with the BLM under an MOU, “but they want to have some pretty finite site bounds so everybody knows what rules we’re playing by,” said Gum.

    He said the individuals who will be caretakers and docents at either site would be brought in under BLM volunteer agreements and that the museum’s primary proposed roles would be to support the caretaker-docents with educational materials and to raise funds.

    Gum added that a memorandum of understanding for Bickel Camp that ran from 1984-1996 will be rewritten. “We have not had an operating MOU out there for the last seven years, so we really need to update that and make sure that everybody who’s included in it is agreeable to the conditions.”

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