PACTOLA AND RAPID CREEK WATERSHED

Call to Action to Protect the Rapid Creek Watershed and Pactola from Gold Exploration.
Send in your "Public Comment" to the Black Hills Forest Service - Deadline Feb. 5, 2020
Call to Action to Protect the Rapid Creek Watershed and Pactola from Gold Exploration.
Send in your “Public Comment” to the Black Hills Forest Service – Deadline Feb. 5, 2020

The deadline was 4:30 PM to electronically submit your comment to the National Forest Service’s “Close of Business” on Wednesday, February 5, 2020. Watch for updates.

Background: At least two companies, Mineral Mountain Resources and F3 Gold, are exploring in the central Black Hills.  The current deadlines have to do with F3 Gold’s effort to get permission from the Forest Service to drill for gold at 42 locations in the Jenny Gulch area north of Silver City and directly upstream from Lake Pactola’s inlet. Pactola is a reservoir that supplies water to Rapid City and surrounding areas.

These comments will be part of the “scoping” process that begins the environmental review for the F3 Gold who has requested permission from the Forest Service to drill for gold at 42 locations in the Jenny Gulch area north of Silver City, which is directly upstream from Lake Pactola’s inlet. Pactola supplies water to Rapid City, Ellsworth Air Force Base, and surrounding areas.

F3 Gold has almost 2500 mining claims in the Black Hills, including along either side of Highway 385 from just north of Sheridan Lake to north of the Lawrence County line, including directly around Lake Pactola.  This area, like the rest of the Black Hills, is of cultural and historical importance to the Lakota and other tribal members.  It is one of our most scenic areas.  This is also a place where people enjoy many types of recreation, such as fishing, hiking, boating, biking, ATVs, hunting, bird watching, and camping.  And the water from the area that gathers into Rapid Creek and Lake Pactola supplies drinking water for Rapid City and Ellsworth Air Force Base.

On Thursday, January 16, 2020, the Forest Service held a “scoping” meeting about the gold exploration proposed by F3 Gold at the Black Hills National Forest Service’s Mystic Ranger Station.

Here are a few videos for your information.

Comment deadline is 4:30 PM Wednesday, Feb. 5th and can be submitted via mail to 8221 S. Mt. Rushmore Rd., Rapid City, SD 57702; via email (comments-rocky-mountain-black-hills-mystic@usda.gov) with “F3 Jenny Gulch Exploration Project” as the subject; or by fax (605-343-7134).
Comments submitted, including names and addresses of commenters, are public information. 

The scoping document can be found on the black hills national forest website: https://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/blackhills/landmanagement/projects

The company and the Forest Service say that F3 Gold is “just” going to explore.  The company goes to great lengths to say they’re not a mining company.  But we know darn well that, if they find gold, someone will want to mine it.  And federal law promotes mining.  We need to stop this project at the start.

This gold exploration project would be in the watershed for Rapid Creek, which supplies the water for Rapid City and Ellsworth Air Force Base. 

EVERYONE CAN MAKE A COMMENT.  YOU DON’T HAVE TO LIVE IN THE BLACK HILLS AREA.

Some comments you can make are:

  • This project is in a high impact area that could impact thousands of people. The Forest Service should do a full Environmental Impact Statement, not just a short Environmental Assessment.
  • If you use Rapid City water or a well by Rapid Creek, tell them you don’t want your water impacted.
  • Exploration leads to mining, and the environmental review process should cover all potential impacts of the project.
  • The Forest Service did not start tribal consultation early enough. Tribal consultation should come first.
  • Cultural resources and access to them would be hindered.
  • We need healthy economic development and value our current tourism and agriculture, which would be negatively impacted by this project.
  • Recreation activities could be impacted [and say which ones you do in the Pactola Lake and Rapid Creek area].
  • The area along Highway 385 and Pactola Lake is one of our most scenic areas, and gold exploration would not fit with this use.
  • People live in the immediate area where drilling could happen, and 24-hour noise and traffic would destroy their use of their property.
  • Add whatever is important to you.

Please use these ideas as a guide for you to write your own personalized comments. 

Your comment can be emailed to comments-rocky-mountain-black-hills-mystic@usda.gov.  Please include in the subject “F3 Jenny Gulch Exploration.” Or mailed or dropped off to the Forest Service office at 8221 South Mt. Rushmore Rd., Rapid City, SD 57702.  Or, Fax to: 605-343-7134.  

Take a few minutes now to send your comments!

PROTECT THE BLACK HILLS.  PROTECT THE WATER.  PROTECT OUR COMMUNITIES. SAY “NO” TO GOLD EXPLORATION AND MINING IN THE RAPID CREEK WATERSHED

Don’t forget to include “F3 Jenny Gulch Exploration” in the Subject.


News Release

Media Contact: Scott Jacobson, (605) 440-1409, scott.j.jacobson@usda.gov

Jenny Gulch Exploration Drilling Project – Public Information Meeting

Rapid City, SD, Jan. 7, 2020 – A public meeting will be held on January 16, 2020 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm to discuss an exploratory gold drilling proposal by F3 Gold, LLC (F3). The meeting will be held at the Black Hills National Forest, Mystic Ranger District Office, 8221 S. Mt. Rushmore Rd., Rapid City, SD 57702. 

F3 is proposing the Jenny Gulch Exploration Drilling project. The project involves exploratory drilling in up to 42 locations north of Silver City, Pennington County, South Dakota in Sections 19, 30, 31, T2N R5E and Sections 13, 14, 24, 25, T2N R4E.

F3 has submitted a Plan of Operations to conduct exploration on their claims located on National Forest System (NFS) lands. A short presentation will be provided at 6:00pm to discuss details of the plan. The Plan of Operation is tentative and may be subject to change based on the forthcoming environmental analysis.

The United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service’s (FS’s) initial review proposes to evaluate this project as an Environmental Assessment (EA) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). As a result, documentation of an EA will be prepared to facilitate planning, decision making and public disclosure. The scoping document can be found on the black hills national forest website: https://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/blackhills/landmanagement/projects

Public comments on the project may be provided at the public information meeting. Comments can also be submitted via mail to 8221 S. Mt. Rushmore Rd., Rapid City, SD 57702; via email (comments-rocky-mountain-black-hills-mystic@usda.gov) with “F3 Jenny Gulch Exploration Project” as the subject; or by fax (605-343-7134). Comments are requested by February 5, 2020. Comments submitted, including names and addresses of commenters, are public information. 

For more information on the Black Hills National Forest, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/blackhills.

-USDA- is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender. 

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